A recycled holiday ???

Dear Bloggers,

Yes, it was that time of the year again, time to break out of the daily atmosphere and go on holiday.
Although I have to admit that this time it would be different then former years.
Normally I was the one pulling the wagon and being active all the time.

These days are history and I was not looking forward to go on holiday as I am being tired quite a lot.

But I was pretty surprised that my kids simply did their things and we only had to guide them a little bit. That is also one of the big plusses of having everything inclusive so they can get everything themselves. As the staff is used to Dutch speaking guests the kids can simply manage themselves.

I am very happy man as I really got the chance to relax, my kids hung out with the entertainers and during the day we had all the time of the world in the park, as we had a few days to explore it. So for me there was only the stress of travelling to the park, but the navigation system guided us clearly to our destination.

We checked in and the relaxing could begin, in the restaurant you got your own table for the whole period. And that was absolutely fabulous as my kids knew exactly where to go.

To me it was a great experience, I really came to rest although I had to fight the fatigue attacks in the afternoon, but I could get coffee everywhere and this helped for the time being.

In a way it is one of the most bizarre amusement parks on the planet and it is called Wunderland Kalkar (formerly: "Kernwasser Wunderland") in Kalkar, Germany. http://www.wunderlandkalkar.eu

It started its life as a breeder-reactor! Shortly before its completion it became one of the most expensive ruins (approx. € 4 billion) when numerous protests, the Chernobyl disaster and political queeries made it difficult to justify its existence.

The Dutch businessman Hennie van der Most had plans for it: He bought the whole ruin (minus the nuclear stuff) for just € 2.5 Million and converted it into a hotel and fun-park.

His early plans of building a rollercoaster-dark-ride through the spooky, labyrinthine hallways of the reactor came to a halt when he was confronted with the totally insane building-requirements in Germany.

Poor Hennie was close to call it a day, when he famously gave an interview in which he nagged about the German bureaucrazy.

Apparantly placing some flower-pots on a 3 meter (10 ft.) thick concrete-slab required permission from various building-authorities!
Of course their have to be some safety requirements but this was a bit to much of sticking to the rules. At least that is what I think.

Of course Hennie was also aware that the ambience of his artificial paradise left something to be desired.
Despite being beautifully located at the edge of the Rhine-River, the massive cryptic architecture of the plant overshadowed virtually any idea of family-fun.
So there had to be something done about it.
The cooling tower was turned into a climbing wall and was nicely painted.
Also the other buildings got some fresh and happy colours.

With all-inclusive offerings (all-inclusive means: food and dirnks and especially alcoholic becverages) he somehow managed to fill his bunker-hotel with groups of low-level business travellers and groups of youngsters to have a party.

The good part of this idea is that nobody has to drive home as you stay in the hotel. (No trouble about who needs to drive.) There are some strict rules about noise and that is no problem as the hotel accomodation is seperated in most of the cases from the bar street which is in the basement of the reactor building. And more and more families staying for a few nights.

In the hotel area there are a couple of restaurants in case you want to eat something different then the buffet food, you have to pay a little bit extra for the wok or piri piri restaurant.

We had our virgin experience with the hotel and I must say that we all loved it.
Me as a receptionist myself found of course a few little things that could be done better.
Of course I made a few remarks on the comment card, but these were a couple of minor notes. Our two daughters have already decided to go again next year as this was just not long enough for all of us.

The children's entertainers did a great job and had a good programme running. To please my spouce we have been shopping in Oberhausen mall called CentrO which is only 40 minutes by car from the park. I really have to compliment all the staff as they where all very friendly and helpful.

Eventhough people where queing in front of the receptiondesk, they really took there time for you and explained things how it should be.

The park is now in its 14th year of operation, catering to families who can´t or will not afford a day at one of the upscale German and Dutch amusement-parks in the area. (where you have to que at least for a minimum of 20 minutes on every ride.) We tried one of them on our last day.

Moviepark Germany is approx 1 hour drive from Kalkar. I had booked the tickets online with a discount offer of 30% but still I had to pay more then € 80,-
The park was in my opinion absolutely overcrowded and only the atractions for the little ones were available within 10 minutes as they were running as short as possible.
For the main attractions like the rollercoasters at ten o'clock in the morning the queing time was already 50 minutes or more.
Furthermore several attractions where not open or under repair, strange thing to do that in the high season.

Looking at new pictures of Wunderland, it seems that they somehow manage to blend out the buildings by simply throwing lots of paint on them.
Besides, after a place has been used for a different purpose long enough, the "old ghosts" seem to vanish.
Still, the idea of putting an amusement-park into an atomic powerplant is awesome, even if the outcome is a bit underwhelming.

At this moment Henny van der Most bought himself a “new” powerplant in Meppen (just across the Dutch border between Groningen and Assen.) http://www.funpark-meppen.de

This so called funpark Meppen will be opening this year partly but will be more based on extreme action sports.
The concept will be similair to Wunderland (All inclusive) but this one is for the bigger kids and their moms and dads of course.

The Old Sailor,


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