As I mentioned in previous blogs, I had the wonderful opportunity to “study” abroad in London during college. Looking back, I should have taken advantage of traveling more but I still managed to do quite a bit.
The last weekend before we all had to fly back to the states, several friends and I went to Interlaken – specifically to skydive over the Swiss Alps.
We all took a flight from London into Zurich and took the train into the Swiss village. The views were incredible the entire journey which took about 2 hours. Once we arrived into town we checked into Balmers Hostel. Here is the view by day:
At the time, which was in 2003, this was quite the raging hostel. Everyone stayed there. They had a bar attached so you didn’t have to go far for a drink! The rooms were decent and the location was perfect. They even hosted several different excursions which is where signed up to skydive. We arrived on a Friday afternoon and were scheduled to jump out of the plan on Sunday.After checking in, we immediately grabbed a bite to eat and explored the downtown. We were fortunate that Christmas was around the corner so the entire town had a cheery vibe with decorations all lit up.
Being surrounded by mountains was wonderful! To be honest, I don’t even remember what we did that night. All I know is we drank…a lot… with people who worked with the skydiving company! We called it a night at around 2am. However, around 8am we were awoken by the hostel telling us that we had to skydive that day (Saturday) because conditions were more favorable. I was actually happy it worked out this way. Yes, the hangover didn’t help the situation but I didn’t go to bed that night scared out of my mind in anticipation of hurling my body out of a plane. I had the next night for that…or so I thought. We dragged our barely alert bodies downstairs where a shuttle awaited and we headed off to the site.
It was a chilly morning and we were all bundled up while we were going through our training. There was about 12 of us in total and only 3 people could go up at a time (that didn’t include those who were strapped to our backs tandem style).
The entire way up, I kept trying to think of ways to get myself out of this situation. I knew I would be called a chicken but as the homes got smaller and smaller I started to care less.
What was I going to do?! The door swung open and it was time. <gulp> My friend went first and before I knew it, my legs were dangling over the side of the plane. On the count of three we were supposed to tumble out. We made it to one and we flung out the door.
It’s funny, I always thought skydiving would feel like being on a really long roller coaster. You know that feeling of being pulled to the ground and just wishing it would end? I didn’t feel that way at all! Once the parachute opened, we didn’t fling upwards either. We actually stopped mid-air. After asking the guy if we were ok and if the parachute deployed properly, he decided to “play”. He would release the parachute and we would dip down. That was fun. After, I was able to take pictures. Clearly, my arms are too short! However, I did manage to take a picture of my friend as she parachuted down.
The whole experience was so exhilarating that I would have done it again in a heartbeat! On the way to the site that morning, no one spoke a word! But on the way back we were all joking and laughing. We hit up Hooters (yes there is a hooters in Interlaken) then went back to the hostel to take a nap. After all of that adventure, we crashed quickly.
If you are ever in Switzerland, I would absolutely recommend visiting Interlaken. In my college days, all I cared about was skydiving, shopping and drinking. Now I would do more adult like things with a mild amount of adventure mixed in. But hey, at least I can say I skydived over the Alps! What a view.
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