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Wings Over Bavaria


“You’re very lucky today. The weather today is just magnificent. Because this does not happen very often we’re going to offer you something very special…”

Brad, our guide to Neuschwanstein (not sure of the spelling!) castle says in his distinctive South African accent. We are all eager to know more. I know I am because my senses suddenly become ultra vigilant after a slow morning start of the day.

“…Tandem paragliding is offered by the club there. They just informed me that they’re willing to accompany first-time novices…”

I will go for it. This will give me an extra-curricular purpose for this tightly organized trip: I definitely prefer to do this than going to the alternative venues:  a bike tour and a swim in the legendary Swan Lake. Flying is more adventurous and almost once in a lifetime experience for non-professionals.

Since I don’t not have enough cash, I am driven along with four other volunteers, a Greek couple and a Canadian woman to a nearby ATM point. I withdraw the necessary fee, 100 euros. I balk at the cost, but only briefly.

I gaze at the mountains we are going to jump from. Awesome…and intimidating.

I see some minuscule chutes floating in the skies, spinning around.
We go up by cable car. It’s crammed by people, mostly by gliders- watchers (or human bird watchers?).

Brandt, the guy in charge of my glider (and of my life!) gives me some quick instructions. Basically, to just run down the cliff when his 1-3 countdown is over.

How do you run down a mountain- I wonder.

Then, why am I doing this!

The take off is pretty smooth after a couple of frightful moments while standing on the edge. After jumping into the vacuum, I feel a resistive force lifting me up, along with the coach strapped behind me, up in the airs.
I love the scenery down. The castle, the surrounding lakes, the green mountains and fields…just out of a Lord of the Rings movie.

I can’t stop taking pictures –Bringing my digital camera is one of my few brilliant ideas…This flying thing does not last long for humans. We are going down at the rate of a 1 meter per second. I do not feel it but the altimeter continuously beeping snatches me away from my state of mesmerization.

Afterwards, we hike to the castle. I take snapshots of the waterfalls. Refreshing sight.

I just wish I could take a sip of water to quell my thirst. My hopes are rewarded when we are shown an ancient fountain of fresh cold water on the side of the pathway. Then I see the bridge suspended at a dizzying height. It’s called Mary’s bridge (Mariensbrucke). It must be King Ludwig’s fiancé. The original owner of the castle that inspired Walt Disney and the most famous Bavarian king. Most people think he was just mad. But, as Brad told us that we shouldn’t subscribe to this point of view. The guy was just a romantic fool.

But then so, to may people, are those who jump off a nearby mountain on the back of a stranger’s paraglider.

Travel Information:

The Neuschwanstein tour organizers:
http://www.mikesbiketours.com/neuschwanstein_castle.html

Paragliding is offered by a separate organizer located near the castle.
You just have to ask “mikesbiketours” guide, about it.

The bus ride from the center of Munich, Marientplatz, your departure place to Neuschwanstein castle takes about 90 minutes.

Be sure to have your camera with you, with enough pics, before going up to the mountain.

Brief biography of the author:
Bassem, 34, is a telecommunications engineer whose job takes him all over the world.
During the brief breaks from his hectic schedule he manages to explore the known and unknown areas of the region he’s staying in. When he’s not involved in telecom projects, Bassem returns to his home country , Lebanon.
His email: bfarah_2000@yahoo.com

 


 

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