Episode 14 of our European Overland trip 2020
For those who prefer the vlog, it’s at the bottom… 😉
After a great week of flying in Greifenburg, the weather is changing (again…) and it’s time to move on. Greifenburg is the obvious flying site in the southernmost Austrian state Carinthia, famous for long and beautiful cross country flights. But because of all it’s advantages of transportation (shuttle, train), accommodation (Flieger Camp) and the facilities on the Emberger Alm, it has also kept us from exploring sites in the region.
Not this time. Together with our friends we drive west to Silian, a little town that lies between the Lienzer Dolomites and the South Tyrolean Dolomites. We go to the landingfield where lot’s of paragliders are already landing after their flight from the Thurntaler mountain. You find here 3 launches. (SO-NW) with a height difference of more than 1000 m and you can conveniently go up with the skilifts/gondola. The landingfield is close to the skilifts, which makes multiple flights easy.
If you get to launch here, there are great views over the Alps and the Dolomites and route directions in Drautal (Greifenburg) and Pustertal (Obertilliach). If…
As the wind is too strong we are advised by the friendly instructor on site to go to Obertilliach in the Pustertal. We check out the landingfield but have to keep going as the weather forecast predicts some thunderstorms. After an easy 10 minute walk we reach the launch. Koos takes off as soon as he can as the sky is getting darker and before we know it the first drops fall on our heads accompanied by roaring thunder. Hmmmm, not so good… Another warning that the conditions can change very quickly and unexpectedly in the mountains.
Koos lands safely and makes it back to the truck in time before it rains heavily. The three of us quickly pack our stuff and hide at a little shed, where a paragliding couple is already waiting for the storm to pass. Thunder, rain and wind force us to wait. And what to do then?
Our new friend Toni treats us to a concert on his kalimba and we wait it out. After about one hour there is a dry moment and we decide to take the skilift back down. It would have been possible to fly down, but why take the risk. It’s surely a site we are going to fly, but just not now. Time to cross the border into Italy!
Driving a 5 tons truck has it challenges. There are little villages that don’t want you to drive through, low bridges and tunnels that force you to take a detour and passes over the mountains that are too windy to take. So every now and then we have to consult the roadmap and or google a new route. So this is how we end up on the Passo Giau and we don’t regret it! The sunset and sunrise over the Dolomites are just jawdropping.
Unfortunately our fridge stops working and Koos and Edgar have to solve the problem as the fridge and freezer are full! Luckily they solve it quite quickly and the beer stays cool!
The following morning it’s Koos’ birthday and we decide to go for a walk on the pass. Funny how the goal changes while we walk in this beautiful area and we are rewarded with a birthday cake at 2500 m.
The route through the mountains is roadtrip worthy and takes us to Edgar’s favourite flying site… but that’s for the next episode.
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