One part of this trip I really enjoyed was the mix of free days and busy days. One of the most memorable free days I had was the early morning paragliding flight in Austria. It all started with my paragliding instructor Mr. Mike. He made sure to get my butterflies out by telling me he had been doing this for 36 years! We then took the lift up the mountain where we talked about the different kinds of outdoor sports Austria had in the winter as opposed to the summer.
Bird’s eye view
Once we reached the top of the mountain via the lift we strapped up for the paragliding. It was funny because at the time I looked to my right and saw a group of cows grazing in the mountains and I thought to myself, “I’m really about to fly off this mountain next to cows for 3 hours of school credit”. Once we were in the air, we flew straight through a cloud! After emerging the cloud, the entire valley was in our sight. It was breathtaking being able to see the beauty of the villages scattered throughout the valley and the different weather areas through the mountain line! We flew around in the air for about 15-30 minutes talking about his paragliding experiences and how a skilled paraglider can travel the entire mountain range just by landing on the peaks of the mountains and taking off again. This seemed like a very cool way to travel but I would only try this if I was an expert. As we started getting closer to the ground we started making harder turns that would bring us in faster each time, this is where my adrenaline really spiked. Not once did I stop smiling and my heart rate never dropped to a below sprint level. It was one of the most jaw-dropping views of the entire trip and I wish I was back there right now!
A new perspective
Even though the paragliding part wasn’t an actual part of the program’s curriculum, it was a big learning experience for me. After going paragliding and seeing one of Austria’s big attractions, outdoor action sports, I understood why tourism was such a big factor for the country’s popularity and economy. It makes sense because many of the views, especially the birds-eye view, will leave you breathless and is a must-do on your bucket list.