Justin and I celebrated five years of marriage last month. Five years! Whoa – that seems legit, doesn’t it? My, oh my, how time flies!
Actually, so did we.
To start off our weekend getaway in Switzerland’s Jungfrau Region (think Interlaken) and commemorate five years of wedded bliss, Justin and I did something neither of us has ever done before: tandem paragliding.
Yep. You heard me right, Dad.
We did it – and it was awesome!
We signed up to fly with Airtime Paragliding, a company based in Lauterbrunnen Valley. The Airtime crew had a bit of global hippy vibe, as they were all very relaxed, easy-going, and down to earth. (Pun unintended… and then intended.) I liked that bunch!
The adventure began with a ride by cable car up to Mürren, an iconic Swiss mountainside village. From the station, we walked a short way up to a hilly pasture, where we got some safety instructions and strapped on our paragliding paraphernalia. Justin was flying with a pilot named Sebastian, and I was catching a ride with Dan from New Zealand.
Justin was the first to leave the ground, and as his glider moved around a corner, I faintly heard him say, “I love you, honeeeey!” before he disappeared behind the trees. After a few more adjustments to our gear, Dan was ready to take off. We had hardly taken three steps when our glider caught the wind and took us up, up, and away!
As soon as I was airborne, a flood of emotions hit me like a schizophrenic tidal wave. The sheer exhilaration of flying was so shockingly fun and altogether surprising that I was laughing from the excitement. But just a few seconds later, my joy was pushed aside by suddenly realizing I forgot where Dan said I could put my hands. After fretting about the possibility of accidentally unlocking my safety harness, I took a deep breath and focused on my surroundings instead. Then I settled back into my harness pocket seat and shouted, “This is so cool!”
Truly, paragliding is one of the coolest forms of human transportation. Judging from the smiles on his face when he took control of the glider, I would guess that Justin agrees.
My fears may have been a bit irrational, but of course, paragliding is not without its risks. Yet, I would say if there is one danger that tandem paragliding poses to the average traveler more than anything else, it must be motion sickness. Not falling to your death. Not flying into trees or crashing into mountains. Motion sickness. As you seem to defy gravity by soaring upwards and aroundwards, swaying in the breeze could lead to nausea and an upset stomach. To my pilot’s great relief, I was able to avoid any such embarrassing incidents.
Paragliding over Lauterbrunnen Valley was quite spectacular, and these four aspects contributed to a picture-perfect experience:
1. GOOD AIR
We were lucky. We had great weather and ideal flying conditions, which gave us lots of airtime. Our pilots kept gushing over how many wind thermals we came across on the flight path, and they let those thermals take us up high! At one point, we were flying hundreds of feet above our take off point. (Seems a bit counterintuitive to gain altitude without a motor, doesn’t it?) As a result of such favorable conditions, we had a higher-than-average flight time, which made us feel like we hit the discount jackpot.
2. OUR PILOTS
Sebastian and Dan were really great guys who contributed to a positive flying experience. During my flight, Dan would constantly check on me to make sure I was feeling alright. I really appreciated how he would inform me about each step of our flight, so I knew what to expect and how things were working. His laidback personality and genuine interest in taking me flying was reassuring and comforting.
Given restrictions on loose articles while flying (such as no cameras with removable lenses), our pilots also worked as our photographers. All of the in-flight photos and videos were taken by them, which we were able to purchase after landing.
3. THE LOCATION
We couldn’t have imagined a more beautiful location to go paragliding. The Lauterbrunnen Valley is known as the Valley of the Waterfalls, because 72 of them come rushing off the mountains and down the rock walls. Rising high above the green pastures, the snow-capped peaks of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau reign in majesty over the entire landscape. With blues skies and warm temperatures, we found ourselves in the midst of an idyllic backdrop for a grand outdoor adventure.
4. MY FLYING BUDDY
Paragliding alongside my husband was an exceptional experience that we won’t ever forget. I’m thankful for this man who is ready to join me on such daring escapades.
Paragliding is an incredible activity. It’s exhilarating and peaceful, simultaneously terrifying and altogether enjoyable. I had such a great time paragliding in Lauterbrunnen that I may keep it on my Bucket List so I can do it again!
Hey friends, fans, and followers,
What outdoor adventures do you think Justin and I should try next? Have you ever been paragliding? Have you ever done something that you were afraid of at first? I’d love to hear of your adventures and suggestions, so sound off in the Comment Section below!