Sunday, August 29, 2010


Driving across Europe with Jim and LuAnn, Bavaria (Southern Germany) is exquisite. I don't know how they manage to keep the quaint features in a modern world. One hears bells on the cows while looking at old homes with windowboxes (this scene continues through Austria). This part of Germany is more hilly, preparing us for the Alps.

We visited Munich's Hofbrauhaus. Founded in 1589, the brewhouse follows the brewing laws of 1516, regulating the ingredients allowed in beer. The sight upon entering the "beerpalace" (which was built in 1897) is delightfully overwhelming. An oom-pah band plays in the corner. Women in traditional Bavarian dress carry around monstrous pretzels, and men in leiderhosen bring litres of beer and traditional wursts to tables filled with tourists. We snatch a table as others leave (including Olga, who is in her 70's obviously drunk, and who we later saw dancing with a leiderhosen-clad man) and are soon joined by a family of Spaniards. Occasionally, the guests break into song, and all we know how to do is thump our beers on the table and smile.

1 Litre was the only option!

Friday, August 27, 2010

A new view of the world

Upon arrival at our Swiss campground in Interlaken, we knew we had to spend a couple of days here. A white glacier greeted us as we walked down the street, lush mountains more beautiful than I could imagine beckoned me. I intended to explore them, to leave a footprint or a mountain bike track.

We noticed colorful parachutes above all day long, so I did a little investigating. Tom made a phone call, and in 45 minutes we were picked up in a van to go Paragliding, driving up and up a hill...

I was pretty nervous. What did I get myself into? And then, Wouldn't it be amazing if I can actually have the guts to follow through on this?

We got to the top, the glacier still prevailing in the landscape. The crew of paragliding experts immediately began laying out the parachutes on a grassy hillside.

From Paragliding over Interlaken, Switzerland
Robert, my assigned tandem expert, began strapping me in and providing comforting words like, "You won't have to run off a cliff. Just run down that hill."

From Paragliding over Interlaken, Switzerland
With my faith in a parachute and a person I've never met strapped behind me, I ran. 
From Paragliding over Interlaken, Switzerland
And it was glorious!
From Paragliding over Interlaken, Switzerland
From Paragliding over Interlaken, Switzerland

After two safe landings with no falls, we enjoyed a Swiss beer and walked home, smiling and excited about our adventure. 
From Paragliding over Interlaken, Switzerland