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Published: July 12th 2013
On the mountain
The mountain before I paraglided
Woke up that day feeling nervous because in a few hours I would be flying off the ground in a parachute and that terrified me because I am scared of heights. People were talking about the masked party the night before at the bar which was apparently a lot of fun. Some back story, Venice is known for its Masks which allowed in the old days people of nobility and peasants to go to parties. So last night's parties people had bought masks in Venice and wore them to the party.
The bus left fairly early that morning because we had a long ride to Austria and we had to be there shortly after noon for the optionals. We were just pulling out when I realized I had left my jacket which had my passport in it back at the cabin. After a mad dash to the cabin and back again we were off.
Long drive but we had stops as well. Italian rest stops are mostly places called Autogrill which are restaurants, shopping and convenience stores. We left Italy and entered Austria and I was getting nervous especially looking at the Austrian hills and knowing I had to
jump off them at some point. I had already put my name down on the optional list so I was going. The other optionals for Austria was mountain biking and Skydiving. Finally we made it to Pension Marliesenhof which is a bed and breakfast. It was 6 people to a room but the rooms were really nice and the beds the most comfortable I had on the tour. Roommates for the night were Ken, Gillon, David, Stephen, and MJ.
After dropping off my stuff I rushed downstairs because I wanted to get the paragliding started. I made it onto the first van with Stephen, Rachael, Megan Campbell, and Kelsey. We made our way to the base of the hill where we took a cable car up the hill. It was actually a long cable car ride and we kept going higher and higher. It was nerve racking in the cable car and I wanted out but knowing it would be embarrassing going down at that point kept me going.
When we got to the top of the hill I met my tandem partner and glad he looked competent and experienced. Rachael and Megan Campbell went first and breathing
Feels just like flying
hard I followed instructions and took 2 hard steps forward and the parachute was and up and I started running. 4 or 5 steps later I was suddenly in the air and flying. I shouted to the people still on the ground this was AWESOME. I can't stress enough how great paragliding is. I could see the town below me and even some planes flying nearby, 2 of which were lower than I was. I would learn later that the skydiving group actually saw us paragliding. 15 - 20 minutes of flying with so many twists and turns we landed in a field. I was felt so impressed with my flight I even tipped my guy 20 Pounds (out of Euros). Walking away from the field we were all feeling pretty good and Kelsey mentioned with to that it was the best feeling in the world and the paragliding leader answered with a colourful remark that I won't put down in this blog.
We had actually missed our drop zone and we had to wait near a manure field which apparently was our actual drop zone. We ran into a few other people going up for their turn. At
Me, Stephen, Kelsey, Megan Campbell, Rachael
this point in the tour I had spoken to everyone on the bus but did not know everyone's name. I finally learned the last person's name by finding out the lady I was speaking to in the manure field was named Katie. She was mildly offended that I did not know her name even thought she knew mine. I offered my apologies but did not mention that I had used nicknames to sort people out before I learned their names.
Got back to the B&B and realized I was out of Euros completely. Kelsey was nice enough to buy me a piece a cake (thanks). I went into town after that and got some money out of the ATM. I wandered around the town with Patrina, Zakiyya, and Stephen. It was really dead in town probably because it was a Sunday but there was also some kind of festival in town. We made it back in time for dinner which was barbecue. Before dinner we had our tour photo. Took awhile for the photographer to get us in place but I did end up buying one.
Bbq dinner was a tasty steak, vegetables and rolls and I so
wanted to feed this cute dog but refrained. I got a beer to go with it and I will say Germans know how to make beer. I followed up dinner with a game of poker with Mike our driver, Zakiyya, Rachael and Kelly. It was a friendly game and lucky for me it was because I was eliminated fairly quickly. As it turns out Kelly is a poker shark and handily won the game. We followed up with a game of Snap and Go Fish. Took a while to win a hand at Snap because the beer was still working its way through my system.
Spent the rest of the evening chatting with some people in the hallways before calling it a night. Paragliding was the highlight of my trip. For someone who is terrified of heights flying through the air is the ultimate challenge. I am so glad I did it and I will say to everyone who is afraid of heights this was so worth it.
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