Tibidabo and the Montaña Rusa

When I took spanish in High School, I really didn’t learn a whole lot.. It was my fault, I didn’t really care at the time, I was taking the class because I had to have language credit. I wish I had paid more attention and learned more, but like so many things from my youth, it is what it is, hindsight is always 20/20.

20 years after those classes I had retained about 10 words in spanish. One of those words was how to say the word Roller Coaster in spanish. It’s easy Montaña Rusa. Why I remember that specific word, I really don’t know, but it’s been with me for 20 years. My friends in high school (who still remain friends) have always made fun of the fact that I took so strongly to that word. It’s useless. They always told me that I would never have to use that word, and sadly, I agreed. But it’s always been part of my very limited spanish vocabulary.


Last week, I got to prove my friends wrong. It was awesome. Our second day in Spain, the Kahn’s took us to Tibidabo. Tibidabo is an amusement park at the top of the mountain in Barcelona. The journey there was as fun as the actual park. We walked for a few miles toward the mountain and got on a Finicular. The funicular is a tram that takes you straight up the mountain. The kids (and I) loved it. From there, we took a bus to the park. The views from the top of the mountain were stunning. You could see all of Barcelona.

The amusement park was really fun. It was a simple amusement park, not huge, but certainly large enough that we didn’t hit every ride. After a few rides, the kids decided they wanted to try out the roller coaster.

Tibidabo is on a hill, so it’s filled with a lot of paths and levels. Rides overlook other rides, and it’s a small maze to get around. And, of course, every directional sign is in spanish. Looking at the words on the signs meant nothing to anyone in our group as amusement park rides are not part of our vocabulary, but I had a moment of delight when I recognized the words Montaña Rusa. HEY! This is the way to the roller coaster! It was a little moment, but a moment I’ll never forget. After 20 years of knowing one of the most useless words in spanish, I was able to guide us to the roller coaster. I felt proud 🙂

The rest of the day at Tibidabo was really fun. We went on quite a few rides, ate one of the most disgusting meals (how do you ruin a hamburger and hot dog?) and enjoyed the company of the Kahns.

I think the highlights were the bumper cars, the log ride and the roller coaster.


We also enjoyed getting into a human sized “dryer” to dry off after a plunge down the log ride. Can’t say I’ve ever seen anything like that before. It was a combination of heat lamps and fans that did a pretty good job actually of drying us off.

After a full day at Tibidabo, we made the journey back to the Kahns’ and got ready for an adult night on the town.




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