It rained. Well, more like thunderstormed. As we were driving into New Braunfels on Saturday, the skies were sunny and beautiful. But the closer we got, the darker the skies were. And by the time we parked, it was downright pouring. No biggie, we thought, we're gonna get wet anyway. But all the rides were closed because of the lightning. *haha* So we ended up walking around in the rain for almost 2 hours. Once the thunderstorm passed the rides did open back up, but by then it was a gusty 60 degrees. The upside is that everyone left so the lines were really short! ;)
The next day's forecast didn't look much better, but we ended up having PLENTY of sunshine to get our fill of Schlitterbahn. In fact, had we spent anymore time there I'd shudder to think of what my condition would be. As is, I have bruises under both of my arms from tubing, my feet are so sore I can STILL hardly walk on them barefoot and my pinky and wrist may never by the same after I fell out of my tube in a shallow section of a ride and slammed my hand against the bottom. Ouch. No sunburn, though! Still has pale as a sheet of paper. :)
So to sum up Schlitterbahn...it IS really huge! It started as a small park sandwiched between the little town of New Braunfels and the winding Comal River. They've expanded all over the place (there's a tram that can take you from one park to the other - that's how far apart the editions are.) But it's also the most poorly laid out amusement park I've ever been to. There was an entire section of slides that we almost didn't even find! We wandered down this random staircase and there they were! (They ended up being our favorites, so I'm glad we found them!) The maps were absolutely no help, either. For one thing they're not very accurate. And they had them posted all over the park but never labeled with "YOU ARE HERE" markers, making them pretty much useless. So this is probably the reason my feet hurt so bad, because we just had to walk around till we figured out where we were. *haha*
One more complaint, then I swear I'll say something positive. :) One of the major draws of this park are the famous "Blaster" slides, which are marketed as "water coasters." I can't tell you how many times I've seen these slides on the Travel Channel on their thrill ride or amusement park specials. *in my best announcer voice* "They've harnessed the technology of using water jets to propel rafts uphill, defying the gravity that has limited to waterslides to downhill movement for so long." So that sounds really cool, right? I mean, I love me a good rollercoaster! What could be more fun than a water coaster? Um, lot's of things. In fact, after waiting in line for over 45 minutes, I called "Dragon's Revenge" the most disappointing part of the trip. It's a double ride, meaning we rode in one of those joint tubes, Jeremy was in front and I was in back. It was a regular tube where your booty is exposed. Remember those water jets that propel the tubes uphill? Well, when we went over them, it felt like someone was shooting my backside with a power washer. NOT comfortable. The jets practically knocked Jeremy's swim shorts all the way off. With every hill I was yelling, "OW! OW! OW! OW! OW!" And, beyond that, the designers seemed to be so excited about their UPHILL technology they neglected to have very many DOWNHILL portions. Which, isn't that the whole point of going uphill? To come back down? That's what I thought. But we just kept going up, then down just a little, then back up again. Not very exciting.
Enough complaining. We really DID have a great time!! The park is beautifully green and lush, probably because of its position along the river. (I didn't invest in a water proof camera so I don't have any pictures to share, but I did find a couple on the internet to show you.
This shows part of the park that runs along the river. The sidewalk on the left leads up to some slides.
Jeremy and I both agreed that our favorite rides were the "tube chutes," where you sit in a tube and float your way through twisting white water, down little drops and spills. Like this:
This picture shows a particularly gentle portion of a ride, but there were parts that got really rough. (Jeremy fell out of his tube multiple times. *haha*) They were so fun...and each of these rides lasted long enough to make standing in line seem worthwhile (unlike a regular slide where you're done in a matter of seconds.)
We also engaged in one of our absolute favorite pastimes - people watching. Is anything more fun than people watching at a WATERPARK? ;) It was particularly entertaining playing "tattoo spotters." Boy did we see some doozies! One dude had a spinal cord tattooed all the way down his back. That was certainly unique.
And I have to say, walking around in my swimsuit in public had the exact opposite effect on my self esteem than I would have thought. It really did me good to see ALL KINDS of bodies. I think I get so caught up in what I see on TV and in magazines that I really start to believe that my body is hideously misshaped and unusual. That I'm in the minority because I'm carrying extra weight. But seeing other women stripped down and bare, it was apparent to me that NO ONE is perfect, including the skinny minnies that probably look flawless under clothes.