Our trip to Port Aventura was all the way back in July (!!!) but I only had the chance to go through my phone pictures now. A bit of an excuse..but I do take a helluvahlot of pictures, mobile phone and otherwise. After day three in Barcelona, we left our hotel early and headed for Salou. We left quite early that morning because we were hoping to get into the theme park early. Salou is only an hour from Barcelona so driving was light for me that day. Before we went on our little holiday road trip, I booked one of the Port Aventura parks, Hotel Caribe. The package came with two days of park entry, 1 nights accommodation and a buffet breakfast at an excellent price. The hotel is also minutes from the park and provides a very regular pickup tram service for families with small children that stops right outside the hotel and travels right through the gates of the park, up to the visitor entrance.
When we got to the hotel, we were quite a bit early for check-in. However the staff were great, took our bags and said our room would be ready after our day at the park. Our plastic cards used for entry to the park were also our room keys and I was quietly impressed when the receptionist handed us a map of not only the theme park but the resort too – man made beaches, terraces and pools everywhere, as well as restaurants and bars within the complex.
When we made our way to the park (we decided to skip the tram this time and walk to stretch our legs) I noticed crazy bright colours and smiling trees after a short walk into the park, which was the new Sesame street world, which has some serious detail and a heap of rides for little kids, which I don’t feel Port Aventura really catered to previously. I have visited Port Aventura two or three times before on various family and school trips, so the newest elements for me were Sesame Street and the AMAZING new rollercoaster, Shambala, which is pictured above, intertwined with the Dragon Khan (the rollercoaster track painted red)
I didn’t take many pictures of the actual park, as I’ll be honest, I was having too much fun. For the middle of summer, the queues were great, with the longest for Shambala (currently Europe’s highest rollercoaster) lasting around 30 minutes. We went on everything apart from the Hurakan Condor, as I’m afraid of heights and it’s one of those skyscraper looking rides that climb to the top, where all you can see are legs flailing after it plummets at a ridiculous speed toward the ground.
Me looking a little cross-eyed and not too impressed with the Country Bear Jamboree rip-off. This is a DISNEY ONLY THING! Copycats.
Having a beer and some lunch in the Far West world
What was also new for me at Port Aventura was the Torres tapas and wine bar. Torres seem to be in sponsorship with the park, as it’s the only wine available…same goes for the selection at Hotel Caribe (we found this out later on). I quite like Torres wine so I was fine with the exclusivity, Gran Viña Sol was a white wine I drank many times before changing to red. We came across the wine bar after riding Furius Baco, the fastest rollercoaster in Europe. This ride goes from 0 to 135kmph in 3 seconds and will literally pull the hair clips out of your hair. You have been warned! After laughing at the screens which showed a live video of Niall and I screaming our lungs out throughout the ride, we sat down with our glasses of wine and watched others point and laugh at their 135kmph experiences on screen for everyone to enjoy.
After hours of wandering around the park, we decided to head back to our room and clean ourselves up (we went on a lot of water rides) have a few drinks and head back into the park for dinner that evening. When we arrived back at the hotel, we were told our suitcases were in our room, so you can imagine how happy we were after a very step heavy day at the park to have our bags all sorted in our room waiting for us.
The view from our room
We sat on the gorgeous terrace at Hotel Caribe for a few cocktails (pints for Niall) as we chatted about everything and anything. We literally sank into the comfy couches, wondering if we’d ever be able to get out of them, but the thoughts of going on Shambala late at night and having the aforementioned dinner at one of the different worlds at the park (Mediterranean, Polynesia, Far West, Mexico, China) got us going again.
Shambala at night was fantastic just as much as it was terrifying. The rollercoaster goes so high, you’re lying down for so long looking straight up into blackness because the climb is so steep. When you’re done looking toward space, you can look across on the lights of Salou (which looks teeny tiny) until you experience the first and sharpest drop of the ride, where you can’t even see the track in front of you. We were at the very front that evening, so things were a little more intense. It’s the best rollercoaster I’ve been on in a long time!
Despite the theme park restaurants displaying hours from 12.00pm – 00.00am, we were disappointed to find that they were closing when we went in search for dinner after the ride. We were over an hour before closing time and while the restaurants were still very busy, none were accepting new dinner guests. The only place around where we could get food was the bar in Hotel Caribe. So we ordered paninis and a bottle of wine before retreating to the terrace where we snatched the same seats, had some cocktails and went to bed.
The view walking toward our room
The next morning we had breakfast quite early. I’m not the most alert in the mornings when it comes to some things, so I sadly have no photographic evidence of the glorious breakfast buffet but it was GREAT. Hot stuff everywhere, cold stuff, pastries, yoghurts, coffee machines, cola cao, pancakes, little servings of nutella..I could eat there all day. Sadly, I had one plate of food and felt full (as I should!) so the pig in me didn’t get to sample everything going.
We headed back into the park on the tram to go on some of our favourite rides that morning, although it being Saturday the queues were not so kind.
Ready to go to Valencia, we said our goodbyes to the park and ordered some coffees in one of the cafes near the entrance, where we came across the giant Nutella. It weighed a tonne so I am going to say it was full of real Nutella, and won’t believe anyone otherwise! I would have liked to buy one but Nutella is definitely something I can’t trust myself with.
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