Munich Travel Blog› entry 52 of 59 › view all entries
July 14th, 2007 – by: rawepower
Another company employee is an avid paraglider (he has a license and his own equipment) and had arranged tandem trips for both John and I off one of the highest mountains in that stretch of the Alps. I soon found out that this was actually the best tandem rides that you can do pretty much anywhere. And the most beautiful.
I admit I was excited, but pretty daggum nervous as we drove up the base of the mountain where the facility was. The mountain was very tall, to say the least (it was about a 1000 meter drop in all) and I had never done anything like this, though I had always wanted to. We had plenty of time to wait around in the little paragliding "shop", which just gave us more time to be nervous! But also excited.
I was really surprised (in a good way) when all I had to do was sign my name on a sheet of signatures and then was given the gear to head off with my instructor to the cable car that took us to the top of the mountain. There was no safety video, no stack of paperwork, just a little "sign-in" sheet where I read a sentence and signed my name. A pleasant change to the lawsuit-ridden land of America!
The ride up on the cable car to the top was a little nerve-wracking but pretty cool. Kind of like when you ride a chair lift at a ski resort and are looking down at the hardcore slope you're about to go down. When we got to the top, there were plenty other paragliders taking off, including an older woman in her 60s and a teenager. Couldn't be that bad?
I was definitely getting excited as my instructor put on the parachute and all the gear.
Unfortunately right as I got into take-off position, the wind died down and we had to wait a few minutes. So there I am, on the edge of the cliff, in a sprinting position, with my legs shaking as I wait for the queue to go. Finally my instructor told me to take off and off we went! I ran down to the edge of the cliff and was even into the tree line below before we were fully airborne, but one we were, it was amazing! I cannot describe to you how amazing it was, but it was definitely one of the most incredible things I've ever done! It was great to have all this adventure in one weekend as I was craving it after all the museum visits and concerts.
Flying over the Alps and Bavarian countryside was absolutely beautiful. And my instructor practically did all the work! It's like when you're flying in an airplane and look out the window and wish you had a 360 degree view because we did! I could see all around me and it was amazing. Another funny thing was that there was a lot of moisture in the air making it less visible. I explained to my instructor that where I was from, Atlanta, we have that but it's much worse and it's from smog and pollution.
We flew up around other mountains and cliffs, over the Bavarian castles and lakes we biked around yesterday, before finally landing in a cow pasture near the mountian base. The ride was over all too soon! I cannot describe how wonderful the whole experience was.
After putting up all our gear, John and I had some time to kill so we went to one of the nearby lakes with the pure water and swam around. The water was really cold! But you could literally see your whole body and the bottom of the lake- the clearest water I've ever seen.
By then it was time for the personal driver to pick us up again and take us back to Munich, where we would meet some other guys from Tech and hang out for the rest of the night. We met up with them and it was about time for dinner. I wasn't hungry so I split off from the group and went up to the Olympic park to check it all out (I've said before how I am very interested in all things Olympic).
I walked around the housing and saw where the hostage had been (kind of eerie).
I then wandered back into town on the S-Bahn and met up with guys at the famous Haufbrahaus. I've been to the one in America that's in Cincinnati, and the real thing was (of course) much better. It's a huge beer garden that's full of people just enjoying life. I got a beer for the sake of the experience (it was ok- still don't like the taste). By the time we got done there, they stopped by a bar, but I was ready for bed- long day! And we had a morning flight back to London.
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