I know that it's been around for years, but I've never been to Winter Wonderland before. I've heard so many wonderful things about it, so this year Hubby and I decided to spend a precious weekend not at work visiting.
Initially we were just going to have a wander around, but after browsing the website I convinced Hubby that we should go to the Magical Ice Kingdom, there's something awe-inspiring about ice sculptures and I loved the idea of getting to see lots of them.
I'm going to be controversial here and say that I hated Winter Wonderland. Maybe it was exceptionally busy when we went but we could hardly move. We just shuffled around squeezed next to all the other stressed, squashed people being repeatedly bashed into by buggies. I have a bit of an issue with dense crowds so it was probably worse for me than most, but I definitely won't be going back.
Although I was incredibly stressed by all the pushing and shoving, there were some lovely bits to our day. The first thing I do when I'm feeling out of sorts is to eat, so that's what we did. I had a mahoosive spicy bratwurst topped with sauerkraut. It was almost enough to make me forget how grumpy all the people made me. It was also nice and warming to stand near the giant BBQ and warm up my cold fingers.
After eating we decided to browse some stalls and find the Winter Wonderland. Fat chance of being able to get close enough to any of the stalls, so we shuffled along, caught in the current of the crowd until we reached the Magical Kingdom of Ice.
I'd brought nice warm gloves and put on two pairs of socks to keep my toes warm. The Magical Kingdom of Ice is a giant refrigerated tent full of ice sculptures. The first few sculptures were some lovely fairytale-esque wild animals and fairy houses made of snow. They were like something from Enid Blyton's imagination.
After that it all got a little bit dark. Scary trolls and goblins wealding weapons were gathering around, back lit in eerie colours.
Next was an Ice Castle. The ice castle contained an ice dungeon with little ice rats, stocks, a prison cell and a head chopping block! The most exciting way out was to climb the castle and slide down the big ice slide. (I felt like a massive kid doing this, but why should they have all the fun?!)
The way out had some more fairytale sculptures that were better suited to my tastes than scary goblins and a dungeon. There was a frog prince, a majestic lion and beautiful swans swimming across an ice lake.
There was even a mini-ice bar almost at the exit, but unfortunately they didn't have any hot chocolate ready and there was no way that I could manage a cold drink. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of hot chocolate, but the free stollen and gingerbread on the way out more than made up for it.
Needing a bit of warming up we headed to try some mulled cider by Koppaberg. Not being able to choose (an eternal dilemma that Hubby and I have) we picked an apple and a mixed fruit. Both were delicious. In a stroke of luck I preferred the mixed fruit which was headily scented with clove while Hubby was a fan of the apple. It was also a lovely touch being able to have a real mug when so many places had paper cups.
After Winter Wonderland we stopped for some noodles and hopped back on the train home, squished, exhausted, but happy.