Searching for Adrenaline in Interlaken, Switzerland

17 Apr

ImageThings you think about after booking a trip to Interlaken, Switzerland would include eating chocolate, eating rosti, crystal clear lakes, and of course the stunning sights of the nearby city of Zurich. Most importantly however, and the main reason why I booked my trip to Interlaken, was to feel that rush of adrenaline as my body propels toward the ground from a small bridge type contraption attached to me by only a lousy piece of old rope. The entire 8 hour bus ride from Florence to Interlaken was spent dreaming about that moment when I could run and jump off the platform for the famed Interlaken canyon jump. As soon as the bus pulled up to our hostel my friend and I ran to the sports shop where we could book the many adrenaline inducing activities we planned to indulge ourselves in for the weekend… we waited in line, each passing minute getting us more pumped for the jump. When it was finally our turn the funky Australian (why are adrenaline junkies always Australian?) behind the counter gave us the news  that we failed to incorporate into our plans for the weekend. The news that, no, despite all the giggle fits and day dreaming, we would not be canyon jumping that day, or any day that weekend in good old Interlaken. It was unseasonably warm that weekend and the falling ice from the mountain made it too too dangerous for anyone to make the jump. I imagine the grief I felt at that moment to feel like it would if my newborn young were to be ripped from my hands and eaten by a small lion after having birthed it. WHY WAS THIS HAPPENING?! Why did the universe want to ruin my plans for the weekend and keep my feet firmly planted on the ground?

Being the tenacious little sport that I am, I refused to give up on my dreams of a racing heart and sweaty palms. “Fine.” I said, “What else can I do to turn this weekend around?”. “Well there’s also paragliding” the dream shatterer responded. “fine, book it”.

A few hours later, I found myself hiking up a snow covered mountain with a tiny Swiss man who would be my pilot for the flight. As he strapped me up and tied my camera safely to my little harness he gave me directions on how to help him get us off the ground. “When I say go, just run as fast as you can, straight ahead, don’t stop running until we’re off the ground”, I looked over to where he was pointing and I see the rest of the mountain, then air, and a view of Interlaken from a few thousand feet up. “So we’re basically just running off this mountain and hoping the wind will catch our sails?”, “well”, he said, “I guess you can put it that way if you’d like”.

I wasn’t nervous hiking up and I wasn’t particularly nervous at that point but the more I started to think about what I was actually planning on doing, the more I thought that I might be a little kookier then I had originally calculated. I was about to run off a fucking mountain with a tiny swiss man strapped to my back. The words, “ready? Go!” snatched me from my day dream and I began to run as fast as I could. I saw the now tiny looking city of Interlaken come into view from the ledge of the cliff and a few moments later I felt my boots lift from the snow and the sail of our glider fill up with air.. we were officially paragliding.

Since I am not afraid of heights the rush of jumping off a cliff didn’t last long when I realized there would be no free fall afterwords, I asked my little pilot if we could do something a bit more exciting. As he swooshed us around and we started falling faster to the ground I finally felt the feeling I had traveled 8 hours on a disgusting, smelly bus for. ADRENALINE. Yippee!! After a few more swooshes and some time to take pics, we were back on the ground. Boots placed safely back where they belonged.

I considered my first time paragliding a success, checking off another activity from my newly refurbished bucket list. After a great weekend in Interlaken, I decided that leaving Switzerland without canyon jumping is just unacceptable and maybe even sacrilegious so my bucket list now reads “visit Interlaken twice, once in winter, once in summer.” Hah! Take that Switzerland, you can’t stop me!

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