Thursday 20th September 2018
It was another fairly early start from the hotel, to give us a chance to battle through Istanbul's traffic
The first park of the day was in Asia, so it was back across the bridge - travelling over (and under) the Bosphorus would become a theme of the rest of the trip!
We were visiting ViaSea, a park set within a marina on the coast overlooking the Sea of Marmara
Sensibly, the guy on the snack stand quickly ducked down to hide as we came past
Before the park opened we had an ERS on Red Fire, their Intamin Blitz coaster
Red Fire has the same layout as iSpeed at Mirabilandia, but benefits from lapbars rather than overhead restraints
The LSM launch powers the train up and over the 180ft tall top hat element ...
... Well that's the theory at least - we managed three rollbacks during the ERS!
After trying a couple of times, the solution was to close off the back row
That worked a lot better and the train made it around - it didn't stop me being lucky enough to experience two rollbacks though!
Making it over the Top Hat
Overall, Red Fire was excellent and a real highlight of the trip
At the end of the ERS, most of us headed over to Sekiz, ViaSea's SBF Visa Spinning Coaster
Lots of spinning
We had a blast!
ViaSea's third rollercoaster is Nautilus Aile Treni (Nautilus Family Train), an Intamin Family Coaster
It was a decent rollercoaster with nice sweeping turns and swooping drops
There was a bizarre rule I never quite got to the bottom of ... the rollercoaster was stopped after every three rides for a mandatory fifteen minute break, but I wasn't clear whether that was for the benefit of the riders or the staff
Standard bumper cars are so boring in comparison to bumper hovercraft
James didn't quite know what he'd let himself in for!
Lunch was at the Bambu Cafe
Is that the waiter?
Discussing the morning's adventures with Mr Rollback
The park provided a very generous lunch
The food was delicious
Alongside the theme park is a large aquarium
Taking a look at the fish
And more fish
An aquarium with armchairs!
Next, we took a trip on Marina Eye, the large observation wheel just outside the park
The Big Cat exhibit was taking delivery of a lion
The theme park is part of the ViaPort marina
There was some serious money parked out on the water
A large parade of shops sat next to the marina
We found a familiar face
Maggy got her ice cream fix
Seeing the lion in his new home, it was time to leave for our next park
Eight miles north of ViaSea and across a heart shaped bridge, is Via/Crazy Park
The park lies adjacent to the Viaport Asia Outlet Shopping Centre, which is owned by the same company as ViaSea
We waited while tickets were sorted out
We had expected there to be two coasters at the park including an unusual spinning big apple coaster.
Unfortunately it turned out that had been removed the previous year, leaving only one rollercoaster to ride ...
... Dragon, a tiny powered kiddie coaster
It was so small that only three of us were allowed to ride at once!
Following that adrenaline filled excursion, it was about time we crossed the Bosphorus again ...
This was quite a common sight in the Istanbul traffic jams: people would wander between the cars selling bottles of water and other goods
Our final stop of the day was the Mall of Istanbul
Inside the mall was MOIPark, a substantial indoor amusement park set over two floors
What happens when you squeeze a load of coaster enthusiasts up a narrow staircase? They turn blue!
Pir Döndü is a Zamperla spinning coaster
It's similar to a normal spinning wild mouse, but the custom layout takes the track all around MOIPark
It was a big hit with all of us!
The park let us re-ride as many times as we wanted, and it turned into an unofficial ERS
Trying out all the different seating combinations trying to get the maximum spin was awesome fun, and one of my favourite trip highlights
MOIPark's other rollercoaster was Çuf Çuf, an SBF Visa kiddie coaster
Was it really that uncomfortable for adults? Yes!
The coaster came complete with ridiculously catchy music which we all ended up singing along to as we went around
I spy a Gloria
A surprise hit was Istanbul Haunted Hotel, a fifteen minute horror attraction in three parts: first a live-action scare maze, then mirror maze, then dark ride finale.
The actors tried very hard to translate the Turkish soundtrack for us and were all round superb, not least the extremely talented and creepy Artun at the front entrance!
The park had already gone out of their way to make us feel welcome, but they then hosted a special dinner for us at a nearby restaurant in the Mall
It turned out to be a full on three course Turkish feast
The coach took us back to the hotel, but that was not quite the end of the night ... I accompanied Ben on a quick trip to pay the deposit at the top secret restaurant that was to host our Final Night Dinner the next day ...
After a madcap taxi ride through the city streets, we arrived at the location
I did have to question exactly where Ben was taking me...
Roof Mezze 360 is one of Istanbul's top restaurants and is situated on the top of a tall hotel building
Check out that view! We'd be back the next day for an enormous feast and a huge celebration...