Now as flattering as the invitation sounded, I wasn't sure if we were up for it. Colin has been sick on and off, hubby usually needs his Saturday to catch up on work, and I am not a fan of large crowds and rides, because vertigo, motion sickness, you name it.
I do however like Europapark in Rust, Southern Germany. It's part Epcot Center, part Disney World and part Magic Mountain, so there's something for everybody. Plus I was curious what it would be like when Migros, the biggest Swiss grocery chain, rented out the whole park for 25'000 lucky customers.
Saturday morning, are we ready..?
Entertainment and snacks - we were about to be very happy that we packed them. An accident caused a lot of traffic jam and an hour delay on our trip.
But then, finally, lots of orange balloons were welcoming us!
"One M better" Colin said. Commercials, you are doing a god job!
Hubby was happy to yield his ticket, and Eric, Colin's best friend, was happy to accept it!
|Where should we go first?|
Oh, look! Tobi, the Lilibiggs dog! Lilibiggs is Migros' kids' brand. Crackers, yogurt shakes, miniature veggies and fruit, a special menu at the restaurant, kids' concerts, magazines, you name it!
I had told the boys beforehand that I was not going to do any of the wild rides.
They didn't believe me. "Please? Only once?"
The thing is, even if they're over 4 feet tall and (almost) 8 years old, they still need an adult to go with them.
So every time when getting in line we would ask strangers if they would mind taking the guys. Of course we had to skip all the families who had young children of their own. Luckily there were enough responsible looking couples and families with teenagers who were happy to help. Such a great spirit!
For the past two years we have been visiting the park as a company field trip in fall when it's decorated for Halloween. This is what the Eurosat looks then:
Back to early spring. Although it was nice and sunny, it was also pretty freezing cold. I was glad we brought warm clothes!
So while the boys were waiting 30-45 minutes for their turn at every ride, I did some people watching. The diversity was fascinating. They come in all shapes and sizes, they speak Swiss German, French and Italian, they are wearing scarfs, hats and gloves or are barefoot in their sneakers, but they have one thing in common: they all shop at Migros!
I tried to imagine where and how they lived and shopped.
Those pimple-faced youngsters over there? Students or apprentices, probably buying lots of sandwiches, chocolate bars and energy drinks.
This mom with the double stroller certainly needs tons of diapers, bananas and apple sauce and uses the family check-out counter - the one register with no impulse shopping candy rack ;-)
That family over there... wait a minute... what were they thinking coming here hauling an Aldi (evil non-Swiss grocery chain) shopping tote bag?
This guy cracked me up. He was probably looking up a ride that would accommodate his new companion!
While I was waiting at the exit of those rides, there were always other parents sitting with young kids until their family members were going to be done, and we got to talk. So even tough I couldn't use my phone to upload pictures on Facebook and find out who else was there (roaming fees are killing you as soon as you get outside of Swiss phone carriers!) I was never bored.
"So those large crowd events aren't that bad" I said to myself.
Until we went for lunch. It was almost 2pm, and I thought most people should be done by then. Think again.
While there are many, many coffee shops and internationals specialty stands selling pizza slices, ice cream and crêpes, there is one large restaurant where you can actually sit down, remove your jackets and bags, use the restroom and eat in peace.
It is self-service, and I immediately remembered why I hated large crowd events. There are people left and right, behind and in front of you, balancing their trays with plates and full drinking glasses filled with sticky soda, hungry, whiny kids trailing, no tables available...
I was this close to losing it!
Once our stomachs were full, our spirits rose again.
On our way to Russia we discovered the Migros bus which I was all excited about. The guys shrugged and said "it's an old bus, what's so special about it?"
Well, boys, in the olden days, when I was a kid, not every mom had a car to go shopping, and the closest Migros store was a 10 minutes' car ride away!
That's where the bus came in. It was loaded with groceries, and it stopped in various neighborhood streets. Ours came to Parkstrasse, which is a 5 minutes' walk from where I grew up. So on bus shopping day, people would come out of their houses with their grocery list and large shopping bag at hand and wait for the bus to arrive.
Of course there was not much space in the bus, and not everybody could go in at the same time, so it was usually an opportunity to chat with people from the neighborhood and for the kids to run around. Good times!
From Russia we went to England. Should we go to the Arena of Football / Soccer?
No time, she said only one more ride till we go home, let's go to Arthur's!
The day isn't complete until you meet Euro Mouse!
A special highlight was bumping into D, Colin's hockey school buddy!
I think this Saturday night, Colin, Eric and I, plus an estimated 6'000 families said "we got home tired, but happy!" Thank you very much for this wonderful day, Migros!