On Friday evening we travelled from Dublin to Paphos. Our flight was the first on a new route being operated by Ryanair for 2018, and the airport authorities had chosen to celebrate the occasion by giving out free cupcakes. The experience was standard low fare airline otherwise, though; once "boarding" commenced we were left to stand on stairs for almost twenty minutes while we waited for the inbound aircraft to land, and a subsequent air traffic control delay meant a total time on board in excess of six hours. Though I'm well used to flights of that length (and beyond) the vast majority come with the luxury of seat cushions; readers considering their own Cyprus trip should be aware that everything starts to hurt once you go past three hours on the rigid non-reclining slab that constitutes a Ryanair seat.
Galactica Lunapark and Bowling
7th April 2018
Galactica Lunapark and Bowling is a family entertainment facility in Limassol, featuring a bowling alley, arcade games, and a selection of children's rides outside. We were unable to find opening hours online, but our hotel was nearby so we decided to drop in after breakfast in the hope of clearing our tick early. We found the place open, but only partially; a member of staff working on the bumper cars told us that the remaining rides would be available from 4:00pm until "eight or nine". We duly decamped to Ancient Kourion, a UNESCO heritage site conveniently located about twenty minutes away by car.
We returned shortly before the appointed time to find that the various rides had opened early. Martin dutifully acquired tokens for the three of us to ride the Minibruco, then began the tortuous process of shoehorning himself into a seat. This was never going to be an easy task for someone of generous body size, but he defied all expectation by managing it in around thirty seconds. The operators made a forlorn comment about the ride being for kids only, but after a brief discussion decided it was too nice a day to argue, and sent us around for eight hilarious laps. Exfiltration proved very challenging indeed; sadly it didn't occur to me to start filming the performance until too late.
Lucky Star Park
7th April 2018
We knew before travelling to Cyprus that Lucky Star Park had been closed for the winter season, but we'd found information online indicating that it was due to reopen at the end of March. It was evident on arrival however that plans had changed; an opening date on signage near the entrance had been painted out, and though we couldn't see a huge amount inside the grounds it was obvious that maintenance work had come to an unceremonious halt. There were weeds poking through the footpath, arcade games exposed to the elements, and large holes in a canvas roof protecting one of the buildings. The park web site has since gone offline, which would tend to indicate that the business will not be trading again any time soon, if ever.
Parko Paliatso Luna Park
7th April 2018
The largest amusement park in Cyprus can be found in Ayia Napa, a tourist resort located in the south-east corner of the island. Visitors have a choice of individual ride coupons or wristbands, though readers should be aware that the approach with the latter is rather complicated. The premium wristband (€38) excludes the Boats and Motorbikes, limits guests to a single ride on the Booster and 5D Cinema, and requires a €10 payment for the Sling Shot. The standard wristband (€25) also excludes the Boats and Motorbikes, but grants unrestricted access to the Booster, 5D Cinema, Looping Star, and Street Fighter at half the usual token rate. Finally, a kids wristband (€10) can be used on most (but not all) of the family friendly attractions.
Those choosing to pay per ride can purchase individual tokens for €1 each, with packs of twelve available for €10. As of this writing a single lap on each coaster requires twelve tokens in total, with subsequent laps on the Looping Star requiring six. The break-even point for the wristbands required mental arithmetic beyond our capabilities after a long day on minimal sleep, though I've since determined that a premium wristband is better value than the standard one for those wanting to do five or more laps on the Looping Star. That said, those who only want to ride the coasters can use tokens and clock up seven laps for the same money. Confused yet? Me too.
As the sun was beginning to fade we decided to begin our visit with the Giant Wheel, a thirty-two car model set at the very edge of the park. The best photographs from the heights were of the Looping Star and the park as a whole, though the sun was not helpful for the latter. We went back for a second ride after night had fallen when the pretty colours made for much nicer shots. (As an aside, our vantage point revealed the presence of an antique Waltzer that was fully assembled but blocked off from the rest of the park; the words something to crow about were painted on the side if anyone fancies trying to work out where it came from.)
Our first coaster ended up being Wild Mouse (#2417), a standard layout spinning coaster that looked like a Reverchon model but was actually produced by Sartori Rides. We'd been expecting a vanilla ride experience, and were quite surprised when the spinning mechanism was unlocked on the way out of the station, something I last experienced in Funderland many years ago when one of the staff deliberately unlocked the cars as a special favour for a coaster enthusiast group. The extra spinning meant that we went down the main drop backwards, making for an interesting change to the norm. After disembarking we headed for the nearby Brucomela (#2418); the operator told us that his ride was for kids only, but agreed to let us on board after we explained that we were in fact just big kids.
We'd seen the parts for a second family coaster in a car park on the far side of the road, and headed across there next for some photographs. Close up inspection revealed a yellow Wacky Worm train and a sign labelled Magic Ride, as well as the centre component for a flat ride of indeterminate type. We suspect that both will be going to Pafos Luna Park, a new venture from the owners of Parko Paliatso that is due to open at the start of May.
Our geeking out led us to miss a dispatch for the Looping Star by seconds, but we were not too worried as we figured that this would give us first call on seats for the next round. However, it wasn't to be; as the train crested the lift there was an enormous bang, followed by a puff of smoke from the back of the station and a distinct smell of burning. The words "was that supposed to happen" had barely crossed my lips when an operator came over to tell us that the ride would be closed for about an hour for maintenance. We figured this estimate to be optimistic at best, and so it proved; work was still underway when we returned to the park after dinner. Shortly after 9:00pm a member of staff broke the bad news; the ride was down for the night, though he did say that it would almost certainly be working again the next day.
As such our last hit ended up being Fantasma, a two storey haunted house with a spiral lift (and a low ceiling) at the start. The ride looked like it might have been designed with horror in mind, though the owners had evidently decided to tone things down at some point, as the various creatures within all had brightly coloured lightbulbs in their eye sockets that looked more funny than frightening. There was a brief outside portion on the second floor, and a gravity drop inside with strings hanging down from the roof. The experience was not one that I'd bother repeating; those with limited time can safely skip it.