24 Mar 2013 Netherlands: The Efteling
This is an entry in the We Said Go Travel Writing Contest written by Sofie Couwenbergh from Belgium. Thanks for your entry Sofie!
When the people from WeSaidGoTravel launched the contest that inspired me to do this series I think they expected to get articles about interesting countries, vibrant cities and picturesque towns. And that’s what I’ve given them in my posts about London and Los Angeles.
Today, however, I want to talk to you about a place I love that’s neither a country, nor a city or a town. It’s a world.
A world where there are no age differences, where everywhere can be young at heart and mind and where everyone can dream.
Today, I’m telling you about the Efteling.
“What? This entire introduction for an amusement park? Somewhere you pay an arm and a leg for a Coke and are stuck in one-hour ‘traffic jams’ to get on the next attraction?’
Yes, an amusement park. But not just any amusement park. The Efteling in Kaatsheuvel (The Netherlands) isn’t about having the fastest or highest roller coaster – although it does have some rides that turn your stomach upside down –, neither is it a theme park just for kids. The Efteling is about creating an entirely different world from ours, filled with magic.
This world is divided in four realms:
– ‘Ruigrijk’ (the Realm of Rough)
– ‘Reizenrijk’ (the Realm of travels)
– ‘Anderrijk’ (the Realm of Different)
– ‘Marerijk’ (the Realm of Words)
The Realm of Rough is where the daredevils go, with attractions such as a swinging ship and a double wooden racer roller coaster.
In the Realm of Travels you can see how carnival is celebrated all over the world, or you can explore the flying Thai temple.
Probably one of the oldest attractions at the Efteling is Fata Morgana in the Realm of Different. While this boat trip through the tales of 1001 nights does look a little outdated, it still holds a lot of its original charm and for someone who’s visited the park several times (like yours truly), it stays a highlight.
Guests of these realms don’t need to visit on an empty stomach. The park has different stalls and cafes where you can grab a bite and a drink, or you can bring a picnic to have at one of the many picnic tables.
Tired already? Then you can go to one of the shows that are being held throughout the park. They alter each season but often involve a lot of stunts, water and fire.
The Realm of Words, finally, is my favourite part of the Efteling. It’s where you can walk through a forest where fairy tales come to life and where the people of Laaf let you have a look at how they live. For grownups it’s a trip through memory lane, for children it’s pure excitement. When I’m at the Efteling, I don’t know in which of both categories I belong.
Oh, I almost forgot! When you visit the Efteling (not ‘if’, because you should definitely go), you cannot miss the Dream Flight. It’s an amazing ride, or better glide, where you sit in a cart that has its top attached to a rail and like that carries you through a forest filled with magical creatures.
The Efteling has walking routes, slow rides, fast rides, rides on which you’ll get wet and rides on which you’ll get soaked. Either way, you’ll have an amazing time.
When you plan your visit, be sure to check out their site. It has all the information you need on opening hours, how to get there and entrance prices.
About the Author: Sofie Couwenbergh: Sofie is a food fan (mmm, food…), dance aficionada and travel blogger on http://www.wonderfulwanderings.com. She’s a language lover lusting life, exploring the world and writing about it.