There’s been one item kicking around on my bucket list for quite a while now that I’ve been pretty eager to tick off – in fact I’ve been wanting to do it since I first saw it in Turkey when I was 14…paragliding.
I’m not quite sure what the fascination with paragliding is for me – I guess it just looks really exciting yet really peaceful at the same time if that makes sense?! And lets face it everyone would love to be able to fly!
So when I got the opportunity to give it a go whilst in Switzerland I jumped at the chance and headed to Interlaken to hit the skies!
Interlaken is nestled an hour or so from Zurich and is pretty much the best place to head in Switzerland if you want to get your fix of adrenaline – snowboarding, paragliding, white water rafting, skydiving….it caters for everything.
It’s also an amazing picturesque little place, full of charm and nestled between two lakes and bordered by snow capped mountains – perfect for a scenic flight!
My pilot for the day was Dave from Swiss Paragliding & Adventure, with 10 years flying experience and over 6,000 flights under his belt it’s safe to say I was in good hands!
Facing My Fears
The whole setup for paragliding was actually alot faster that I expected and after a quikc drive up into the mountains to the launch site it didn’t take long for the parachute to be unravelled and for me to get all harnessed up.
I’ll admit now that I was bricking it – I’m terrified of heights and the thought of running of a cliff attached to some Swiss dude I’d only just met had me rather nervous!
However Dave ran me through everything and distracted me enough with some good conversation that before I knew it we were getting ready for take off!
What surprised me was with all the adrenaline going through me as we ran towards the edge as soon as the harness took my weight and we left solid ground I felt immediately at ease and relax – it was super comfy and I felt super safe.
Dave described it perfectly saying that paragliding was like falling in love – you get all nervous and giddy in anticipation then everything just feels right and natural!
From then on in it was a case of sitting back and taking in the spectacular views. We rode the air currents around the mountain and over the town below us and Dave snapped away some shots of the whole thing while I busted out my GoPro and got some of my own also.
Paragliding was a whole new experience for me and I must admit I’m hooked on the feeling of flying – and I was stoked throughout the 30 minute flight.
Towards the end of our time in the air Dave got some steep banking on the go, and go the adrenaline pumping once more as we twirled and circled down into the town itself, brushing over the building and people below.
Then came the landing – something I hadn’t quite thought through but luckily something that was super easy and Dave handled like a true pro – you literally have to hit the ground running before slowing down and letting the canopy descend! Easy as!
Pumped off the whole experience Dave burned me a CD of my shots there and then and we had a chat about how he got into it all and what not – turns out he did his pilots ticket in NZ where I’m heading next year…and it’s already got me thinking about the possibility of doing it myself!
Put It On The Bucket List!
If you get the opportunity to hit the air on a tandem paragliding flight I highly recommend it – especially somewhere as beautiful as Switzerland and Interlaken.
Tandem flights with Swiss Paragliding & Adventure start at 180CHF for a 20minute flight and run year round – in fact Daves recently uploaded some awesome pics to their Facebook Fanpage of the first snowy flight of the year and it looks incredible, and their 2012 promo video will give you a good taste of whats in store too.
For more information check out the Swiss Paragliding & Adventure webpage and as an added bonus they’ve offered BackpackerBanter.com readers 5% off any flight package – on their booking page simply quote the code;
**Please Note – I received a complimentary flight with Swiss Paragliding & Adventure but all opinions remain honest and my own**