Let's run off the side of a mountain and hope we catch wind....

Interlaken Travel Blog

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Interlaken, Switzerland

September 27th:

                Today I went paragliding!  I ran run off the side of a mountain and prayed that a bunch of nylon connected to some rope would catch wind!  I had signed up with Outdoor Interlaken to head up in the early afternoon, when the wind would be most favorable for a longer “flight.”  I met up with the van and discovered I was the only person meeting downtown, so I rode up the mountain with the driver and 3 pilots.  We picked up 2 more guys half-way up, to bring the grand total to 3 of us.  My co-pilot was going to be Simon—half the time he works in IT the other half he jumps off mountains.  He was pretty cool and very reassuring that there was nothing to be concerned about.  It’s not like I was scared or anything, maybe just a little hesitant.  He explained that we would start out running—slow at first and then we would speed up.  We would go airborne for a brief moment, but we need to keep running, as we’ll touch land again.  Simon and I went second behind Jose from Costa Rica.  Pretty much it’s one of those things where you take off running and don’t look back.  Next thing you know you’re gliding through the air for 20 minutes.  Interlaken from the air is amazing.  You see the teal green water of the River Aare between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, while surrounded by the mountains.  Simon and I made landfall in the park in the center of town.  When we got down, I looked up and saw that there were about 20 paragliders in the air.  I was glad there were only a couple of us when we went, mainly for the sense of security knowing that I wasn’t trying share air space with a lot of other people. 

                I decided to pay for the pictures that Simon had taken while we were in the air.  They cost about 30 CFH, but I figured it was worth it.  I didn't take as many pictures as I could have eventhough I knew my camera was securely attached to me, I never had the comfort level to use it more than a couple of times.  You have the option to either decide before you jump to have pictures taken or not, or you can have them take pics and decide once you land and look at them.  I chose the later. 

                I opted not to go canyon-jumping, mainly because it would take up the rest of my day and I still wanted to get some hiking in.  I headed back to the hostel to see if anyone was up for a hike and Michael, my roommate from the past couple of nights was game, so we trekked to Lake Brienz, explored some old ruins and then made our way back to town with the hope of finding a place that showed American football on TV.  We struck out on the last goal, but thanks to the internet, we were able to enjoy some drinks and follow the games online.  We would both be heading out the next morning, he to Venice and I to Berchtesgaden. 

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photo by: sherryshakarob