Besides paragliding, another really cool thing about Mathias and Nadine is that they own a completely restored 1966 VW Camper Van. My dream. As I lay in our chilly little tent, I zipped the flap down so I could stare enviously at the warm glow emanating from the VW - knowing that they were sleeping on a mattress with custom-made pillows to match the curtains. Sigh.
The next morning we got up early and hiked to the top of the alp that Mathias and Nadine were using as a jumping off point. It was a decent-sized hike and I'm becoming increasingly convinced that Thomas keeps me firmly on a "need to know basis" when it comes to hiking. He's big on the "It's not too steep, it won't take too long" trail descriptions. Because he knows that once he has me halfway up, I won't wuss out. Lucky for me, we made lots of photo stops because the scenery was just so outstandingly beautiful. And, of course, we had lunch at the top. But instead of Kasespaetzel and beer, it being Italy and all, we had polenta. And wine. Nice.
After lunch, we got to watch Mathias and Nadine do their thing. How one trusts a piece of fabric and some strings to hold you up when you are higher than the highest alp is beyond my comprehension. Practically beyond my imagination. They were so, so, so high. Thomas' pictures are misleading but know this - he was using a super, duper long lens. Those kids were make me sick in my stomach just watching high.
On Saturday we packed up our tent and headed to Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet, to celebrate my birthday - hotel style. We spent the time seeing the sights - the Roman amphitheater which was gearing up for a production of Aida, romantic Piazza after romantic Piazza, narrow alleys, Medieval castles and inspiring churches. That night we serendipitously found a great place for dinner, shared a bottle of wine, shared our three course meal and then stopped (twice) for gelato on the way back to the hotel. Sweet.