Adrenaline in Switzerland
Bungee jumping had always seemed like a super exciting thing to do, and so finding the best bungee jumps in the world is a good way to procrastinate.
Now if you have watched the film Goldeneye, which is often seen as one of the best films in a certain spy series you will remember a very famous opening scene where a little plane flies into a valley, with a huge concrete dam taking up the vast majority of the cinema screen. We then see James Bond (well his stunt double Wayne Michaels) jump off the dam in a stunt which was so impressive it was voted 'The Best Movie Stunt of All Time' in 2002.
Soon after, they made the dream of re-enacting such as famous scene real, by allowing a commercial bungee jump operator create a bungee jump.
This isn’t any old bungee either. It’s 220metres high which made it the highest commercial bungee jump in the world! (Until Macau Tower overtook it by 13 metres in 2007).
So with the James Bond history, the location being in the beautiful Switzerland, and some cheap flights to Milan available…….me and Jimmy Rice decided that it was an epic way to spend a weekend.
So flights to Milan are usually pretty good, and after a little searching round it seemed the best way. We were able to jump on a train from Milan central station to Locarno. And being in Europe we didn’t suffer from the extortionately priced UK train rides. We were able to get a return ride for around €30, having a quick changeover in Bellinzona.
The ride takes around two hours, and the views along the way past some great lakes and mountain ranges make the trip pass pretty quickly. We’d managed to make it to the old city of Locarno which is an idyllic little place.
The Youth Hostel we stopped in was super clean and ideally placed for our adventures.
The Canyoning and Bungee Jump Combo
Day 1- Canyoning
Trekking.ch provide a bungy-canyoning package. While I didn’t actually know what canyoning really was, a couple of Youtube videos later and me and Jimmy both knew we may as well double up the weekend adrenaline wise, and I’m glad we did!
The canyoning was incredible, heading down through the gorges in Locarno, sliding down made slides carved out of the rocks, and taking jumps into plunge pools. The abseiling down and jumping through fairly tight gaps into pools was a huge rush, while some of the rock formations looked out of this world.
Canyoning wasn’t my bookitlist at the time….but since enjoying it so much in Locarno it’s had me looking around at places in Europe and even further to enjoy a little more of it.
After the canyoning, some nice food back in Locarno and also a few beers in the local town, it wasn’t the kind of place to go clubbing to the early hours, so we took an early night. The hostel was decent enough to sit around and have a few beers, as the sun went down. With the big jump being tomorrow, maybe I was a little nervous.
Day 2- The Bungee
We headed over on the short bus ride the next morning up to the dam, as you went through the valley, all of a sudden you got a glimpse of a concrete block. You’d then have it out of sight as you meander up the mountain, only to get another glimpe soon after.
With every glimpse it just got bigger and bigger, until it was time for us to get off and see it up close. We’d arrived a little early, so no one was around, we took a walk around the top, and the scale was just insane.
Looking down into Locarno looked pretty cool, but jumping off the dam seemed pretty scary. After a little head around the gift shops and a nervous trip (or two) to the toilet, we were ready to go.
There were a group of us ready to jump and going through the safety procedures. As we got closer to getting up and jump, more buses and people had arrived. As you step up onto the platform to make the big jump, there’s lots of people watching the spectacle.
First up was Jimmy, and he dived like a pro. On his way back up he was buzzing, speaking faster than ever, and his eyes wide open!
I couldn’t wait to get the same rush! I stood no the edge of the platform as the guy behind counts down. 3,2,1 GO!!!
As you jump off you get the first wave of adrenaline hit you full on! Then, you’re looking down, falling. The sound of the dam is rushing past you as you hurtle down. You’re now going some serious speed and you get what feels like a second huge rush of adrenaline as you approach the hard empty valley at the bottom.
Then you feel the bungee pull, you’re at the bottom as you get flung back up in the air! It was euphoric. A feeling never experienced, and a high of a lifetime. Bungee jumping is one of the most adrenaline pumping activities in the world, and a must for all adrenaline junkies.
A little more jumping Ponte dei salti
Ponte Dei Salti is a cool bridge in Locarno and has crystal clear waters underneath. It’s also by far the coldest water I’ve jumped in, in my life. The water comes rushing through the high mountains, and you can see straight through it.
After the rush of jumping off Verzasca, we were still on a high and headed on a little adventure. After jumping in from the most popular, and fairly high rock, I backed out of jumping from the bridge. One of my biggest regrets, and one I would atone in the Philippines Cliff Diving 3 years later.
Jimmy though, made the plunge.
A little Drama on the head Home
A trip wouldn’t be a trip without a little drama. Jimmy had been left in charge of accommodation and flights, which usually wouldn’t be a problem. This time though he outdid himself by not only booking the worst hostel imaginable in the suburbs of Milan. But he’d got the time wrong for the plane.
After being woken up in the early hours for Jimmy to say ‘shoot’ we have to go. I had a quick run to the toilet, well the in the whole in the floor of our 20 bed dorm (as you can imagine, not the best toilet facilities). We had to go through the rush hour of Milan out to Bergamo, in a taxi that was considerably more than our bus ride on the way in. The fare was ticking along the same frantic speed the clock that was racing against the check in closing time.
We did manage to make it though, €200 later. I’ve let Jimmy forget that expensive mistake…….well almost!
All in all a quality weekend! With Bungee Jumping and Canyoning adventures that are highly recommended.