The sun shines when we come out and it feels warm. And that is good, because for this day we have planned a trip to the Efteling, a fairytale ant attraction park. If it had been better weather in the past few days we might have gone before, but we are glad we did wait. But first breakfast in the sun at our house. In the background you can just see the gipsy wagon.Without detours we drive to the Efteling where it is totally not busy. We had bought tickets in advance to quickly pass all rows, but that was not necessary. We are very pleased with this visit, as if we are children again. But we are a little less impatient than we were once as children, because now we first stroll to the Efteling theater to have a cup of coffee and study the park's map.
We start in the fairytale forest, for us the heart of the Efteling. Anton Pieck drew the designs for the first fairy tales and soon we are enchanted again. Later came things like the rollercoaster, but we have not come for that, we want to see the red shoes dancing and see the troll king wake up.
Langnek is a figure from one of the first fairy tales that were depicted in the Efteling, which was opened in 1952. It resulted from a sports park that the Natuurpark de Efteling Foundation wanted to set up. The objective of the foundation: the physical development and relaxation of the residents of the municipality Loon op Zand and the promotion of tourism to and within the municipality, in a Catholic spirit. We do not know whether they succeeded with the Catholic spirit, but tourism has certainly got off to a good start. There are now more than 3 million visitors a year!
Between all fairy tales there is also a real gnbome village where we can take a look at the daily life of the gnomes. Of course, fishing is also done on a nice day like today, because a gnome does not get too busy.
But the laundry must also be done, so there is also work. But lazing in a boat or in the shade in front of the house is for some people the ultimate, because many gnomes (especially the men!) seem to have taken a day off today.
The Indian Water Lilies is a fairy tale written by Queen Fabiola of Belgium. Inside we see the beautiful dance of the water lilies, which on moonlit nights turn into star children to dance. Outside are common-looking guards.
Of course we all know Little Thumb who tries to steal the seven-mile boots here. In the castle on the right we see the endearing story of the girl with the sulfur sticks. Not only the children are affected, even the adults who watch, including us, still find it a poignant story.
It is nice to see children respond to the fairy tales, especially in their different ages. A little one who thinks that sleeping beauty is really dead is very sorry for her and a 12-year-old who knows for sure that the fakir does not have a real flying carpet, but is simply pulled on wires through the air. We simply overlook those wires and enjoy the fairy tales.After two hours we only have seen half of the fairytale forest. That tells enough about the fun we have to walk around here, we have visited cities in less time. Time to get out of the forest, drink a cup of coffee and give our feet some rest. Then we quickly go back into the fairytale forest, because we do not want to miss anything.
On the Herautenplein we suddenly see painted pigeons. They will be enchanted, perhaps by the Frog King who can also be seen here. Around the square there are several castles and attractions, but fortunately also benches, because we have to sit down more and more often.
We spend the night in a Hans-and-Gretel house, but here is the real house that is of course a witches house. And ours has no roof and walls of marzipan and other delicacies. Here and there is even a cake on the fence. No wonder that children go directly to such a house.
You have to watch out with Dragon Light, he guards a treasure and he does it well, too. If you get too close, he spits smoke. We like dragons and find it beautifully portrayed, but there are quite a few younger children who find it very scary.When we have finally admired the whole fairytale forest and some things even twice, we are really ready for a longer rest, some food and drinks. Now it is fairly quiet and we can find a place at our leisure, but what will it look like on a busy day? Probably a teeming mass of people and children. After our break we first take the steam train to drive through the whole park. We have already realized that today we will only see a very small part of the park, but we do not like the roller coaster and related attractions anymore on our age so we can skip them. We still feel young, but not just young enough for that.
We think the water organ is beautiful and also the diorama, a three dimensional miniature world for which Anton Pieck supplied the drawings. It is a miniature world of leprechauns and you just have to look at it to imagine what exciting adventures you can experience in such a setting.The whole day we actually only have one queue and that is for the Dream Flight. The line seems only 10 meters long, but when we slide through a door, we see long lines, parallel to each other, where people slowly move a few steps. There are 20 rows and it takes almost 40 minutes before we can really get inside. But it is more than worth it! In 6 minutes we fall through a fairy world that is indescribably beautiful and if there had not been a row like that, we would have gone again.
We walk through the area of the people of Laaf, but we have too little time, the park is closing in half an hour. So we just take to the air with the Pagoda, a flying Thai temple that brings us to 45 meters above the park so we have a beautiful view of the Efteling.This visit to the Efteling has long been a dream wish of us and it has fully met our expectations that date from our youth. We will certainly come back here, preferably with (small) children. And how lucky we were with the weather, it was sunny and warm, a perfect day.
Through the forests of Oisterwijk we drive back to our house, to enjoy the last evening and the last sunbeams. We say goodbye to Monique and David, our hosts, and wish them good luck with their New Zealand adventure. We have almost completed this adventure again.