learning to fly

Learning to fly!

Soon after coming back this year I am sitting at home being pretty bored…. I need a new challenge! In the recent years I met several people who are paragliding. I have already been fascinated by this sport since I saw people flying in the alps when I was a child plus one of my best friends has been doing it all his life. I asked him several times already to show me how to do it not knowing nothing about it. This time after seeing so many paragliders in Nepal I am kind of hooked. And, honestly, we all have been dreaming about to fly since we were children, haven’t we?

After doing a little research I find a flight school not too far away from my home. I call them and immediately like Hans, the owner of the school I am talking with. A few days later the weather seems to be perfect and I go to flying school for the first time. I spend a very exhausting day “ground handling” which means trying to control the paraglider standing above you in the wind – not even coming close to take off.

Second day I am way better, and try the first short flights at the practice hill. I never go higher than maybe 20m and don’t fly further than 200m but I love every second from take off to landing. When you start you lay down the glider behind you – then you pull the “A lines” to fill it with air and rise the wing above you – you break it so it will not overtake you then make a few steps down the hill to accelerate. Your feet lose ground and slowly you are lifted into the sky – its incredible!

After some more days at the practice hill I do my first altitude flight in Plankenstein with a height difference of 340m (which usually takes about 5 to 7 minutes). My first flight was in the evening with the air being very calm but enough remaining thermal to keep me up pretty long. I just fly into the setting sun and enjoy – this is definitely one of the best things I have ever done.

From now on I spend every second I can flying. Soon I learn how it is to fly rough conditions. In thermals rising me with more than 5 m/s I get my first front collapse. Still I am trying, everything is new and its very hard to control the glider. I have to think about every action I take and it reminds me a lot of learning to drive a car. You need to think about thing like clutch, gear, brake,…. Before you do something. Flying rough conditions is exhausting and scaring but I learn very quickly. I fly many different spots and soon experience conditions when it is harder to sink than to rise.

Hohe Wand in the south of Vienna is a place like this. It’s a 400m tall, several kilometers wide rock wall facing the flats to the southeast. Another place I fly a lot is Oetscher mountain in the Mountains of lower Austria. Another amazing place where one time I share a thermal with an eagle flying next to each other eye in eye for several minutes.
After around 80 flights I slowly get a feeling for the paraglider. Like when driving a car I do not feel so much separated from the glider anymore – we start becoming one step by step. I slowly start reacting without thinking and during my best flight yet I make 40km (circling and soaring in a laminar wind which blows up the hillside) for a little more than an hour and then land for a break on the spot where I started! And all this within less than 3.5 months after my first flight. By now I own my own wing of course and go flying pretty independent. Though its always scary to be the only one starting out I enjoy exactly these moments most: alone or together with a good friend up in the air and getting blown away up!

my flying school close to vienna

Innsbruck – Monte Carlo

 November 30. 2013

Km today: +-700

N43˚44’31” E007˚25’33”

Today I wake up early even though it was late yesterday – I promise myself to properly sleep for the first time in a week in Monte Carlo. A friend of mine lives there with her boyfriend and I ve been planning to visit them for a long time. Unfortunately they went to make honeymoon surprisingly. Ursi was very kind to leave their key for me at a neighbor so I am now in their apartment only 4 minutes walk from the place Ayrton Senna died so dramatically… Well, but how did I get here?

Weather is bad today and there is snowing heavily. I try to find somebody who can help me with the computer problems because it will be easier to solve with german speaking people. All the small companies who offer help are closed on Sunday and the only guy I reach sound so ill on the phone that I feel bad for even calling him… With very little hope I call Ditech, a company who sells cheap and good quality hardware mostly by internet. They have a retail shop in Innsbruck and as I explain my problem and what I am doing they tell me to come.

Quickly I pack my stuff, give a hug and say good bye to Noemi, her flat mate Ilka who is busy moving out and the other guys who help her and bring my stuff down. Fortunately snow had stopped falling so I clean it of my bike, fix my luggage and go. At Ditech they test the wifi which is actually working…. Awesome! For the big SD cards they try several cardreaders and finally find one that works! 5 euro and all problems are done. The day before a guy at Hartlauer, who should have good service at the shops sold me a cardreader for 15 euro that does not work… Never mind, all is well and I leave Innsbruck heading south well before lunchtime!

