Tropical Islands: well one thing you can't complain about is lack of parking.
The Truman Show' style backdrop for one of the pools. Great, isn't it?
Inside the dome (or giant caterpillar, as Orla thought) with all the rainforest-y goodness, and tents which may or may not be crawling with cockroaches and quail.
Gorgeous white sand, fabulous blue sky, water a sultry 28 - 31 degrees... I have managed to avoid going to Tropical Islands for the best part of a year. On paper it's everything I hate. Swimming, sand, camping with sand, and then a bit more swimming thrown in just to make sure I have a crap time.
I really utterly dislike swimming. It's the pools, the plasters, the dirt, the wet dirt, and bathing in countless peoples' urine. Stevie on the other hand loves it. Revels I think in my discomfort. Has craved this summer and the endless weekends of swimming opportunities in the outdoor pools. I don't mind the outdoor pools anywhere near as much as indoor pools. Less mould I suppose, fresher air (if you don't count the Berliners all around you that by god, really do like to smoke), and even the possibility of "going a little wander round the nudist section with the kids for a look" (honest to God, he was serious).
Tropical Islands though has been high on Stevie's agenda since we've been here. Especially over the winter. But luckily I managed to avoid it's 66, 000 square metres of tropical delights up until now because the kids thankfully managed to be ill every time it re-surfaced in his mind. But I messed up last week. I took my eye off the ball and left it too late to book us into a cottage in Ruegen (sorry, I don't have an umlaut). Ruegen is an island off the Baltic coast. Meant to be lovely, great for the kids, lots of interesting things to see, but I was too busy frittering time away on Facebook and the like to get it sorted out. And of course it was the German bank holiday, so by the time I did get on to it, what was available was rather expensive.
"Not to worry." says Stevie, "We'll just have to go to Tropical Islands". And I felt kind of trapped. I was left to do the booking. I assumed that he'd want us to stay for a couple of days, and more than likely he'd wanted us to stay over as cheaply as possible. Stevie strongly believes that when you go on holiday there is no point in spending much on your accommodation as you are only going to be there to sleep, and if you're not conscious then what's the point in having a fancy room. Stevie and I, in case you haven't realised this before now, are polar opposites. But seeing as he's the one earning the money now, well, I try to humour him a little.
Thus, sleeping on the beach for 15 Euros each was swiftly ruled out. In fact, I'd ruled that one out before I'd even looked at the website as a friend who'd been who decided they'd had enough at 5am walked to the exit via the beach and described it as looking like everyone had been washed up, and you had to pick your way gingerly through sleeping families crammed into every available space. Option two is to stay in a tent. Fine. (Though I don't much care for camping if the truth be known, but fine). The tents even come with mattresses, pillows, blankets. Great!
It was when I scrolled down and read the notes that I kind of went off the idea. For starters there's the possibility that you'll have to share your tent with other people, unless you are willing to pay for all the beds. But more off-putting than that is the second note which tells you that given the campsites close proximity to the worlds largest indoor rain forest, and the fact that they like to keep things natural, you may also be sharing your tent with cockroaches amongst other things. No thanks. I like to sleep.
There are other much more lovely options when it comes to places to stay but I knew Stevie wouldn't be interested beyond the tent option. So you can imagine I was dreading it. But as luck would have it, he decided that seeing as it was handy enough (it's on the road between Berlin & Dresden) we would just come home.
So we went. And can I just say, really, I had a great time. I may have done a bit of moaning about having to go to the children's play area wearing only a bathing costume but really it was fine. The place was massive, I think it was used to build airships or something in the past, and really it is great inside. The air was warm, the water was as warm as the pee I thought I was swimming in, the kids were happy, and we all had good fun. We spent a good long day there, and all my usual thoughts of germs, fungus, plasters, filth and what have you, disappeared (for the most part) from my mind.
Well, at least until the next day when Hamish threw up on the sofa and wouldn't eat all day, and I lay gr(m)oaning and feeling ghastly & nauseous in bed from all the pee-pee water we had drunk. But would I go back? Actually, I think I might. Though I might have a good moan about it first.