By Katie Sanford
I have always been the person to watch videos of base jumpers, skydivers, hang gliders, etc. with the urge to follow in their steps. I could watch videos for hours and quickly add each adventure to my endless bucket list. However, like many people, as exciting as these activities seemed, they also seemed so out of reach. Honestly, I never thought hang gliding was an activity that “normal” people could even participate in. Then, I heard of Bus2alps. Driven by my wanderlust, I booked 3 trips all at once, one of which was Interlaken. Looking at the thousands of pictures of the incredible adventures awaiting in Interlaken, I couldn’t stop myself from finally having the opportunity I never expected I could have!
3 weeks later I woke up to the sun rising over the Alps at Balmer’s Hostel in Interlaken, Switzerland. Today I was going hang gliding with Bumblebee Hang gliding. The day before I went bungee jumping with a huge group of people, but nothing could beat the excitement I had to fly over the Alps. However, this time I was going alone. I met at the Outdoor Interlaken store, right next to my hostel, at about 9am to meet the guides who would help me soar. Due to clouds in the sky, the hang gliding extravaganza was slightly delayed so we hung out in a coffee shop where my guides, some locals, and I watched a rugby game. This hour was, in fact, one of my most favorite moments in Interlaken. As the locals excitedly taught me the rules of rugby, by the end of it they had me jumping up and down for their New Zealand team. This was the first real and organic exposure I got by this quaint town where everyone seems to know everyone. Then, too soon, the clouds cleared and I loaded into a car with other students and we began our way up the mountains. The drive itself was beautiful and the guides told us all about their crazy lives and jobs. Naturally, I asked for an application.
At the top of the mountain, the fear was supposed to set in but the guides had done such a good job of explaining everything I could only feel the excitement. Faster than I could expect, I was attached to my instructor and standing in front of the runway, this was it.
We started running and as soon as we went off the ledge, we soared right over the plummets below. Before this moment, I had never been so taken away from what I was seeing. Under me was the most beautiful scenery I had experienced and I was in awe.
Hang Gliding gives the thrill of speed but the beauty and amazement of the long ride which is what makes it so individually breathtaking from other similar activities. One of my most vivid memories is holding my hands straight out like a bird with the wind under my arms right when I went over the mountains.
I will never forget this moment where I could see the world in a light I could never comprehend again! Switzerland was the perfect place to do this because of the incredible views and amazing people. I know what it’s like to fly now!
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