On Brenner Pass I see the sun several times and when I ride down to Italy (nice gopro movie btw) the surrounding turns from white to green again. I am freezing again as the view makes me feel like it should be warmer. It’s around 700km for today so I have to keep going! Stopping only when I need petrol having quick cappuccinos then my ass and my hands start hurting. The grips are really hot (they are heated) but it is comfortable because otherwise I would probably freeze.

After the first stop it starts raining again until sunset. Fortunately it stops when I make the second petrol stop because at this time all turns white again. A little after dark the flat turns into mountains again as I approach the sea. Riding down the hills near Terrarossa it becomes warmer but a very strong and sudden wind makes riding dangerous! At the last petrol stop I change the sd card of the gps to get the French map and find out it does not find the address ursi gave to me. No problem, it’s around 7 pm and I will find it before it is too late – only 50km to go to Monte Carlo and I can’t wait to get a real hot shower there! The view at San Remo at night from above is amazing and soon I arrive in Monaco.

The first people I ask for the way, speak French only so I hand them the cell phone with the message in which I got it. The first guy is very friendly and sends me the right way, second one is tourist in a very fancy car and sends me to a local on the next corner. The guy is a little drunk, takes my phone, deletes the message and tells me he only speaks French…. Fuck you, that was my only note of the address! I exhale and decide to stay calm. I said the name of the street a few times already so I just have to keep repeating – first find the street then we will see. 1 minute later I am there. It’s a very small boulevard, Ursi first said she will leave the key at a pharmacy, which I am glad she did not because it is Saturday night now! Ursi said there is a motorbike park just in front of the house and I remember the first name of Ursis neighbor….  That should do it. I find a motorbike park right next to a pharmacy and stop the bike. I go to the door in between and read the doorbells… HARIOM! First I see the name of my friend and then, not the first name of her neighbor but I immediately recognize her family name. It’s an old, French speaking lady and she is a little confused because I am so late – she expected me days ago!

YES! For a moment I was really afraid to be stuck at one of the most expensive places in the world (at least it looks like) after a ride of 700km in the freezing cold and no place to go…. I quickly put my stuff in the apartment and then go out to find some food. It’s a really crazy place, people here are very rich, very styled and all look like from the cover of a fashion magazine. And in between me! Dressed like a Nepali…. Food is pretty expensive in the most places but somewhere between the famous Casino curve and the tunnel where Ayrton Senna died I meet a rich Indian guy and ask him in hindi for a place to get food. He smiles and shows me the way to a fast food place – not what I wanted but it’s one of the cheaper ones here which does definitely not mean “cheap” by western standards! I recognize that all the people I asked for the way were extremely friendly even though I rather look like from the cover of the rolling stone…. I really appreciate this. I like Monte Carlo – it’s this crazy glitter and glamour world, nothing seems to be real but everybody very important, and very nice!

 

Krems – Innsbruck

 

First part of the journey is done! I am in Innsbruck now! The ride to here there was a cold and strong wind and it was snowing all the way. Not funny on the motorbike. If this was not enough the power supply for the new gps didn’t work which wasn’t a problem here but no time for fixing as I want to be in Monaco by tomorrow evening. I arrive in Innsbruck arround 8 in the evening being incredibly tired as I didn’t sleep more than 3 hours the nights before.

I just want to take a look at the movie I made and eat something to find out the wifi of my laptop doesn’t work again and cards bigger than 32gb are not supported! Even the gopro cam seems to have a problem…  Shit! I am really done by now and only the loving welcome of Noemi, Stefan and there friends make me feel like I can handle it. Next day morning the weather is beautiful and I cant wait to get on the bike. I quickly buy a new cardreader which doesn’t solve the problem at all and then start direction Italy. A short stop at the petrol station to put fuel, I put the bike on the side stand and as I get of it slowly sinks down. The heavy weight of my luggage bended the metal plate that holds the stand!

 The first mechanic I ask, Markus from Mototech in Innsbruck is a really nice guy and trys very hard to help me by calling many friends who might know somebody riding the same model being ready to sell me his spare part as it is winter anyway. I take a ride 35 km to the next KTM dealer but all they can tell me is that they don’t even can tell when they will be able to deliver the spare part.After several close looks at the part that makes the problem and after calling my good friend Markus (one more)who rides the same bike I get an idea how it might be possible to weld the side stand… I go back to Markus (Mototech) and while he welds the side stand I stretch the chain and fix the gps power supply. The welding is done amazingly well and as there is some time left to the evening and I cant leave today anyway I ask Markus if it would be possible to quickly change the oil. He smiles at me saying no, it IS possible to change the oil but with my motorbike it is NOT possible to do it quickly. Half an hour later the motorbike is in parts again and I know what he means – Changing the oil of my KTM is nearly more work than changing the engine of an enfield!

