Tag Archives: Paragliding

The ride of your life – Paragliding in Merida

18 Aug

“Enjoy the ride of your life” advertised a large poster depicting an athletic young couple paragliding high above the Andean mountain city of Merida. We stopped in our tracks and stared at the image of them soaring gracefully in the sky, the wind in their hair whilst their tanned and toned bodies effortlessly manoeuvred the wing above their heads and before we could stop ourselves we were booking our own paragliding (tandem) flight. The reality, as we stood on the precipice with harnesses squeezing us in places not designed to be squeezed while strapped to the front of our instructor like baby kangaroos, was quite different. Red faces, sweaty palms and a total lack of co-ordination as our legs turned to jelly. “Are you ready?” yelled the instructor in our ears and just as we were about to shake our heads, we felt a force from behind and we were running down a mountain before launching ourselves off its steep side.

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A tale of two cities…seperated by the world’s longest mountain range

10 Aug

The Andes mountain range is one of the world’s most wondrous spectacles. It is the longest continental mountain range in the world stretching the entire west coast of South America for 4,500 miles or 7,242 kilometres and spanning seven countries – Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. The range has the highest mountains on the planet, outside of the Himalayas, the tallest of which is Aconcagua in Argentina (6,962m), plus over 50 volcanos reaching 6,000 metres, including the world’s highest, Ojos del Salado (6,893m). Filled with glaciers, lakes, ski fields, the ruins of lost civilisations, thriving cities and indigenous communities amongst other things, these mountains truly are a special place. Our small claim to fame in all of this was travelling the whole length of this incredible range in just over 8 months – from the city of Ushuaia at the ‘world’s end’ in the south of Patagonia, to the city of Merida in the north of hot blooded Venezuela. Continue reading

Lima – a love-hate relationship

18 Nov

It gripped us around the throat and slapped us hard in the face. Our first impression of Lima, Peru’s massive capital city, were not favourable. Our bus crawled painfully bumper-to-bumper through lanes of traffic jams for nearly 1.5 hours to reach the central bus terminal. Black smoke belched out from the cars and buses around us and an endless cacophony of car horns told of people’s daily frustrations. With large proportions of the city’s 8 million inhabitants crammed into shanty towns and dilapidated buildings on the outskirts of the city, the grey, unattractive urban mass sprawled in every direction. The blue skies we’d had elsewhere in Peru, had been replaced with a blanket of clouds and a chilly drizzle swept across the city from the coastline on which it sits. We noticed homeless people sleeping on the streets and shady characters hanging around on corners and, without thinking, we’d picked up our bags from the floor and were holding them tightly on our laps. If it’s true that first impressions count and you can make your mind up about someone or somewhere within the first 10 seconds, Lima would need to go on a charm offensive to win us round.

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