Monthly Archives

March 2011

The List: Number 108 – Go Paragliding

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Today* I went Paragliding. Over the French Alps. And it was PHENOMENAL. Positively one of the best 12 minutes I’ve ever spent. I wish it had been longer.

I rode up the lift (Roche de Mio) to meet a French Man: Phillipe, was his name. He had a lovely french accent, and a brilliant french attitude. I didn’t know what to expect, really. There was alot of talking, but in French. He spread out a gorgeous red, blue and white parachute behind us (which reminded me alot of when I went to watch Rob + John go Kitesurfing). He clipped me into a harness, and then clipped himself on.

We stood on the edge of a cliff, we did. I was nervous, we were up quite high (2739m above sea level). I was shaking a bit, looking over the edge, and I could feel the adrenline kicking in.

And then, quite suddenly, Phillipe told me to run. I wasn’t expecting this, because there was less than a metre between me and the cliff. I guess that was the point, but he did have to tell me twice. I pushed off, put my left foot down on the snow, and then my right foot hit nothing but air. And then we were soaring.

Literally, miles and miles above the world. The people became smaller than ants, the cable cars became thumb size, and oh how we flew!! Around in circles, close to the cliffs, over drops and valleys, with the wind whistling by, freezing my exposed cheeks (till I was clever enough to pull up my mask), fast and cold and brilliant.

All too soon we were over Belle Plagne, swirling around in circles, the same way birds do. And all too soon Phillipe was telling me to run in the air, and before I knew it my feet were back on the snow.

It was phenomenal, a giant rush, and I was on such a high the rest of the day. Brilliant.

Number 108 – Done!

* When I wrote this it was today. When I posted it it was not today.

The List: Number 68 – Visit Stonehenge

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I enjoyed Stonehenge a lot more than I thought I would. It was cold, bitterly bitterly cold, but brilliant. As far as I can gather from the Audio Guide (which, btw, would be better without the cheesy sound effects + sound tracks, thanks) is that they don’t know how the stones were put together in that formation, or why (though they suspect it had something to do with burial rituals).

They do know that there were two types of stone used, one called Bluestone, which they suspect came from a quarry approximately 250km away. That’s kind of phenomenal considering that they think that Stonehenge was created approximately 2500 BC, and the stones weigh approximately 4 tonnes. 4 TONNES! They suspect they were floated (as much as 4 tonne rocks can float) down a river. The other type of stone is what I want to call the grey stones, but I don’t think that’s right (Sarsen stones??). These ones were collected much closer, maybe 40km away. Local, in comparison.

I thought it was absolutely phenomenal. Perhaps a lot of the appeal in finally getting here was that it was on The List. And it was on The List because its instantly recognizable and seemed so very far removed from home. Either way, I was quite enthusiastic about the whole trip out there. I was excited to cross something off The List, excited to be doing something I said I would, and absolutely stoked to see something as old and as a brilliant as Stonehenge.

The List: Number 59 – Visit the Vatican City

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It was big, and impressive, and gorgeous. Vatican City was amazing. Sadly, I didn’t see the Sistine Chapel (I’d like to go back at some point to see it) but we did visit St. Peter’s Basilica, and yes, we saw Pietà, by Michelangelo. Fairly awe inspiring.

St Peters Square

St. Peter’s Basilica. No togs, but pj’s okay.

Number 59 – Done!