When one does what is perceived as a ‘high risk activity’ at home, it takes hours of filling out forms for insurance, declarations and general organisation before you’ve even decided you really want to do it. In Slovenia, however, it seems that leaping off a mountain whilst strapped to a strange man and with only a large piece of fabric to stop you plummeting 1500 feet is of equivalent danger as a walk in the park.
Thank heavens for that.
I must say, it was a much better way of calming any nerves I had than being told of the many things that could go wrong- all I was told was that we would be taking a cable car to the top of Mount Vogel and then we would start the paragliding. So, I followed the instructors to what was essentially a slightly worn mound near to the highest point, with no clue as to what on earth I was supposed to do when attached to the enormous purple parachute that they began unravelling. I decided to ask what the process was: I’m not sure what kind of an explanation I was expecting, but “just run as fast as you can then sit down” was probably about as useful as speaking to me in Slovenian would have been.
I was then harnessed into a strange sack-like contraption and attached to the instructor. My nerves increased further as the parachute was attached and I looked down the side of the mountain at the ground bellow, my stomach jittering and every instinct telling me this was a ridiculous thing to do. It’s always at this point that you have to remind yourself that it’s our nature to fear these extreme sports and activities. The animal inside me was saying “jumping off a cliff? No thanks, pal”, but thankfully before I could chicken out I was running towards the edge, the parachute rising rapidly behind me, and with a jolt we were thrust into the air. The command “sit, now!” came and I thankfully lay back into the sack-seat, my legs dangling and leaving me with the uncomfortable feeling of knowing that you’re sitting on a piece of material in mid-air.
It didn’t take long for my nerves to be completely replaced with a feeling of exhilaration. We circled the nearby mountain peaks and then, as the parachute was caught by a gust of warm air, we soared higher and higher until even the lakes below looked like shimmering blue puddles.
There’s nothing like whooshing through the air at nearly 2000ft on a Tuesday morning to get the adrenaline pumping.
All too soon we began a tumultuous descent over Lake Bohinj with dizzying aerobatics that caused us to drop 1000ft in just 20 seconds. It was time for my second piece of paragliding advice, this time on landing: “just run until you stop”. Thanks for that! I would have had no idea otherwise….
However, we landed without mishap and, in my case, looking slightly green. Only do aerobatics if you’re a big fan of rollercoasters…! I still couldn’t believe what I’d just done. I may not seem a massive deal, but its pretty hard to fight the primal instincts snd make yourself do it- plus, I’d managed it with only a few squeals on starting!
It took me a lie down by the beautiful lake and a wander through the emerald green woods nearby to recover my land-legs. This was a truly memorable experience and I would recommend it to anyone- just make sure you have incredible views to see!
I went with 3glav Adventures. Really nice instructors, very well organised & on time. They organise lifts to and from the Lesce train station and from the bus station in Bled. Good price for paragliding, and they also offer various other activities that all incorporate nature and explore the wonderful Slovenian landscape and Triglav National Park.
Price: €140 pp
Visit their website here.