Thursday, December 26, 2013

Dec 23rd - Paragliding at St. Christina - We meed David (Grappa Man) paragliding pilot

Today we were desperate for clear weather as Gavin had generously provided us with an early Xmas present.… a paragliding experience over St Christina. Erin, Will, Carri, Gavin and myself were all lined up for our latest adventure. Julie was also coming along, though Julie doesn’t “do” adventure stuff, but is always happy to be the “bag lady” while we go off to risk life and limb. After a couple of decades of fun parks in Australia and the USA, Paragliding and Jet skiing in Bali, Bungy Jumping in New Zealand etc…Julie has been happy to sit and watch over our bags…what a champion!

Anyway after several calls our paragliding pilot David decided that the weather should be ok. He could take some of us up first and then a colleague would join later in the morning so that we could also go in pairs.

David turned out to be an interesting character. He started by bringing out his home made grappa to share, I guess to settle the nerves. He said that before becoming a paragliding pilot he worked in a grappa factory. Apparently the grappa keeps him warm going up and down the mountain. Our thoughts however were more about ‘do they have breathalysers for paragliding pilots?...and who wants to go last!

It was determined that either Erin or Carri should go first as they had a snowboarding lesson to get back to.  Grappa man mentioned, in his halting English, that the first one would be a bit  of a ‘test’ fight to check the conditions. “Grappa...Test”….not words that inspire a lot of early confidence. You should have seen the relief on Erin’s face when Carrie stepped forward to volunteer to go first …. though on the balance…”grappa” vs “test” …perhaps she was being smart going first.

So it was Carri that was set up with Gav’s snowboarding helmet and Go Hero video camera attached to hit the chairlift to the top of the mountain with grappa man. Apparently he also shared grappa shots with other fellow passengers on the way up.
Carri landing safely with Grappa Man

Carri is fairly new to us…having only partnered up with Gav this year. We could only be impressed by her willingness to sacrifice herself for the good of her only recently acquired extended family. Julie and Carri had already started bonding through shared “toy boy” experiences. One of the good things about being born Asian is that you look younger than you really are. Until fairly recently, whenever Julie and I visited an Asian country the waiters or waitresses invariably would present Julie with the bill…much to her chagrin and my delight! Of course they would die with embarrassment when the bill was angrily pushed toward me (I’d be laughing of course!).  Apparently Carri has experienced the same thing in recent trips to Bali with Gavin. Gavin and Carrie are both 28 now…but still managed to pass for 16 in Austria when buying lift tickets… its not that Carrie looks like a cougar!

Will decided to follow them up the mountain to do a snow board run and view the inaugural launch, while we waited on Carrie’s fate below. After what seemed to take a long time Will returned to advise as that there had been a slight hiccough on the first attempted launch.

See Carrie playing crash dummy here…thankfully Will was on hand to save the Go Hero camera J

Carrie and grappa man did eventually make it down safely. We took lots of shots from the ground and Carrie arrived smiling and not at all traumatised by her crash dummy experience. By now David’s colleague Emanuel had arrived (no grappa though) so we could now go in pairs. Will and Erin were next up and we watched eagerly as they passed each other in flight and landed safely, delighted by their experiences.
Will and Erin ... 
 So finally it was Gav and I. With Gav having a freshly charged Go Hero camera I was relieved to not need to bring out my secret video sunglasses. Now its normal for parents to make sacrifices for their children but in this case it was Gavin who got grappa man for his third and final flight….don’t really know what happened there. Learning from Carri’s experience we ‘ran faster’ and the experienced the delight of floating down over the valley with the best vantage point in the world! The short period of panic and adrenalin quickly disappears as you relax into the experience…unlike bungy jumping when you only start to relax on the third rebound!
...looks like south pole explorer
Mission Leader

Bolzano Xmas Markets

The Go Hero stayed charged long enough so we can share the experience:  St Christina from the air.

The afternoon was relatively eventless. Julie and I ventured into the Bolzano Christmas markets for a kransky hit!...not really…the xmas decorations were stunning, its just that the kranskys are still repeating on us… The back to our favourite Pizzeria for a 'light' dinner.

Dessert was obviously a flaming success for Julie and Lyn.

Social Network Update

New connections

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