Running off a cliff into the clouds – Tyrol, Austria

 

Me smiling while paragliding through the clouds in Austria with beautiful bright green rolling hills down below

If you’re a bit of an adrenalin junkie like me, then the idea of paragliding is actually relaxing. However, I can totally understand why some of you think I’m crazy…wait, that IS the reason, right? So, when an opportunity to run off the edge of a cliff into a complete white-out presented itself, I jumped at the chance (pun intended! hehe).

I woke up that morning, completely relaxed, surrounded by the spectacular Austrian Alps – I could totally get used to that view.  Even though it was the middle of summer, due to the elevation here, this part of town was still mighty fresh. With my hoodie on and my camera in hand, my friend and I were ready to jump on the chair lift and head up through the clouds to the top of the mountain in the distance.

My amazing Contiki roommate, Hilary and smiling with arms around each other while standing at the base of the chair lift heading up into the clouds above the green mountain where we went paragliding

Looking down the green rolling hills shrouded in soft white clouds and mist where we were going to paraglide

 

 

We met our instructors and suited up. This was my first time paragliding, and I just couldn’t wait! I had previously done parasailing in Bali, which is the same sort of thing, but you’re floating from a parachute while attached to the back of a speed boat, not running off a cliff. I’ve since been paragliding in the beautiful town of Interlaken in Switzerland too. These spectacular European countries are even more stunning when viewed from the sky.

Cute little mountain goat walking around the cloudy top of the mountain where we went paragliding

 

One by one, we watched the parachutes disappear into the clouds below. It was a little daunting, the fact that you could barely make out some tree silhouettes in the distance through the thick white-out clouds that lay before us. But, I figured, these guys do this for a living, they know what they’re doing. 1, 2, 3…RUN! With the parachute beginning to lift off the ground behind me, it was getting harder to run forward towards the edge of the cliff. As we reached the drop off, the parachute took flight and we floated through the crisp air into the clouds.

Silhouetted trees barely visible through the cloud cover with two colourful paragliders running off the cliff with another paraglider in the foreground getting ready

Silhouetted trees barely visible through the cloud cover

A paraglider waving before the colourful parachute in the foreground lifted up and they ran off the edge of the cliff into the clouds

Running off a cliff into the clouds – Paragliding in Austria

Paragliding through the clouds is definitely less painful than skydiving through the clouds. Rain clouds feel like needles on your skin at 200 kilometres per hour! Anyway, back to serenity… Once we’d floated through the thick layer of clouds, the spectacular scenery opened up before my eyes. Austria is just so green! Everything looked perfect and I definitely didn’t want to come down. Nothing beats getting a bird’s-eye-view, in my opinion. It’s just something we don’t get to experience in everyday life, and that’s what makes it all the more special.

Amazing views of green rolling hills and little terracotta houses in the distance with clouds while paragliding Austria

Amazing views of green rolling hills and little terracotta houses in the distance with clouds while paragliding Austria

Colourful paragliders coming in for landing on bright green grass with trees and mountains in the distance shrouded in clouds

 

 

 

My cheeky instructor decided to pull some G’s by swinging the parachute from side to side, as well as flying quite close to the tree tops to get the adrenalin going. We eventually came to a soft landing in a lush green field in the Austrian Tyrol. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start my day.

Have you been paragliding before? Where in the world would you recommend I go paragliding next?

Paragliding was an optional activity booked in Austria while I was on the Ultimate European + Egypt Tour with Contiki, in 2012.

Me smiling while hanging from a parachute while paragliding through the clouds in Austria

Paragliding through the clouds in Austria

Leave a Reply