Last week was my much awaited trip to Germany. Having never been to Germany before I didn't really know what to expect, but I had heard good things about the two parks that I intended to visit. The first park was Phantasialand near to Brühl. My second park was Europa-Park and I will cover this in a separate trip report. Getting to the park I don't wish to talk too much about travelling but one of the most bizarre things happened at Brühl train station. We made our way to the Phantasialand bus stop but it turned out we had just missed the shuttle bus and we would have to wait about 40 minutes. We had a nosey around but there was very little to do here, so resigned ourselves to just hanging around until it turned up. There was however, a bus sitting at the stop already. The driver opened the door and started speaking to us in German. I know a few basic German words but I had no clue what he was on about, so just shrugged my shoulders and ignored him. A few minutes later a guy got on the bus, chatted for a bit, and then leaned out and said "this bus is going to Phantasialand". We got on but the bus driver did not want to take any money. We departed on a mystery bus tour slightly uneasy and unsure where we would end up. However, being able to follow on Google Maps we could see we were going in the right direction and we did indeed end up at the entrance to Phantasialand. It was the most surreal experience. I think in the future I would hide out of the way of any buses until the genuine one arrived! The hotel We checked in to the stunningly presented Ling Bao hotel. The guy at reception was very helpful and spoke good English. As we were staying for two nights, we were issued with four QuickPass vouchers. We had not booked any restaurants and had assumed we could book them when we arrived. However this turned out to be a mistake and in hindsight, we should have booked in advance. They did however manage to fit us in to the Zambesi at 6pm and the Bamboo for the following day for 8pm. The rooms were beautifully presented and it was clear that attention to every detail had been paid. As we were quite tired from the travelling, we chilled in the bar, had our meal, and then returned back to the bar to unwind while we prepared for the following day. As night time fell, the area was lit up beautifully. We were however quite amused when a couple of the gas torches failed to light automatically, and a member of bar staff went round and lit them manually with a piezo sparker (like the ones you use on a cooker) The park We enjoyed our breakfast in the Ling Bao and then entered the park via the hotel entrance just after it opened. We had no idea where we were going so had a bit of a wander around. It turned out that although the park opened at 9am, most things did not open until 10am so there were queues forming at the entrances to all of the attractions. We passed Taron and noticed there was a massive queue, so we decided to skip this and instead headed to the opposite side of the park and work backwards instead. The first ride we went on was Winjas Fear and Force. These are two Maurer spinning coasters which are located indoors and are perhaps some of the craziest spinning coasters due to the various trick-track elements. They are quite long rides and although both were good, my personal favourite was Fear. I had heard bad things about Temple of the Nighthawk, but having never been to this park I wanted to experience it for myself. However it seems like it has now shut while they add VR technology to it. We continued back through the park and hit various smaller attractions. There are lots of small quirky things to do here such as Hotel Tartüff which reminded me very much of the Noah's Ark at Pleasure Beach. It's unusual to see things like this which are now considered "unsafe" for the British public. At lunchtime we decided to get a beer at the Rutmore's Taverne which provided great views of the themeing in Klugheim and nice views of Taron. The themeing at this place really is something else. The immersion is unlike anything I've ever seen before. In the early afternoon we were flagging due to the unusually high temperatures, so did both Chiapas (one of the maddest water rides I've done) and River Quest, which has quite an impressive first drop from its vertical lift. It was lovely to cool down as temperatures were hitting 32ºc. We then did Mystery Castle. I'm not a fan of drop towers in general but actually this was not too bad, mainly because you couldn't see the height. However the experience is quite short and it was over very quickly. It's a strange machine as it sounds just like an S&S, but was surprised to find out it is Intamin. By this point we had a couple of hours before the park closed. Thankfully the park was not too busy so we made our way to Taron and queued for 15 minutes. This was the most anticipated ride of the trip and watching it was a sight to behold, the way it carves through all of the rocks was a pleasure to watch. Fifteen minutes later we finally sit on the train and off it goes... the first launch was good and sends us into lots of twists and turns and a few bits of airtime, then that second launch... wow, that sound I won't ever forget as the train seems to double in speed. The second half was then even more extreme until we finally hit the brakes. It was everything that I hoped it would be. So, does it topple my current number one coaster..? Keep reading to find out By now we were truly exhausted but had still not done Black Mamba. It is perhaps odd to leave the B&M till the end of the day, but this was probably one of the lower priorities we had. However we did ride it both at the front and the back. It's a nice inverter and certainly packs a punch with its intensity. The way it also carves through the rocks is very Nemesis-like. Perhaps the most comical part of Black Mamba was the operations. Since the park was so quiet by this point, it was running on single train operation. After the train was dispatched, the ride hosts would congregate in the middle of the lowered floor and chat. They would stay there even as the train was being advanced by the operator, before stepping out the way at the last second. We also saw the ride host stand directly in the path of the train and then start stepping back as the train approached him. It was crazy to watch. ERS For those not familiar with Phantasialand, they are quite unusual in that the ERS takes place at the end of the day, 30 minutes after the park closes. Although a bit of a pain logistically, as it's difficult to book a restaurant when you're not sure if you'll be busy riding, it does have the advantage that Taron will be fully warmed up. Also Raik, the family boomerang, was also warmed up and so I rode it without any queue. I've not done any boomerang coasters but if they're anything like this, I hope to never ride one again. The whole going backwards experience was a bit much for me and I was glad to get off it. I then rode Taron a few more times, front and back, and it was even faster and better than the earlier rides. This is definitely one of my favourite coasters, but... no, it does not topple the crown of Shambhala for me. The two coasters are very different experiences and for me, Taron does not quite hit the spot in the same way. Final thoughts Phantasialand is a beautiful park and the depth of themeing was incredible. It also has some great attractions and Taron in particular was spectacular. It is, however, quite a small park and you probably won't need to spend more than a day here. As much as I enjoyed Phantasialand I won't be returning for a few years now as I feel like I "got my fill". If you do go to Phantasialand, I strongly recommend you stay in one of the hotels as the ERS was worth its weight in gold... just remember to book the restaurants before you go Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed.