A crazy plan, so you can call our idea. Twenty-four hours earlier we set off from Puerto Montt. 15 hours later, after a change to a plane in Calamie, we were supposed to be San Pedro de Atacama (SPdA). But … we do not got there! So what went “wrong” ?!
Well, one evening, before our departure to Chile, we called to a couple who was also travelling with a child (Gdzie są Kasperki ENG. Where are Kasperki), and who has just returned from Chile. They told us what they had seen and where they were. They mentioned also that they were in Iquique, and there flew on a paragliding. It did not take much to Karola hit on an idea, which then seemed unreal for many reasons – related mainly to financial issues and lack of time. What however was unreal, it did not proved to be impossible :-).
We had already booked an accommodation in SPdA (Airbnb). We knew that we would lose some of the accommodation. All the way from Puerto Montt to Calamy we were wondering how to organize everything so that not to lose too much time. and did not spend a fortune. Eventually we decided that we were going to Iquique just after arriving to Calamy and in SPdA we will be one day later than we planned. On the bus we started to send our requests for couchsurfing accommodation, hoping that we’ll find something.
However, this plan would mean that we were going to spend about 20 hours on different transport means. However, this plan would mean that we were going to spend about 20 hours on different transport means. Do we manage to do this ? And more importantly, whether Marianna manage?
In Calamie we rented a car. For the rental for 5 days we finally paid $ 330, which is a reasonable price to pay for the Citroen C3 and the standards in Chile. As with the previous Kia, the car was not a demon of performance, but it was much more comfortable and its wheels did not look like in Manias’ pram.
We hit the 350-kilometer journey in the north of Chile. The road from the beginning is slightly terrifying: the emptiness, the nothingness and the feeling of a total helplessness if anything happened. It is also very monotonous, but what can you expect in the desert? :-) As soon as we were able to get reception, we checked our e-mail box – perhaps someone decided to take us in. Only some 150 km before the Iqq the phone rang (we attached our phone number to the queries). Our future host, using rather poor English, sent us his invitation and the address by WhatsApp (in Chile everyone, from the youngest to the oldest use this application to talk). We were relieved because we would not have to wander Iqq in search of the accommodation.
But before we got to Iqq by about 100 kilometers we were looking for a petrol station – we got our C3 with the tank full in half. On the way to Iqq is one petrol station, so if you take a car and you do not want to drive with the idea that you stop in the middle of nowhere, and within a radius of 100 km, there will be not a soul around, you’d better tank the car up at the airport :-).
Ignacio, that was the name of our host, turned out to be very kind and helpful man. We could not only leave the car in a closed housing estate, but he also gave us a ride to a supermarket (nappies for the baby) and later for a dinner. There we met his girlfriend Andrea. In retrospect, it seems that it was the best restaurant with the best atmosphere. in which we had to eat in Chile. Mania about 9 p.m. demonstrated her discontent and tiredness with a loud cry. However, that day we were extremely proud with her that she was really brave because she spent the whole journey in her mum’s arms (we have not added that we were unable to rent a car with a child seat :-(.
We returned quickly to the apartment of Ignacio. Mania fell asleep in five minutes, and only then we realized what a crazy thing we are going to do tomorrow. And it is not about the paragliding. :-)
It’s the day. Today, for the first time in our lives we will be paragliding in tandem. Crazy ideas are the best :-). Initially we have agreed with Daniel (instructor from the school of Pure Vuelo) that Karo is going to paraglide in the morning, and I’m going to paraglide in the afternoon. However, the day before something happened and we changed our plans. Ignacio Andrea suggested that for those 1.5 hours they will take care of Mania and they will be waiting for us on the beach, in the place where we were supposed to land. In fact, such an idea hasn’t even come to our minds before. Contrary to our common sense, but according to an intuition or a sixth sense, we agreed :-). Even later, late at night, we were discussing whether it was a good idea and whether our hosts were not potential child kidnappers, whether we could trust them and whether if our hunches were not wrong. But surely you know that sometimes you just can feel in another person this good energy, something like this makes you believe that everything is going to be fine and nothing bad will happen. So it was this time.
Marianna stayed on the beach and we went on the hills. Our mood was not great. Such a separation with Mania after nearly two weeks together with no brakes was really difficult. Additionally, what can we say, we were stressed out with the situation.
When we reached the top and saw Iquique and the Pacific Ocean stretched 500 meters below, we felt weak at the knees :-). We realized that for several minutes we will rise even higher, and it’s really, really seriously happening :-).
On the faces of other people who, like us, have decided to experience the adventure of a lifetime, were painted probably the similar emotions. Some people were joking, others nervously walked back and forth on the hill, and some people tried to keep aloof. The ways to deal with stress were probably much more numerous :-). We focused on questioning our instructor for flight details, we were writing on WhatsApp with Ignacio how is Mania and also we were taking the pictures.
For the flight we had to wait a little longer – that day the weather was not too kind for paragliders – there was no wind. Despite of this fact, some less experienced people tried to jump (to the delight of those more experienced, including our instructors), but they fell down to the sand dunes as quickly as they took off from the hill.
Finally, after about an hour of waiting, it began to blow. Daniel, my instructor, he decided that we will try as the first from our team. That day I was the lightest person in tandem, potentially one could soar with me the most easily (annotation of Mario: I was probably the heaviest :-). My instructor as he learned how much I weigh said: “We do realy need a good start … ..and luck” :-) the emotions that accompanied the launching were more “tangible” than the big unknown feeling before the jump – you just had to follow the instructor’s tips and do exactly what he asks.
You just have to wear your harness and take a short run-up toward the cliff and … jupi !!! We’re flaying! :-). Fantastic, incredible, beautiful, best, wow, these are just a few of the words that come to our minds at that moment :-). This can be compared to swimming, to move freely in space without any restrictions, barriers, obstacles. Such a feeling, even though we know that it sounds probably corny, of total freedom and belief that you can do anything that you just need to want, etc. And these views, that are breathtaking, really breathtaking that you do not know what to say and you sit with an open mouth and watch and admire the impressive world around you. It’s just a beautiful thing.
You will probably think: well, you and your admiration. But what about the MARIANKA? :-). Mania, as it turned out, most of our soaring flights she slept in Ignacio’s arms.:-). They went walking, there was also a 15-minute small whining, she had time to play with a Christmas ball from the municipal Christmas tree and with sunglasses. Mania’s carers agreed that they could have a child who is as trouble-free as Mania. And at the same time we were glad that our daughter made her small independent steps to explore the world.