One of the things I had read about in Andorra was Naturlandia – a kind of amusement park, which boasts the longest nature slide in the world, go-karts, zipline, and archery, among other things. The kids were very excited to do archery. Clare was not too excited about most of this, so we decided to split up on Sunday – the kids and I drove for 45 minutes (with approximately 6 wrong turns) to Naturlandia, while Clare relaxed and did some hiking near our apartment in Soldeu. We arrived at the park around 10:30, and it was nearly empty, because it was shoulder season. It turns out that the archery was closed, but the kids wanted to stay anyways. We ended up being one of the last people to leave at 6 p.m. The kids were really great about taking turns, since I had to go 1-1 with them on many of the attractions. Spencer really enjoyed these mini jeep go karts they had, which they called buggys. He must have ridden those about a dozen times. Meg wanted to do the Airtrekk and Zipline, which we did early in the day. I was terrified at first, but was brave, mostly because Meg was braver than I. After I got used to it, I was okay, and had a good time. Spencer didn’t want to do it at first, but after I told him my story about skydiving, he decided to give it a try. He did great, and we ended up doing it 4 or 5 times total.
The park closes from 2 to 3 p.m. for lunch, which is very Spanish. The cafeteria is of course open. We got in line for the cafeteria at about 1:55, made our order at 2:05, and finally got our food at 2:50. They were clearly short-staffed. The kids were very patient though, and we enjoyed our food. The patatas bravas was amazing – fried potatoes with some sort of creamy sauce and a slightly spicy sauce. The prices were reasonable too. Lunch for the 3 of us including drinks was less than €30. I have found this to be true in many places in Europe – I feel like in the United States when you get food at places like amusement parks, stadiums and such, where they know you have no other option, they really gouge prices. In Europe, the prices seem a little bit higher, but not too much. For example, at the Alemannia Aachen soccer match we went to, I think a beer was only about €3. At sports games in the U.S., a beer is frequently $8. One thing I have been surprised about in Spain is how much beer they drink. I had assumed they mostly drank wine, but I have noticed many people (including retired women) drinking beer at lunch time. The beer is also much tastier than I expected. Always a pleasant surprise.
Back to the story – after lunch, Meg and I went on the Tobotronc – the natural slide / roller coaster. There was almost no line, which I always enjoy. I really enjoyed the Tobotronc. It is basically like a slide which rides on two rails. On the 12 minute journey up it is attached to a cable, much like a cable car. On the way down it simply rides the rails, and there are brakes which you can control, so you can control the speed. We went fairly fast, but I slowed down on the curves some, which was nice, because I don’t particularly enjoy fast roller coasters.
After the Tobotronc we did more buggy and zipline rides for the rest of the afternoon. We left right around 6 p.m. and got back right around 7 p.m. Clare had dinner waiting for us.