(Part 1 is yesterday back HERE.)
After our delicious Swiss dinner Anita took us on a walk up the mountain behind her house. The farmers who live on the land told her to feel free to pick as much fruit as she wanted so we filled our shirts and pockets with the most perfectly ripe fruit plucked right off the trees.
After all that we headed over to see the village where Anita grew up and visit her parents. But first we did a stop at her sister's house who lives on the way.
From there it was on to FLIMS at the foot of the Alps (where Anita grew up).
She has always told us it was gorgeous. We've seen pictures and totally believed her.
But man alive, I don't think pictures or descriptions could ever do this place justice.
It is an amazing place so thick with beauty it almost hurts your eyes.
This is the home she grew up in (to the left):
And THIS is her back yard:
We made her sit at her desk in her childhood bedroom to prove to our kids that she really lived there...
...and got to look at this view while doing her homework.
We got to talk to her parents for a little bit before heading to the hotel for our late night stay-up-and-discuss-the-world-even-though-we're-jet-lagged time.
The next morning Anita took us on a little hike around the lake near her home.
This is what they call the "Swiss Grand Canyon:"
Julie carted little Dean all over creation on this trip, and he was just the best baby ever with that smile most of the time:
Then back to the main town...
...where half of us (who had signed up a few weeks before) took off with some paragliding guys to take our try flying over the valley.
We wove up a steep mountain in their van...
And then there we were, at the tippy top of the mountain.
It was cold up there, and we knew it would be even colder in the air, so Anita had set me up with her fur cap, and my tandem paragliding guy whipped out a whole sweet purple suit for me to wear and started getting me all outfitted.
Here's the main guy in charge with Kristi:
I somehow don't have a picture of Saydi and her guy at the top of the mountain but here they are at drop-off (funny that she got paired with the New York Yankee guy when she's such a Red Sox fan...hope your kids don't see this Sayds :)
Here we are right after take-off:
That was our second try. My sweet partner guy didn't speak much English so I don't know what happened but I guess the parachute didn't make it all the way open for the first attempt. But on the second try we were up and running and I don't know if there are words to describe the exhilaration up there in that quiet golden sky with the slanted sun rays lighting up the earth so gorgeously.
I just tried sky diving last year and I fell head over heels in love with it. I thought this would be kind of similar. I mean, jumping into the air with a parachute had to be pretty much the same, right?
But I was totally wrong.
Sky diving was all about the sheer thrill (and it was pretty dang beautiful too), and paragliding was just all about the peaceful soaring. We were up there for 45 minutes letting the wind lift us higher and further, just breathing in the breathtaking vistas.
Here's my landing:
(Again, second attempt...something wasn't quite right the first time we tried so we got to go on another spin and I loved every second of it, wishing it wouldn't end.)
Kristi's guy took her up one more time to do some loops that they missed out on while Saydi and Charity and I got some Swiss hot chocolate to warm us up.
We were all so pumped up on our way down the mountain, our hearts filled with all that wonder of flight and beauty. Our guides were cracking us up too...such great guys.
If you ever find yourself in Switzerland and have a hankering to paraglide, try these guys:
They pretty much rock.
Our main guide told us one of the best places to paraglide is actually right in Draper, Utah if you can believe it. But he must have been talking about the power of the wind there, not necessarily the beauty, because I'm pretty sure flying over the prison at the point of the mountain couldn't be quite as beautiful as our little spot on the top of the mountain in Ilanz, Switzerland with houses like this dotting the hills on the way down:
I love Switzerland.