The next thing I knew Bernie yelled, “Run!” and I ran. I ran and I ran until I wasn’t running anymore …
When I was a little girl I wanted to be an archaeologist and dig up mummies in Egypt, I wanted to stand in front of the Taj Mahal wearing a beautiful Hijab, and I wanted to go hang-gliding in the Swiss Alps. I hadn’t heard of the term “backpacking” and certainly had never traveled farther than a state or two, but I had a globe in my room and knew I wanted to be on the other side of it one day.
I remember being seven or eight years old and putting all of the coins I found in the dryer, under the couch cushions, or out on the sidewalk into my red Mrs. Fields cookie tin that I kept under my bed. I’d quietly press the cool metal lid down until I felt it snap securely, and then I’d ever so stealthily push it back behind my container of quarter-machine tattoos, past my bucket of marbles, and set it next to my Tupperware containing my impressive Lisa Frank sticker collection.
Now before we go any further with the story, yes, I’m aware that I was quite the collector of all things unnecessary! I also used the word “Tupperware” giving away that I’m quite a few decades old!
These dimes and nickels (and quarters when I was extra lucky) were the small beginnings of solidifying my dreams. I’ll have to be honest with you, I spent most of those coins on Tweety Bird ice cream – the kind with the big blue bubblegum eyes – whenever I heard that summer jingle playing from the ice cream truck down the street. But my point is that the dream of travel has always been alive somewhere inside me. I waited nearly 20 years until I decided it was time for one of those dreams to come true.
For any of you who may be adrenaline junkies, you’re gonna really be into this part. If you crave that rush and are interested in extreme sports such as base jumping, parasailing/paragliding, hang-gliding, or skydiving just to name a few, Interlaken is calling your name!
The city is nestled between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, which makes sense when you consider the literal meaning of it’s name, “Between lakes.” Interlaken is the adventurers playground, with a list of adventure sports about a mile long and readily available for the daring among you who want to take that leap – figuratively and literally. This is where I found myself thinking,
Is the thrill worth the risk? and without hesitation I knew the answer, Hell yes it is!
I found the Birdman Bernie online while staying in Interlaken. He was highly rated with over 15 years experience. I spent a solid hour reading every single review, after all this was an experience I had spent the majority of my life preparing for and I wanted it to be perfect.
But his reviews seemed to range from fantastic to amazing and I couldn’t find a single sentence of negative feedback. His website was chocked full of photos, videos, and testimonials and also made it easy for me to contact him online to schedule a day and a pick-up/drop-off time. He even went out of his way to squeeze me in the following day as I was moving on to Lauterbrunnen and was short on time. I would highly recommend checking out Hang Gliding Interlaken as his attention to detail was seemingly effortless and customer service was off the charts!
The Birdman Bernie was super fun and even had me help put the glider together which was an experience in itself. I stood all geared up on the edge of a mountain slope facing Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau and snapped a quick photo (pictured above).
I put on my helmet and checked all my straps as the memory of that little girl clanking coins into her red Mrs. Fields cookie tin popped in my head. I’ve got to say there’s nothing quite like the moment before you witness one of your dreams coming true.
I breathed in.
I felt the cool air on my face.
I heard the birds and the trees and felt the warmth of the sun.
I was on a mountain.
I was in Switzerland!
I soaked in that moment.
The next thing I knew Bernie yelled, “Run!” and I ran. I ran and ran until I wasn’t running anymore and the mountain slope dropped away and I was flying. Okay so I wasn’t flying per se, but I was hang-gliding in the Swiss Alps!