Jun 28, 2015

Winter Wonderland Leaves Us Cold

"Dress up warm," the website advised us, "because snow is cold and little feet and fingers can get chilly."

It sounded ever so glamorous, tobogganing down purpose-built slides of real snow at the enticingly named Winter Festival at the Riverstage with Genuine Bavarian Gastronomy to be had and everything.

We were a bit dubious, going down, not because we doubted the undoubtable awesomeness of the experience but because bookings for the day's sessions had closed and we didn't know if we would get to go on.

Still, with trepidation we parked at New Farm and caught the ferry up-river. As we glid down the reach past the Botanical Gardens, through the trees we could see snatches of huge snowmen, and a shiver of anticipation gently cupped the parts that other beers cannot reach.

We walked up to the ticket office to be told, to our relief, that plenty of tickets were in fact still available, and that there probably wouldn't be a problem with getting a go on the slides.

We were anticipating, from the admittedly heavily photoshopped images that the website had to offer, epic slides running from the top of the natural amphitheatre down to the stage where men in shorts would be playing the accordian while simultaneously juggling steins of Jarlsfrager, onlooked by amazed Brisbanites whose every need would be seen to by buxom Bavarian beauties, hair in pigtails.


We were greeted, if that's the word, by a large-ish inflatable slide that wasn't as huge as it could have been, and although it was white, admittedly, it was made of plastic, not snow. It ran from halfway down the hill; the huge snowmen were in fact a large snowman, inflatable also, flanked by mysterious inflatable banks of inflatable not-snow, also white.

There was no snow to frolic in, to make the kiddies' gloves damp with glacid effort, no snowballs flying through the air, the winter tinkle of children's laughter completely absent, replaced by booming pop-hits of the type we are wearily familiar with. Although I do like the one that goes... oh, no, I've forgotten it.

We ascended the stage to sample the Bavarian delights but the serving wenches were absent, the mulled wine unavailable, the stein-jugglers rebranded as work-a-day students with no beer and no shorts.

Still, from the stage - on which were two stalls, one of which sold sausages, the other those Dutch mini-pancakes - we could now see that the actual sliding parts of the slide did have genuine snow upon them, so bolstered by this tepid consolation we embarked upon our Cresta run.

Actually Eloise and Lyra were quite excited as we climbed the short climb to Base Camp One, where we sat down upon our strangely circular plastic "toboggans" and, breathless with anticipation, got ourselves moving, paired up, using the Time Warp method.

And although the ride was far from rapid, after our "sledges" had ploughed into the snow on the way down, rotating gently as they built up speed, we did indeed end up with damp bottoms.

Lyra, at the bottom, being Lyra, decided that the snow deserved to be eaten. And so she ate it. And, even after Dutch mini-pancakes and some Bavarian sausage, she went back for seconds, and thirds.

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