Monday, July 18, 2011

Planes, Paragliders, Trains and Automobiles

Yes, I am still travelling. I had the most amazing stay in Switzerland with some great Friends. Thanks Anders and Susanne and the yet to be named child that has yet to arrive. Yes Susanne is due to have a baby tomorrow. I stayed in what will be the babies room so fittingly I slept like a baby in the room. I arrived on Monday night after many trains across 3 countries and a plane from Madrid. Susanne was there when I arrived as a South African family reassured me that if I could not find Anders and Susanne I was more than welcome to stay in there hotel room....haha. People are so nice sometimes it amazes me. I had many great conversations with the family as it turns out they were standing behind me when I arrived at the train desk in Munich and thought to themselves what a poor guy carrying all those bags and looking so tired.
So arriving at the pad in Interlacken to a very warm evening all I could think was maybe not being at the Worlds was not going to be so bad. One beer and then two beers and then SLEEP. I went to sleep at midnight and woke up at 10:30 the next morning not having woken up even once all night. Anders jokingly wondered whether I had actually died in his babies room.
Anders is a full time tandem pilot and does between 6- 10 tandems almost daily so he was very busy as its high season right now. At any given time there are about 20 tandems in the air at once. ITS CRAZY. they all land in a special field in town. The passengers range from 5 year old Saudi kids to extremely old Koreans. I thought the Golden guys had it tough till I saw what goes on here. They drive to launch then hike for 15 minutes to the launch. Every pilot has wheels like a luggage bag to drag there gliders up the paved path to launch. Each company is like a rafting company with about 10 pilots working for each company. They have a system worked out where the lay the gliders on top of each other on launch so as one goes the next can go and so on until they are all in the air together. They have all sorts of different ways to take pictures of the passengers with extra A lines connected to the camera so they dont even have to hold on to the camera. Most of the pilots here in a season do between 300-500 tandems in a summer.

Susanne decided I should fly so she took me to a Suisse bakery and let me get lunch then took me to the launch or as I referred to it the Golf Country Club. This launch was so grassy I felt bad even walking on it never mind laying my glider on it. After lunch I took to the skies for an afternoon sled ride. Upon Landing I looked over at Anders and asked if they turned off the lift just cause I was around. It turns out that just like Canada this place gets baked out too and when its that warm it becomes very soft.

It was now time to go to the Lake as the pregnant one decided she was to warm for this...haha. I was more than happy to tag along. We went to Lake Thun which is one of many lakes around but also the biggest. It was about 32 degrees so getting in the glacial water was more than refreshing and also the cleanest lake water I have ever seen so close to a city.
The Night ended with the biggest storm I have ever seen and I am not kidding. The winds reached 125km/hr in town and blew over trees that were over 100 years old. Some broke that were more than 3 feet wide and others just plain blew right over roots and all. It was crazy. I filmed it from various angles so will post some video when I get back. After the storm what do any normal people do but go walk around and check out the damage. Staying with Suanne and Anders is like staying with people with way to many friends...haha. During are walk we of course ran into other friends sitting on a patio overlooking the damaged town and promptly invited in for drinks.

The RAIN. Vincene warned me about the rain plagued alps but I never truly understood. I guess looking around at all the green grass should have been a clue. Think Vancouver in January with huge mountains surrounding you. It was biblical amounts. I ran from store to store and napped and napped and watched movies. After going to new levels of rest Susanne suggest we head up to Lauterbruan which is close to Wengen of ski fame. What a cool town where Anders took me hiking in the rain to see waterfalls and keep ourselves from driving Susanne crazy. She was happy sipping her coffee in a friends coffee shop.

On Friday I went with Anders to fly the World Famous Grindelwald which was spectacular to say the least. I flew like a moron and not understanding how far they push into the lee side here and landed at the valley floor instead of flying home but at least I understand now why flying in the lee in Europe is so popular as its the only thing that works...wink.

More great dinners with new friends and old. Who would have thought in Interlacken they would have the best Thai food that I have ever had?

Saturday was spent hiking up in an ALP eating fresh cheese and chasing cows with bells around there necks. Good fun if you have never done it. They are so friendly we even pet them. But the bells do get annoying. The Alp was up at the end of the pass in Adelboden.

I now sit on another train headed to my european family house in Salzburg. Home to Rudi, Esther, Paul and Jakob. I look forward to seeing them all as everything on this trip is spontaneous as I should still be in Spain. I will spend Sunday through till Wednesday morning with them and head to Munich for my flight to Montreal and finally get to see Loic and Caroline.

Sorry for so many words but these trains in the rain are great for spewing words. Now I know why Gadd's posts tend to drag when he is on a train...haha

All the Best for Everyone back Home

Keith( still making the best of everything )

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