 Dear guys from Mattighofen (KTM factory) I really love my bike and I rode more than 30.000km within the 7 months of the last year I spent in Austria – not a single problem. But at the moment I really start doubting a little bit if it makes sense to put for example the spark plugs of a travel enduro where the andventure has its…  Changing them must be a days work I believe… Anyway I have a lot of fun this afternoon and by the evening all the little things that had to be done were finished. At a point when I was drinking a coffe and wandering around in the workshop I noticed some sheets of paper.  I immediately recognize the specific shape – lines with triple spacing and single letters in between the lines. On top I read “Neil Young” and smile. I showed him a pictue of Suryananda which is the cover of my songbook before so now I take it again and smilingly show him the inside. Of course I leave a copy of the file on his computer before I leave. For farewell I hug Markus pretty unexpected as he offers his hand, but accepts my hug immediately, just feels like its not so usual amongst his costumers motorbikers mostly…  

 When I check the gopro cam again it seems to work today so only the computer issues left – no pictures, no movies and no wifi. That’s in fact the only things I need the computer for and they don’t work! But all will be fine – in the evening I make a little music in the flat and this day becomes one of the really happy ones. Thank you, Markus, Noemi, Stefan and to all the people who shared there love with me here!

 

Motorradtour durch die Alpenmotorcycling through the alps

Die Strasse auf Google maps:

http://tinyurl.com/mmq4tkt

The road on google maps:

Die Route

Smederevo – Home

29.4.2013

Km counter: 45488 today: 736

Sum: 10.372 km

Days on the road: 29

Petrol consumption: 1,35 m3

N42°15’56” E024°18’31” – Home

I wake up when the sun rises and lose no time to leave. Today I want to cross Romania and Hungary and if I succeed this will be my last day on the road. But yet it is more than 700km to go to my mothers house where I want to spend my first nights in Austria. River Danube is incredibly beautiful here with its big islands in the middle of the stream. Soon I stop at a closed café with a water pipe outside to make some coffee and go to the toilet. I really have a desire to get a shower so I try the pipe but the water is too much cold. No problem I stop again a few kilometers later at a small lake and have a wonderful refreshing bath there. Feeling full power now I believe nothing can stop me. I stop at a small village to get my Serbian flower and when I want to leave the gas wire snaps again.

I smile, fix the rope and drive Suryananda horse riding style again to the next town. I ask a few people but nobody wants to help. They are not really unfriendly but just not interested at all. After some time I find a taxi driver who tells me the way to a mechanic who is close by. By now I can fix it myself, I just need the tools. The mechanic doubts if his wire will fit because he has diameter 1.5mm only an mine is 1.25… I smile at him and put in his wire, no problem. By the time I start talking to another guy who is at the workshop and who seems to be very nice. After fixing the car Danijel invites me to his home to meet his family and have coffee. As he even offers me to take a hot bath I just can’t say no. Of course we have to make a sightseeing tour after coffee and bath. The arrea is amazingly beautiful so it is late afternoon when I arrive at the tiny border station. Romanian customs can’t believe when I tell them where I come from and the official part takes less time then they need for taking pictures. I am back in the European union!

I like what I see from Romania. It is flat and green here. My eyes enjoy the gentle green and the old villages. I stop at a nice restaurant and eat my first wiener schnitzel for a very long time. I enjoy a coffee in the low sun and leave after singing a few songs for a few guys who arrived while I was eating. Its not far to go to the border, sunset is coming and I have no flowers yet. I drive for half an hour seeing no flowers at all but then, as its getting almost dark I see a wonderful garden directly at the road and an old guy watering tulips and roses. Immediately I stop. As he doesn’t understand what I am talking about I show him my dried flowers and point on a map. By now his wife came out of the house and I recognize they are a really cute old couple. Flowers are no problem, they give me some tulips as the roses are not flowering yet. I say thank you and continue as I want to be at the border before its completely dark.

