Paragliding over Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm in German) was one of the highlights of my entire year! It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and it almost didn’t happen….
The dark clouds were ominous as I walked towards the edge of the cliff. I felt a raindrop, then another one. I looked to the clouds looking for a clearing – any clearing, no matter how small. Our intrepid group of bloggers, (Simon, Cheryl, Christoph, Marguerite and Leah) arrived at our would be launch pad, on a hill with a steep drop off into the valley. We were greeted by our pilots, who were in deep discussion. They were concerned about the weather conditions. The wind has to be just right for paragliding and you definitely don’t want to be paragliding if there’s any chance of lightning. They debated….. I held my breath in anticipation. I had waited my entire life for this and was THISCLOSE to paragliding. I decided to only think positive thought as I put on my paragliding coat and harness. Suddenly, there was a break in the clouds, a small ray of sunshine broke through. It wasn’t much, but it was enough. Quick, let’s go, before it’s too late, my pilot urged me in German. I was going to be the first one to go. I hadn’t anticipated this. I wanted to watch someone else go first, but there was no time to lose. I explained that while I spoke some German, I wasn’t fluent, and asked what the most important thing I needed to know was. Run as fast as you can, came the reply in German. I ran as the edge of the cliff came nearer… I continued to run…only a couple of steps further…but there was no time for hesitation, so I ran..until I was no longer running…but flying.
I WAS FLYING! I WAS ACTUALLY TANDEM PARAGLIDING!
The thrill of jumping off the cliff vanished and I was now relaxed and in awe (much how I am while shark diving). I soared over the valley, finally knowing what the world below looks like to a bird when he’s flying. Heck I might even have attempted to flap my arms to mimic a bird’s wings had I been alone. Are you ready for some fun?, my pilot asked in German as the ground came closer. Of course I was! We started circling closer and closer to the ground. My stomach started doing flip-flops, but the good kind. Closer and closer we came. Keep your legs straight out in front of you for landing came the next instruction. I did as I was told anticipating a rough landing and more than a little concerned about an old knee injury. We hit the ground, but gentler than I had expected and the landing was less than 3 seconds. I felt a rain drop, then another one. I unhooked myself from the harness, thanked my pilot for getting me to ground safely and fist pumped the air with a huge grin on my face.
I had done it! I had paraglided over Alpe di Siusi – just before a huge downpour.
I gave a silent thank you to the weather gods for cooperating.