We have all gone on the typical summer vacation. We’ve packed the family into the car, drove to the coast and sat around with a few thousand other people for a few days hoping for sunshine. Then it’s back into the car, and fighting the Sunday afternoon traffic back home. Don’t you think it’s time for something a little different?
Paragliding in Austria
Austria is a beautiful country, on the eastern side of the European Alps. The warm summers and the mid sized mountains south of Salzburg down to Villach make for perfect launching points for Paragliding. Whoa, Paragliding you say? Me? I can’t do that! Sure you can. Anyone can actually. I tried it out last summer for the first time and had an amazing time. For beginners, you can go where I took my first flight, in Villach, from the top of Gerlitzen. All through the summer until mid to late September, several parasailing companies launch daily from the mountain top, taking people on tandem flights that range between 20 and 40 minutes each depending on the weather.
This is an experience you definitely have to do at least once, and the scenery around Villach is stunning, particularly from your new peaceful vantage point hanging from the Parachute. If you can, bring along a helmet-cam so you can record the experience on video.
If you’d rather try something more low key, you could arrange a vacation around cooking lessons. One I’ve always wanted to try is an Andalusian cooking vacation. I love the whole concept of learning to cook amazing meals with local (to Spain) olive oil, wine, fish, and fresh herbs. These cooking vacations often include wine tasting, field trips to the local markets, tours of local production facilities, and the much needed hands on personal instructions from a knowledgeable chef.
Sample the local drinks
Sometimes staying close to home is a good alternative vacation. I find that when you live somewhere, you somehow loose that interest in the local attractions, food and drink. I get in this mindset that to go on vacation, I have to fly or drive somewhere. Well that’s not always the reality. You can have a great vacation just staying near your home. Have you ever explored the local drinks? I tried this recently, and it was really interesting. Most of us conveniently ignore the vivid and rich history that surrounds us, and the local traditions that come with it. Every village seems to have a speciality… a beer made from a recipe handed down through generations of brewers, or a schnapps made from locally grown fruits or berries.
Throughout the summer in the UK and across Europe you will find dozens of festivals. Almost all of them will have local producers displaying their wares. You can make it a point of spending a long weekend exploring and sampling the variety of local drinks… pick one that’s your favourite and share it here.