5th May 2004

We were escorted in to Liseberg well before scheduled opening, giving us a wonderful opportunity to explore the park and take photographs. I'd just taken out my camera to do just that, when disaster struck; it wouldn't turn on. Closer inspection revealed the truth; I'd managed to leave my battery in my check-in luggage, now conveniently located underneath a coach somewhere in downtown Göteborg. Oops.

Liseberg currently has two signature coasters. The first of these is Lisebergbanan (#245), a terrain hugging steel coaster designed by the great Anton Schwarzkopf and built by Zierer. Herr Schwarzkopf is widely reported to have considered this ride his personal favourite, and it is easy to see why. It is almost a mile in length, being the longest in Europe when it opened, and throughout that distance it maintains a smooth and family friendly pace, while being intense enough for thrill seekers to enjoy too. The only downside is the brake at the end of the ride, which is extremely harsh. Surely there must be a better way to slow the train down than a simulated car crash?

The other signature coaster is Balder (#246), currently ranked the number one wooden coaster in the planet. I took my first ride in the back seat, and have to confess that the experience was utterly underwhelming. However, the other end of the train was something else entirely, with extremely powerful airtime over every single hill. The ride was also smooth, possibly even too smooth. It felt like a piece of precision engineering rather than a wooden coaster. It is for this reason that it doesn't make my number one, but it's still a top ten ride regardless.

The park treated us to a reception inside the bounds of the coaster. Free beer was again on offer for those who wanted it, but this seemed like a bad plan for me given the two flights later in the day. Instead, I took up the offer of writing my own inscription on the track supports, something which has become a bit of a tradition at Liseberg among all enthusiast groups. It was intriguing to find quite a few names I recognised among the existing graffiti.

I wandered over to the Cirkusexpressen junior coaster, but it was down for the day due to technical problems. Instead, my path brought me up a steep hill towards two S&S tower rides. The Uppskjutet space shot was very poor, with the car barely making it two thirds of the way up the tower. Conversely, the Höjdskräcken drop was superb. I had quite a bit of fun on board by adopting the standard enthusiast position, namely hands stretched out. The local sitting beside me attempted to copy without realising what he was doing; the look on his face and the mad grab for the bars was bordering on the hilarious! On an unrelated note, while queuing for these rides I noted a teenaged girl wearing a shirt with the word "bimbo" on it in bright pink. I wonder if bimbo is some well known Swedish designer?

I finished out my day with a few games on the Dance Dance Revolution machine. It was impossible to resist playing after watching several teenaged girls making an altogether poor attempt at the beginner level of the game; I've a feeling my demonstration freaked them out completely!

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