Paragliding over Interlaken, Switzerland

Paragliding over Interlaken throughout winter (c) Mike Kaufmann

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

So stated inventor and polymath Leonardo da Vinci, who was fascinated by the phenomenon of flight, and sketched the plans for the primary ever parachute some 500 years in the past.

Things have moved on a bit since then, and now it’s attainable to soar by the air a whole bunch of metres above floor with solely a harness and a material wing to maintain you afloat. The better part: it’s attainable to do at virtually any age, whether or not you’re 9 or ninety.

This is because of tandem flights, through which an skilled paragliding teacher pilots the paraglider, whereas the “passenger” sits again, relaxes and enjoys the view.

Paragliding over Interlaken

I used to be one such fortunate passenger on a flight over the resort city of Interlaken, which straddles the glacier-fed lakes of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz in Switzerland. This once-holiday resort of rich Victorians seeking relaxation and leisure now attracts adrenaline junkies and vacationers hoping for a dose of journey.

While there are many actions on supply, from kayaking to mountain biking, Interlaken’s hottest journey pursuit is paragliding.

This was to be my second tandem flight, having first flown over the Dolomites in Northern Italy as a younger teenager. I used to be excited to attempt once more as an grownup, now that I’ve extra of an appreciation for an exquisite mountain view.

Fabulous views over Interlaken

We arrived at Paragliding Interlaken mid-morning on an ideal, clear day in early January. The solar shone by the odd cloud, casting an exquisite yellow glow throughout the city and surrounding mountain peaks. Those of us sporting inappropriate footwear grabbed a pair of strolling boots from the shelf and we boarded the bus to Amisbuel, close to the city of Beatenberg, round 800m above the city.

We had been then launched to our paragliding instructors, all of whom are educated and licensed by the Swiss Hang Gliding Association. My teacher, Drew, who hails from Cornwall and first began paragliding in South Korea has accomplished greater than 10,000 flights.

“After thee summers in New Zealand I came over to Interlaken for a summer season and was immediately blown away with the mountains and the possibilities here,” Drew Told me. “I have flown all over the world but Interlaken is definitely up there with the best views.”

We had been then kitted up in our harness and brought by a security briefing. The major level was to not take out or telephones, as dropping one mid-flight may have catastrophic penalties ought to it fall on somebody beneath.

If you’re involved there received’t be any images to recollect your journey by then concern not. Drew had a go-pro on a stick and took quite a few images and movies all through the flight. He even received me to perform a little interview and insisted I sat hello to my mum.

As we ready for lift-off, helmet on head and telephone firmly zipped up in my boat pocket I used to be shaking with anticipation. We then began working down a hill with our teacher in tow till our paraglider caught the wind and took flight. I used to be in a cushty seated place and felt very safe.

The subsequent 12 minutes glided by in an exquisite blur. We floated gently alongside the mountain’s edge, with the lakes and city in full view. I seemed right down to see pine bushes beneath my toes and one other glider descending to my proper. Drew even let me take management of the paraglider for a minute or so – it’s vital to keep away from turning an excessive amount of as this accelerates the descent.

After eight minutes or so of flying, the true enjoyable started. Drew carried out a collection of electrifying turns, which included a managed spin known as a helicopter flip. I needed to suppress my squeals of enjoyment, and this was one among my favorite components of the flight.

A mild touchdown (c) Lucy Woods

As we ready to land, my solely job was to face up as we reached the bottom. Interlaken has a big, open house for paraglider landings, and our’s was much less bumpy than I used to be anticipating.

The entire expertise was implausible, and I actually loved the combo of the good views and high-octane turns.

Fact Box

Flight length: Flights often take between 8 and 20 minutes relying on the climate situations. You may also go for the “double time” flight at an extra value.

How a lot: Prices begin at CHF 50. You can obtain a duplicate of the images (through direct obtain to your telephone or on a reminiscence stick) for CHF 32 or CHF 40 for images and movies. The present change charge £1 = CHF 1.26.

Where to keep: The Beatus Wellness- & Spa Hotel is positioned on the facet of Lake Thun and has some spectacular wellness amenities together with an out of doors 35°C pool, indoor pool and 7 totally different saunas. You may also hire rowing boats and pedalos.

Getting there: SWISS offers more than 150 weekly flights from London City, Heathrow, Gatwick (seasonal), Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh to Zurich and Geneva.

The Swiss Travel Pass gives limitless journey on consecutive days all through the rail, bus and boat Swiss Travel System community. This consists of all rail transfers and native buses. Interlaken is a 2-hour prepare from Zurich and 2-hours 40 minutes from Geneva.

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