Day 48-51: 15,450 feet in 4:07

Posted by on October 10, 2012

So, last week didn’t end with just Rome. I woke up early Wednesday, took a 50 Euro cab (yikes) to the Rome airport, and made it to my flight to Geneva with just 10 minutes to spare. Was I cutting it close? Yes, but that’s what European adventures are all about. If there isn’t a chance of you getting stranded in some European city then you aren’t doing Europe right.

I made it to Geneva around 10 o’clock, and even from above I could tell Switzerland was so much different from both Rome and Copenhagen. In those cities space is pretty limited, and everything is very tight and compact. That is not the case with Geneva. From above Geneva is very spacious and spread out across these amazing green mountains and rolling hills. You could see the boats sailing around in the lake by Geneva from one side to another. It was a pretty incredible sight, but unfortunately I could not enjoy it for long because I was on a tight schedule was I made my way to a different Swiss city, Interlaken. After getting my baggage I made my way to the train station which is conveniently located right beside the airport. However, at this point I was having another “stupid American” moment and couldn’t find the ticket station. I went up to this Swiss man and asked him where I should go. He immediately shrugged me off after I said two syllables and walked away. I guess I’m just THAT obviously American. Thankfully, his kind, European conscience kicked in and he came back and showed me where the ticket station was (thanks Swiss guy!). Once I made my way through the queue I popped a squat in front of this woman who began spouting something out in French. Of course, I once again had to play the “I’m American, I’m sorry” card, and she kindly switched to English. I paid my 150 Euro (double yikes) for the train tickets I needed to get to Interlaken. I was at most westward point in Switzerland, and I had to get to the middle of the country. Luckily Switzerland is a relatively small country, so the entire train experience was only about 3 hours long.

I arrived to Interlaken after almost missing the stop due to my hardcore slumber. Luckily I didn’t, and I made my way out to the fresh air of the Swiss countryside. I was thoroughly enjoying the view when a dark realization overcame me. I had no clue where I was living in Interlaken. Sure, I was there with friends who had been staying in a hostel the day before, but there was a few problems with this situation. 1. I didn’t have an international phone, so I couldn’t get a hold of any of them. 2. Interlaken is small city, but at the time it was very new and I had absolutely no clue where to even begin looking. Luckily, just as I began my hostel-hopping adventure in search of my comrades I found a cafe with WiFi. Stealing WiFi, or anything for that matter, is a wrong thing to do. However, I was a tired American who feared that he was stranded in a small Swiss city by himself, so please excuse my action. I finally got onto facebook, where I was able to find out where my friends were staying (Thanks Zuckerberg!).

Finally, after a 20 minute walk from the train station I made it to the hostel…but lets skip ahead to the good parts. To be honest, most of my time in Interlaken was filled with relaxation and being lazy. Nothing really worth mentioning…except bungee jumping and skydiving.

Skydiving

The whole purpose of this trip was to go skydiving in Interlaken, Switzerland, because apparently it is one of the best places in the world to go skydiving. After jumping out of a plane almost 3 miles above the ground I have to agree with the experts, this place is definitely a great place to go skydiving. We got onto a van from our hostel which took us out to this airplane hanger 30 minutes outside of town. Once we were there we suited up in our skydiving suits and were given a quick and easy orientation. Newbies like me have to do tandem skydiving, so basically the other guy gets to do all the work and I just am there for the ride. We were strapped in and ready to go, and as we were boarding the plane I realized that I was the last one to get on. By being the last one on board, and therefore the one closest to the door, I was going to be the first one to jump out of the plane. Now, I have this problem with exciting events in life. I don’t really get excited until the event is seconds away from happening. Thats how I felt about going to Denmark in the first place. That’s how I felt about bungee jumping later. I don’t really understand the magnitude until it is staring me in the face. Let’s just say the reality hit me when the door opened and I got to look down…wayyyy down. At this moment I replayed every bad decision I’ve ever made that led me to that very moment. Before I could even say anything my jumping partner let out a quick “whooo!” and we made the leap of faith. We made the dive, and suddenly it got quiet. I couldn’t hear the propeller from the plane any more. I couldn’t hear anything for that matter. I couldn’t tell you what I was thinking. I looked around for what seemed like forever. Its a funny feeling up there because you can’t really tell that the ground is getting closer as you fall. Everything looks so picturesque that the fear completely evaporates. And then the 45 seconds of free fall ends, and the parachute is deployed. At that point you are just trying to figure out what exactly just happened. My partner did some cool parachute tricks to show me everything around me, including Bern, a major city in Switzerland that was in between Interlaken and Switzerland. Eventually we made it down to the ground. The adrenaline was rushing through my veins well after the fact. Its almost as if I could do anything at that point, which is why we then did what we did later that evening…

The airplane hanger as we started climbing


First jump!


I was gone…

The view was incredible

Bungee Jumping

Remember the whole excess adrenaline thing? Well we had so much that we decided to go bungee jumping right after our skydiving adventure. Are we crazy people? Yes, yes we are. There is no denying that. Was it a good decision? No, it wasn’t. It was a GREAT decision. Once again, we were boarded onto a sketchy van that took us 30 minutes outside of Interlaken. Once we got off of the bus we went onto one of those mountain carts (I don’t really know what they are actually called, but they take you up mountains in these big box things). Once we got up the mountain we had a great view of the mountain range, but the beauty of the range was diminished by how absurdly cold it was up there. Maybe it was because I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, but regardless it was cold. We took another cable car (seriously, what are those things called?) over this lake where we stopped midway up. It was a 450 foot drop to the bottom. I remember hearing that falling into water from over 150 feet is like hitting concrete, so basically jumping out of that box in the sky was the equivalent to falling to your death…

Once again, I was the last one into the car. By being the last oen in the car I once again was the first to jump out. Now, one might think, “Oh Deep, you just went skydiving. Bungee jumping will be a piece of cake.” Wrong. While skydiving you have a partner that does everything. Bungee jumping means you do everything yourself, including jumping to your death. So bungee jumping is much more terrifying than skydiving. However, I had to put on a tough face and get down to business. Everyone around me began counting down from five, and at 2 I made the leap. At that moment I was surprisingly at complete peace. When you are 450 feet over water about to fall you have absolutely no control over what is going to happen next, and at that point you just accept what happens next as fate. It’s a way of just letting go, and just letting nature take its natural course. Of course, this fall only lasted about 7 seconds, and the bungee caught me and took me back up for another, much smaller fall. Eventually I was lowered into a small dingy below me and taken to shore where I watched the rest of the people in the car plummet and scream.

The view with the cables

The lake and the dingy

Deep, before the fall

Sorry about not having any pictures of me falling. I’m pretty sure you guys get the gist of it from the picture of the lack though.

Med venlig hilsen

Deep

One Response to Day 48-51: 15,450 feet in 4:07

  1. Ash

    You are crazy! and awesome at the same time for jumping…..both times…..still crazy though. and wouldn't the 150 be triple yikes? Just saying