Hard as it may be for the average reader to believe, the plan to visit Alton Towers today did not actually originate from me. Rather, it was one of my colleagues in the office who suggested it might be fun for a group of us to go over for the day. Five people travelled in the end, a number selected by having only one person over the age of twenty five with a full driving license (me). While driving abroad normally presents me with no issues, Alamo saw fit to assign me a Volvo XC70 2.4 D5 SE Auto, a particularly unpleasant car with the turning circle of a barge and the acceleration of a ferry. I got used to both limitations quickly enough, but I found it much harder to deal with the size of the vehicle, especially when trying to negotiate the narrow roads in the general vicinity of the park. Fortunately I only managed to scrape the kerb once.
The park was very crowded, meaning we only had time for six rides in total; the four decent coasters, Hex, and the new for this year Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The design of this ride takes a considerable amount of inspiration from the recent movie starring Johnny Depp, insofar as it is headache-inducing, colourful, and altogether very strange. After a boat ride riders are escorted into the great glass elevator, where projection screens all around you simulate the effect of flying, after a fashion at least. The experience can be summarised in one word; odd.