Sunset paragliding

Episode 20 of our European Overland trip 2020

For those who prefer the vlog, it’s at the bottom…

After 3,5 weeks of enjoying beautiful but hot Sicily we make our way back north again. We find a parking area next to a souvenir shop/bar/snackbar on the Vesuvius overlooking Napels. The owner – a very talkative lady – tells us that it’s okay to spend the night here for free but we should be aware that most visitors come into the shop to spend some money and support them. We are lured into the shop, wondering what to do, and we are offered books that daddy wrote – ah, meet the brothers – a pasta dish that doesn’t sound very appealing and lot’s of souvenirs we wouldn’t want to give to friends or family in a million years. The more hesitant I become, the more pushy the lady becomes. Okay, we’ll take two cold beers and we dissappear as soon as possible in the truck and enjoy the nightfall over Napels.

We have a quiet night on the Vesuvius. This wasn’t the case in the year 79, when during an eruption the city of Pompei was covered in ashes. It caused the death of 16.000 citizens. A huge excavation now shows how life was before the eruption. You can walk down the streets and with a little bit of imagination you can see full streets and happy lives in decorated houses and pretty gardens. It’s an enormous city and a big area still has to be recovered from underneath meters of ashes. Definetely worth visiting.

We are ready for some nice flights as Sicily was a bit disappointing when it came to flying sites, so we drive straight to Monte Cucco. One of our favorite sites in Umbria and great for hanggliding and paragliding – if there is not too much wind…

When the conditions are good there are always lot’s of pilots and you can camp next to the launch area.

Koos takes out the hangglider, the last time was in Freudenhausen (Episode 6!), and has some fun airtime. The great thing about Monte Cucco is that you can easily top land, so there’s no need to drive down and pick him up. This mountain is also called Monte Cacca because of all the horses and cows that roam free…

The next two days we take the paragliders out and hang around Monte Cucco. We decide to not go XC but just enjoy the mountain. Especcially at sunset it’s amazing air!

Cloudbase is low and we drive to Monte Subasio where we meet Barbara and Gunter from Raw Abenteuerreisen who organize amazing trips around the world. But now they too are stuck in Europe because of corona. So we spend a nice afternoon playing in the air under the clouds.

We continue our trip through Tuscany, stop at the historic city of Spello. Just another gem with beautiful houses, small streets and flowerpots everywhere.

Near Monterondo Marittimo, yet another beautiful Tuscan village, we visit a geothermical site. The ground is almost 100 degrees and in some places the steam comes out. It’s almost as if we are on a different planet…  

In Meduno we finally meet up with our flying buddies Hans and Christine for fourth time this roadtrip. The weather forecast for the next couple of days is hopeful and it’s a great opportunity to fly together again. Monte Valnis has a huge launch area on two different heights and is suitable for both hanggliders and paragliders. So it’s busy!

You can top land but it’s only for experienced pilots. It has good thermal conditions and xc possibilities, but you can also soar the mountain. The landing area is also huge and the bar is very conveniently located.

As anticipated corona is back and the number of infections is rising. The owner of the campsite where we stay tells us that we have to leave because we’re from a ‘red’ country. But when we explain that we have spend over more than 2 months in Italy she makes a couple of calls and we are allowed to stay. Well, it’s time to head back home anyway.

So after a couple of nice days with Hans and Christine, and rain coming in from over the Alps, we say goodbye and make our way over the mountains.

Where we are treated to…

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