Why? Short answer: I enjoy arbitrary challenges.
Long answer: it all started in November 2016 where whilst on an off season holiday to Southend, me and my partner visited the bowling alley there (unfortunately now closed), which was the same chain (now mostly collapsed) as the one I used to work for. At that moment, I thought 'wouldn't it be cool to visit them all'? At first this meant all in the chain, but then decided that that wasn't enough, so set the challenge of just visiting them all! These are centres open to the public, because there are some in RAF bases and C£nt£r Parc$, though those are not publicly accessible. I would love to bowl in them at some stage though, should the opportunity arise.
|Receipt from MFA Bowl Southend, Nov. 2016|
My rules are that for it to 'count' and be awarded a line on my spreadsheet with a score out of ten, is that I must have had to play at least one game there. I like to play three though, as bowling is really quite moreish and one is never enough. If you play, you probably already know that! I think I have photos from all of them so far and keep the receipts, too.
On holiday to Sweden mid June this year, a trip to a football match took us East of the country to Bromölla, a small town with a population of just 7.5k a bit further to the right (if you look at a map) from Kristianstad. Not only does it boast the world’s largest mosaic fountain 'Scanisaurus', but also and perhaps more importantly(?) an eight lane bowling alley, situated beneath Böckmans Cafe.
On the steps down from the cafe, I could tell it was going to be something quite special, because of the bowling themed art on the walls:
As with any new bowling centre visited, you never quite know what you're going to get when you arrive. I don't like to do a lot of research before visiting one, because a) I like it to be a surprise and b) I'm going to visit it regardless at some point, so it doesn't really matter what it's like! I often do a quick search on the web or socials beforehand to check that it is actually a 'proper' centre, as opposed to an arcade style one with half size balls etc. (I don't count those), but other than confirming this, then I wait and see...
As you come down the steps and enter the bowl, the lanes are to the left and on the right are coat hooks and a changing bench. The music was mostly Bon Jovi and other 80s rock, which made a nice change than the usual chart music. Straight ahead was the reception/ bar rolled into one and a little past that there were some arcade or gambling machines. Not the noisy chaotic type, but more understated ones, such as bandits and the like. The place was deserted besides the receptionist and a what looked like a league bowler (due to his shirt) occupying one of the machines.
Despite a slight language barrier, we were able to communicate that we would like a lane for one hour. This cost us 150kr, approximately thirteen British pounds. Excellent value for money, especially with the fact that we managed to fit in four games in the hour. Alcohol and cold soft drinks were served downstairs, though I don't drink, so we got coffees from the cafe upstairs and were permitted to take them into the bowl. These were also refillable!
The lane was in great condition, though the Brunswick equipment provided us with a few lane faults (dodgy eight pin). The faults were quickly amended by the receptionist and it didn't ruin our time there, despite slightly interrupting our flow.
This is the type of bowling alley which really reminds me why I love visiting different centres and doing what I'm doing. It's so refreshing to go to independent ones like this and makes a change from the identikit chain bowls.
|Score sheet print out.|
Unfortunately my name was written as 'Fiona' instead of Flora, which wasn't able to be changed.