The border is passed before recognized. They laugh at my craziness as usual and I am free to go. After the border I have problems to pay the road toll. System is down until 2 am but will be no problem they say, just go… I follow the navigation system which seems to be a little lost in a tiny village after the border. Soon I am at a small road heading towards Szeged – this can’t be right! But I am curious so I stay on the road. Suddenly the navigation system shows a ferry to come! Its short after dark so I hope the ferry will still be working and go on. I pass a flood dam and when the gps shows 1km to the ferry the road disappears in the black. I hit the brakes and recognize my front wheels are underwater when I stop. Again I regret having no camera for taking a picture of this situation. I nearly drowned together with Suryananda because there is a flood and no whatever warning! (The place is marked with the “C” at the linked map) I turn around and after getting a coffee and a flower I go on the highway. Traffic is ok and I have a target in front of me. I enjoy the road at night, my mind is clear and the kilometers pass quickly now. Still I am little paranoid because of the road toll story so I leave the motorway at 2 am about 50 kilometer before the border to Austria. At about 3.30 am I arrive at my mothers place. After more than 10.000 km I am at a place I call home. But home…. Isn’t that the neverending concrete appearing in the lights of suryananda? The beaches and the mountains? The mechanics work shops and the cafes full of artists?

Thank you for reading my adventures my friends. I will be back on the road soon! Hope to see you there and if you feel like I can help you with any question feel free to contact me on facebook! I also have a little surprise for all of you which will be online soon!

Save journey to all of you!

HariOm!

Istanbul – Austria – Istanbul

22. -25.4.2013

Monday I quickly do what needs to be done so I can leave like printing the ticket, going to a barber, packing my stuff and cleaning Suryananda. Way too quickly! I am ready around ten thirty and my shuttle is leaving at two. Reggae café is not open yet son ne yapabilirim (what to do)? I walk down to the ocean and a little around town. I like Istanbul! When I get back to Suryananda it’s way too late. The shuttle is supposed to leave in 4 minutes so I quickly grab my bags and run. At the travel agency there is no shuttle. I get a coke and some chocolate, open the coke, put the chocolate in the hand luggage and check my stuff. I don’t find my money! Except a few Lira I have nothing on me. I ask when the shuttle will be coming and if there is time to quickly check the car. I run to suryananda and back – without any success. I need a chocolate. In fact not that much of a problem as a friend will pick me up at the airport in Vienna and the wallet must be either at the car or somewhere in my luggage. I don’t find the chocolate! Seems like the small bag is eating my stuff! When I am just starting to check the big bag the shuttle arrives. At least I found the chocolate. I close the bag and try to feel satisfied with the thought that I will find the money like the chocolate and it will be no problem. At the airport I finally find my wallet in a side pocket of my bag.

At the check in I ask for a window seat but they tell me no possible – plane is full but I can sit in the middle. When I get on the plane an old lady is sitting on my seat (6 in a row I had D) and the window seat is free. I say nothing and take the window seat as I believe it is probably hers. A minute later a man who obviously knows her comes, takes her seat and she swaps in between us. Another minute later she stands up and I never see her again. I have no idea what had happened but I have a window seat no neighbor in an airplane that is completely full! Nice! A nice flight later I meet my friend Stefan at the airport. I am very happy to see him and we go to his flat in Vienna where I will spend my first night in Austria. I can’t wait to get a hot bath so I go to the bathroom full and step in just after turning on the water. Hmmm, no hot water… I ask Stefan for help but after a few attempts we give up. No hot water!!!! What for did I come to Austria but hot spring water from the mountains? Probably that’s the price for the window seat I think. The evening with Stephan passes much too fast and soon both of us go to sleep.

Tuesday I take a walk through the city first. After half an hour I stop at a new Indian restaurant to drink chai. The chai tastes like shit. I contact Sybille, a friend and yoga teacher colleague who lives close. She is surprised about me being here and invites me for breakfast. I can’t wait to get real bread! And real jam! Cheese! Hot bath! All my wishes are fulfilled now! Thank you once again Sybille. In the afternoon I have an appointment I came to Vienna for (fish pass needs to be built) and then I go on to my mothers place. I would love to get my motorbike as temperatures are around 25° but this is unfortunately not the plan yet. Wednesday I spend a nice day with my mother visiting the town where she grew up. Austria actually is amazingly beautiful…. If many of the people were not that strange it would be a great place to live! Ne yapabilirim I think. We get very nice dinner at a restaurant on a hill and enjoy an amazing sunset. We get back late so my mother goes to bed soon and I leave again to meet a friend who is living just around the corner – I have not much time here and I have to spend it wisely.

Thursday I sleep long and have nice breakfast with my mother again. We arrive at the airport having a lot spare time, go for another coffee and I check in. The stewardess at the check in counter seems to like me and gives me a window seat, without neighbor, on a plane that is full…. Wtf? Even though the cold water last time I decide this to be a good omen and enjoy the flight.

