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I write and talk a lot (ok, that sentence can just be ended there, right? 😉 ) about Bucket List items. I love setting goals and then crushing them. And for me, travel is ALWAYS on my goal list.
But for me, travel is so much more than just ticking off items to be able to say “Been there, done that.” No, travel is about exploring, adventure, immersion, and so much more.
For example, this midwestern Nebraska born and raised girl (read: land that is COMPLETELY FLAT!) decided her first year living in Germany that learning to ski would be a brilliant idea….in the Swiss Alps (what was I thinking!?)
One beautiful day in the Alps, I mesmerizingly watched as I saw a man fling himself from the top of a cliff and then effortlessly begin to float and glide down the steep valley walls with his paraglider. And I just knew it. “Paragliding in the Alps” immediately went on my bucketlist.
This item stayed on my list for several years though. It was always too expensive, the weather not good enough, or I just wanted a more ideal location.
And then I found it.
One year for my birthday we were heading back to the Cinderella Neuschwanstein Castle for a weekend getaway. And I just knew that my birthday gift to myself was going to be paragliding in the Bavarian Alps but when I found out that I could paraglide over Neuschwanstein Castle itself, I became ecstatic!!!!
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The Details/ Logistics
This may vary slightly from company to company, but a few requirements are:
- Minimum age of 13 years old
- Minimum weight: 40kg
- Maximum weight: 95kg
- Sturdy, high ankled shoes
- Parental consent required for children under the age of 16.
This may vary depending on the company you go with. I went with FlugSchule Tegelberg and it was 175 Euro for a 15-30 minute tandem flight
Due to weather, the flight season for paragliding over Neuschwanstein is typically only from (about) March through October
Companies to Paraglide Over Neuschwanstein With
Most of the sites offer an online purchase. HOWEVER, as I found out on my trip, the conditions for a tandem flight have to be just about perfect, so if you pre-purchase, you run the risk of running into bad weather (welcome to Bavaria!!) and not being able to go. If you are determined to pre-book a flight, ensure you understand and know the cancelation policies.
Location for Paragliding Neuschwansterin Castle
Even though the purpose of this flight is to fly high over the fairytale castle, you’ll actually be going to the Tegelberg Bahn Gondola Station.
This is just a few minutes down the road from Neuschwanstein Castle itself.
I’m what most people would call an “Adrenaline Junky.” I’ve gone bungee jumping, I’ve been Scuba Diving with sharks in the pitch black dark night, and, as stated previously, I thought that skiing in the Swiss Alps was a perfectly acceptable “learning location” (hint: it was not!)
But my nerves were starting to flutter in my stomach. Or was it excitement? No. It was definitely nerves!
First, you ascend the beautiful mountain on the Tegelbergbahn with your pilot. If you have a quality camera, get a zoom lens and you can get some absolutely PERFECT photo ops of Neuschwanstein Castle as the gondola creeps up the mountain.
You’ll get geared up near the runway. There will most likely be other paragliders surrounding you, preparing to take off themselves. As each one hurls himself into the abyss, you just may start questioning your life choices.
At this time, the instructor will go over all the basics. Pretty much, “Just keep running!!!” was the biggest instruction. I mean, he couldn’t have hounded this into my brain any further. Oh wait, yes, he could. He decided to tell me how if I didn’t keep running (even after my legs lifted off the runway) how he could lose control of the chute and well, he didn’t need to explain much more than that.
So we did some practice runs. “Keep Running!” He’d yell. (Doesn’t he know that running is my least favorite exercise!?)
It was at this time that I would occasionally peer out over the ledge that dropped into absolute nothingness. Ok. What have I gotten myself into!?
My instructor kept looking at the sky and checking whatever he needed to check. I’m sure it was something fancy like thermal dynamics or something. He would then look back and shake his head. At one point, he looked me in the eyes and said, “I just don’t think we are going to get it in today because of the weather.”
With each passing minute, my doubt of my own sanity began to grow. Ripping the bandaid off is one thing. But a slow, drawn out pull is almost torturous!
The problem is, not only am I clearly insane, but I’m also
a cheap ass incredibly frugal. To turn back now would mean throwing about $200 off that cliff into the unknown.
As thoughts of me regretting not saying my final goodbyes to my husband started entering my head, the pilot broke my trance with a,
“It’s now or never! We need to go NOW!”
I had no choice in the matter now. I started moving my feet. I started moving them, and just as I was instructed, I didn’t stop pumping my legs. I gave Forest Gump a run (pun intended) for his money. Just Keep Runnin’!!!!!
And so I kept running. I literally ran off the sheer drop mountainside cliff. My stomach lurched just in time for the chute to catch on the wind. Within a milisecond, the runway disappeared and all that was left under my running in mid air feet was thousands of feet of nothingness…oh, and some jagged, jagged rocks.
I kept running.
And then, just like that, I was soaring. I was soaring higher than the birds. I was paragliding in Germany in the Alps. I was actually doing it. It was at this time that I was told to “sit back into my bucket” and enjoy the ride.
Every bit of nerve fled my body and was replaced with sheer extacy. This WAS insane! Insane, amazing, exhilarating, rewarding, and magical!
Paragliding Neuschwanstein Castle
Within a few moments, we rounded the mountain side and we were presented with the most amazing bird’s eye view of the famous Neuschwanstein Castle. Earlier that morning we had walked up to and explored, what at that time, felt like a huge, looming fortress topping a mountain. Now, this gorgeous castle, so far below me, looked to be a miniature toy below that I could pluck right up.
While we were high in the sky, I was giddy with excitement as we floated high over the Cinderella Castle. This was happening. It was actually happening!!! What a fairytale moment in so many exhilarating ways!
It was at this time that we did a few loopty loops, twists and turns. You know, to really challenge my lunch from staying down.
And then the rest of the flight was spent in near silence as I gawked out over the Bavarian Alps and the sheer beauty of the mountains that gave way to lush, green fields that met glacial lakes far, far below me. I sat in the looming quiet as I peered at one of the most famous castles in the world from a vantage point, very few other people see.
The flight itself literally only lasted a few minutes. Before I knew it, we were making our descent and I was “but gliding” over the grass as the pilot brought us to a halt safely.
I don’t put items on my bucketlist for the sake of being able to say I’ve done something. I put bucketlist items on my list to be able to EXPERIENCE something so magical that I wouldn’t otherwise in my daily life.
To paraglide over the Neuschwanstein Castle in the beautiful Bavarian Alps was magical indeed.
^Add It To YOUR Bucketlist and Germany Travel Pinterest Board!^