Go Wild And Go Paragliding Over The Caucasus Region - Fly Caucasus Paragliding
"I don't have an eVisa but my Schengen Tourist Visa is still valid." I sweetly said to the officer on the passport control when I land at Tbilisi Airport. He made a phone call and explained the situation. I can easily read on his face that he didn't get the answer that he wanted. He then put down the phone and looked at me who has been smiling the entire time. The next thing I know was I'm free to pass the immigration area.
Until today, I'm not sure if he let me through because of my Schengen Tourist Visa defence, my huge please-let-me-through smile, or the fact that it was two o'clock in the morning and he can't be ass to interrogate me. Either way thank you, Sir!
So that's how my trip in Georgia started, oh, I also had the most awkward experience when I took a taxi from the airport to the city (but that's another story). I heard Georgia will be best to visit either summer or winter because of its beautiful mountains. Arriving in September isn't a bad idea although it's rated as low season.
After a few research (which I'm very bad, by the way), I found out that Georgia is famous for paragliding. Well, who doesn't want to go paragliding and fly over the Caucasus region? So I decided, paragliding it is!
I'm quite an adventurous person, I love heights (although sometimes I still get nervous, I guess I'm getting old!). Paragliding sounds wild and fun to my ears. After checking Google the best paragliding company, I've got Fly Caucasus as one of the most popular with great reviews for this exciting activity.
Journey to Gudauri to meet the Fly Caucasus Paragliding Team
Gudauri is where the Fly Caucasus Paragliding operates. This is located roughly two hours away from Tbilisi. I took a 3 USD minibus. The journey was amazing, I get to see the stunning lake of Ananuri on the way.
After two hours, I was dropped off in Gudauri town, I let the Fly Caucasus Paragliding team that I arrived. After half an hour, they picked me up. And that's when the wild and fun began.
It was freezing cold that time of the year, it was around 5 degrees, so prepare your heavy jackets if you are coming at this time. We drove with a 4x4 off-road and climbed the muddy mountain with it. I have never ridden a 4x4 offroad before, but I found it really fun! Especially that the team was very friendly and cool.
The Fly Caucasus Paragliding team has someone who was in-charge to check out the best take-off point to make sure that the wind and view will coordinate. Unfortunately, it was cloudy when I was there. Fly Caucasus Paragliding and I had to move the dates a few times to make sure that it's safe to fly. Remember to book as early as possible to give room for some plan changes.
After arriving at our takeoff area, we started setting up the materials and began to gear up. Fly Caucasus Paragliding has all the safety gears you need to assure your safety. They explained to me the safety procedures and what to do for the takeoff. Most of the team speaks very well English, it was easy to communicate. They provide the action camera, so, no need to worry if you don't have one!
"Okay, are you ready?" My pilot asked me. "Yeah, I am." I cheerfully responded. "Remember to keep running, don't sit or bend down". I nodded as it sounds easy.
"Ready? 1,2,3 RUN!"
Andddd I fell on my bum! Ha, it was my first time please bear with me! Don't worry if you fail the first time, the whole team was very friendly and helpful.
We tried again. Okay, Mary, you can do this...
"Ready? 1,2,3 RUN!" I run and run and run and run. "Now we're flying" my pilot declared.
I couldn't think of what to say. It was beautiful. I can see the frosted ice in the mountains looking like a painting. The cute fluffy sheep are just below my feet. The cows and horses seem to like having their afternoon siesta time. Everything seems small from our view, it looks so unreal.
My pilot was very nice, he told me about the view we can see from above. He was very professional and I never felt unsafe the entire fly. He asked if I'm dizzy or nervous. I wasn't at all, I was just quite because of the bizarre view in front of me.
After 10 minutes, we went a little bit higher where we were greeted by some snow. It was a cool and definitely cold experience, ha! After 20 minute ride, it was relaxing to be up there and I thought that paragliding wasn't that wild.
But my pilot knows how to get the adrenaline pump, we started to fly faster and go in a swinging motion. My heart starts to beat fast and excited. I felt like I was riding a roller coaster that keeps descending, my heart was in my throat.
After flying this way for a good three minutes, we are ready to land. Things went quite fast and all I know was we were sitting on a field and I was laughing.
I had the best time with the Fly Caucasus Paragliding, the entire ride was great plus the journey with 4x4 off road. I highly recommend them if you are thinking to go paragliding. I'm surely going back for the winter or summer at some point. The whole team was great and very professional. They provide great tips to make sure you will have the best fly. you can easily tell them if you want a wild fly or just a mild one.
They even went an extra mile to help me get my hitchhike ride back to Tbilisi, which was a great idea!
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