A Great Adventure
Zip-lining had never really crossed our mind as an activity for holidays, however, when our Airbnb host Marina mentioned the idea we felt we had to find out more. She told us that some guests come specifically for the local zip-line and it is a great adventure. We were in two minds about it whether to try it, but in the end we asked her to call them up and see if they had a slot available for Jerome and I.
We were lucky and got on the first session the following day, meaning we had to get an early breakfast in order to be there on time. We enjoyed our tea and coffee with croissants overlooking the the lawns of the garden at beautifully renovated Villa Giuila where we were staying. Thankfully there had not been any more snow overnight, which might have made our drive into the mountains more difficult and slower. Jerome was already over excited at the idea of reaching 100kmh on the line, I guess the anticipation of not knowing quite what to expect made it even worse.
The Drive to the Start of the Zip Line
The drive to the zip line provided us with beautiful views of the mountains and valleys much of it still covered in snow. The higher we got towards the start of the zip-line, the more snow was still lying on the ground. At first the snow was only in places where the sun had not yet reached and later on even in the open fields and on side roads. We parked our car in the car park and walked down the steps to the hut where we completed the registration form, perhaps signing our lives away! We were the first ones to arrive in our group and the formalities were done with fairly quickly. Jerome and I curiously looked at the equipment. We could see the end of the zip line, just above the hut and the cable running across the valley was mostly invisible, only the red and white balls marking the steel cable made us realise where it went across between the two mountain sides. We could just about make out the hut at the other end. The idea that we would be descending that line hung high above the deep valley with just the cables for support was certainly creating some butterflies in our tummies. The view that morning was incredible, a clear blue sky with no clouds in sight. The snow covered mountains looked majestic and spectacular in the bright morning sun.
A ride on the zip line does not come cheap and we were about to find out if it is worth the money or not. Not surprisingly zip lining is a popular activity with stag and hen groups and so it came to no surprise when the others in our group turned out to be a group of men, one of them a groom to be. We still had some time before Jerome and I had to get into the van to drive to the starting point of the zip line. The café did some pretty decent coffee and hot chocolate which Jerome and I sipped nervously while waiting for the start.
Ready to Go!
When it was time to go, we squeezed into the van and off we went along the narrow roads to the other side of the valley. The drive took us about 15 minutes and the last bit was on a dirt track that was still covered in snow. The excitement about our immediate adventure was all too visible, the guys seemed more anxious then Jerome and I. They spoke in Italian throughout the journey but I had a chat with my seat neighbour who told me they were from Milan and had come for the day to celebrate the upcoming wedding. Once we left the van, each of us carried some of the equipment that was needed for the flight on the zip line down to the hut. Our guide gave us some safety instructions and we were weighed in order to work out which fitting needed to go onto the zip line for our ride. We each got a helmet and some glasses to protect our eyes from the wind and any insects that might be flying our way. You may also wear sunglasses or reading glasses that you might require.
One of the group was kind enough to take a photo of us and email it to me, as I had decided against taking my mobile phone. When it was time to make the plunge the boys were all shy and asked us if we wanted to go first. We went to the open door, where we could see a net and the deep valley in front of us. I was worried we might get cold feet but we felt calm and were excited about our flight. We were strapped in, falcon style, meaning that we were lying down as if we were actually flying like a bird, rather then free style, which is like sitting on a swing seat. You also have the choice of going on your own, but of course that was out of question for Jerome and I. There is no minimum age restriction, however no person under the height of 120cm and 35kg is allowed on the flight. Children always have to go in pairs with an adult. It is also worth checking that there is no greater weight difference between the two people than 40kg and the maximum combine weight is 180kg.
We were strapped in and ready to go. The instructor asked us if we were ready….and then let us take off, onto our first flight. I cannot describe the feeling! All worries and fears were gone as we sped down the wire. It was incredible, probably the closest feeling to flying that we both ever experienced. At first we started to scream for joy and exhilaration and then when we looked down, we could see the snow between the trees, at some point I could make out a stream in the valley bed and the other end came approaching fast.
Flying Across the Valley
At some point we flew 340m above ground and the speed can reach up to 120km/h, but I am sure we were too light to get even close to that maximum speed, as the heavier you are the faster you travel on the line. Once we had arrived and safe ground underneath our feet again, Jerome said he had had such an incredible time, that he wanted another go. Chris totally could not share our excitement, he had watched us fly over and said that just watching us made him feel sick – he has inherited a fear of heights sadly. However, he was happy for us to have another go and we checked and were able to get into the next available time slot. There are runs about every hour. One after another we watched the guys fly over, one couple even had a go-pro and filmed the whole journey.
Second Flight on the Zip Line
On this flight we were joined again by another group of stags and to our surprise a mother with her daughter, who probably was around 9/10 years old. We already felt like pros this time around and were the first to fly across, again. The second flight was faster, I guess we knew that if we held our arms back and close to our body we would gain more speed, and it was still as exciting as the first. I think I now understand why some people get addicted to these thrilling experiences… We knew this was our last flight for that day, we could have gone back and forth all day long if Jerome would have had his way.
I borrowed Chris’ old phone for the second run to take some photos and I gave him mine to film our flight (my first video on the blog, please do not get scared while watching it, he took the film in time lapse mode by mistake! It is probably about ten times faster than real!). We threatened afterwards to go again a third time to make him get the video right, but we agreed to come back some time to try it again instead.
Would we go zip lining again? Yes, definitely! It was worth every penny, especially when you consider that there is no prior experience or training required. We felt safe and at no time worried that anything might go wrong. It was a fun filled morning that Jerome and I will remember for the rest of our lives. Maybe one day we can even get Chris to join us on a zip line ride!
He got to have some fun later on Mount Spalavera that day which you will be able to read about in my next post.