It’s incredible admiring the view of mountains and lakes from the sliding door of your camper van but sometimes it’s great to get a different perspective. While on a 24 day camper van road trip through Europe I decided to give hang gliding a try! The view of the Swiss Alps is incredible from the road so you can only imagine how spectacular the view is from the air!
After a little research online Interlake was the natural location which is situated centrally in Switzerland. Interlaken is set between the sparking waters of Lake Brienz and Lake Thun with the Swiss Alps towering in the background. It’s the perfect spot for hiking, paragliding, hang gliding and a whole host of water sports.
Map of Interlaken …..
A simple phone call the day before secured a hang gliding booking!
We arrive at the meeting point in Interlaken at 10.30 in the morning and meet our fellow hang gliders while watching a few people land. I’m introduced to Boe my partner for the tandem hang glide, he’s a super friendly American guy who does a fabulous job of making you feel welcome and relaxed.
We load up the VW van with kit and hang gliders and proceed up the mountain to the north of Interlake to a height of 1300 metres. Once out of the van we have to lug the gear further up the hill to the take off point, I was given a heavy rucksack. We arrive at our destination and Boe points out the take off point, I start to get a little nervous! It’s very steep!
I help Boe to assemble the hang glider by inserting the poles which is actually great fun. Next job is to get the harness on and a helmet. We then practise running together for our take off. I’m mega nervous at this point, I know once we’re in the air I’ll be fine. I tell myself not to close my eyes. Boe hooks himself to the hang glider and then hooks me to the glider and to him. We manoeuvre the hang glider and ourselves to the start of the mini rubber runway which has been assembled by someone else. I have to hold on to two handles at each side of Boe’s hips. He keeps telling me to loosen my grip!
At the start of the runway we have to wait for the wind. Boe tells me that when he asked if I’m ready, I need to say yes straight away as it means the wind is just right. It’s a nervous few minutes wait for the wind to be just right. He asks if I’m ready, I hesitate for a second and say ‘OK’! Then he counts, 3, 2 ,1 and we literally off the edge of a cliff!
We’re flying! It’s a wonderful feeling, so calm, slow and peaceful. I’m impressed that I didn’t close my eyes. The scenery is simply stunning and I’m loving it! It’s not really an adrenaline rush, more an exhilarating experience.
The view of the two lakes, surrounded by mountains with the sun shining makes the picture perfect, I couldn’t have picked a better location for my first hang gliding experience.
During the flight Boe asks if I’m ok for him to do some fun stuff, I respond with a ‘hell why not!’ and tighten my grip. I end up closing my eyes for a moment or two while my stomach does somersault after somersault! We descend head first towards the ground then curve back up and then drip to the opposite side, it’s great fun. We start getting nearer to the ground and we seem to be approaching incredibly quickly. Suddenly the wheels hit the ground and our bodies drag along the ground. WOW! What an experience, I want to do it again.
We unhook ourselves and relax and we’re offered beers. We’re back at the spot we initially met the team at. Boe kindly recommends we head to Lauterbrunnen, an alpine village twenty minutes drive away, located here.
If you fancy trying hang gliding on your Swiss camper van road trip then I would highly recommend these guys:
www.hangglidinginterlaken.com or give them a call on +41 (0) 79 770 0704
Where to camp if you’re planning on going hang gliding at Interlaken?
We camped a few minutes drive away by the side of Lake Thun, a few minutes drive from the town centre of Interlaken. Location is here.
There is also a campsite very nearby, details available at: www.manorfarm.ch
I can also recommend a fabulous little campsite in Switzerland for a camper van, read about it on my blog post: A Perfect, Tiny Campsite For A Camper Van In Switzerland.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.
Note: Information correct at the time of my visit which was in September 2018.