Today is Helins birthday and I can’t wait to see the girls in the evening. For a moment it seems like they have to study but soon Helin and two friends and then Versile and Deniz arrive. The evening becomes an amazing surprise party for Helin. When I sang “Start wearing purple” last week Helin was singing with me as she knows and likes the song so my birthday present for her is a purple Indian pant. She looks amazingly beautiful wearing it and it will be great for the yoga classes too! We all enjoy the evening a lot and again I fall in love…. Istanbul is a really amazing place and its seems like there might be a need for yoga teachers here! Another evening passes much too fast and we have to say good bye much too fast. I promise to be back after their exams and that we will do a yoga weekend then.

Tomorrow I want to meet Evelina whom I know from facebook because she is writing an amazing blog too (daily witchcraft). When we found out we are in Istanbul at the same time we decided to meet immediately of course. Unfortunately she missed a boat so she couldn’t come today. So tomorrow I will meet her, maybe store some yoga mats at reggae café and then definitely maybe move direction to the Bulgarian border. Inshallah.

Vienna – Dubai – Delhi

HARIOM! Hello my friends! I am most happy to welcome you in my travelblog again. I really had a hard time to find a way to get a visa for Pakistan but hopefully this problem is solved now. So I am very happy I can say I will probably be on the road again making daily reports at the end of January. Today I arrived in Pushkar so from now on there will be updates again. Promise.
For now let´s start with the story of my journey to Pushkar which will offer some surprise already.

I left Austria on Thursday taking emirates airlines to india having enough time on my stop in Dubai to visit the city. Leaving from the new skylink terminal was extremely confusing and even worse – I wanted to get dinner at the airport with my mother before leaving. Unfortunately all restaurants at the new international airport in the huge metropolis Vienna close at 9.00 pm. Well all but one, and this was nearly sold out. I had a nice Rindsgulasch with Semmelknödel which was to be my last proper food until arriving in Pushkar. It was amazing!

For the flight I managed to get a window seat so I was most likely to be able to sleep all flight. But then a young mother appeared to sit next to me asking me if I would change seat with her small daughter who sat at the way in the middle. No sleep so but I was sitting in the middle of three couples – two of them being fighting all night. Friday morning at half past seven I arrived pretty exhausted in Dubai. Visa? On arrival and for free!

Outside an Indian taxi driver was waiting for me to show me the city. Some bargaining later I agreed to pay much too much having in mind that the trip will take much more than the 2 hours we had agreed to. Dubai is a crazy city. It´s like completely clean – even though its full of Indian and Pakistani people! I could hardly believe! And the skyscrapers are too big even to fit on the fisheye of my camera. Even the bus stands have air condition! I had breakfast (aloo parantha) went to an (Indian) barber to get rid of the fur around my head and finally bought a t shirt in an indian shop (which in fact had been most necessary because even the single warm pullover I was dressed with was much too hot here). I made friend with the driver quickly so the trip to the city took little more than 4 hours and I had only 2 hours left to wait. Back at the airport I soon was nearly freezing in the very comfortable smoking lounge. I took out my guitar and soon after I started to sing I was surrounded by a pile of…. Indian people!

I caught my flight in the afternoon and this time made the real deal with the seat! First row window seat! JAI HO! Even the service was much better than on the first flight the stewardess who served me being a very cute girl from Serbia who is living in Dubai now. I like Dubai more and more. Like every time I come to Delhi by plane I enjoyed the moment when the smell of delhi hits the passenger room a lot. It really feels like coming home!

Austria

My visa for India was finished at April three so this was the day I came back to Austria by airplane. Suryananda is waiting for me in Pushkar. There were elections in Myanmar so it might be possible to continue the journey in autumn and drive direction Australia. Anyway I have a ticket back to india in August so only short time to spend in the cold.
To read all the overlandjourney from Austria to india from the beginning go www.hariom.at/?m=201109

Villach to Zagreb

After a short stop at the border of slovenia (picture in the pervious posting) I went on to Laibach where I had a walk in the city and some Internet at a fastfood store. At the border to Croatia I took the wrong lane first (damn navigation system) and was in a row with all the trucks first. After I managed to find my way to the right lane the custom guys looked at my car, then at me, after at suryananda (my car) again…. “Where are you going?” they asked so I replied:”To india! look at all the visa in the passport!” Then they smiled gave my passport back to me and said “Nice, good luck for you!”