After the end of the tandem season I got enrolled on a Master’s studies in Ljubljana, Slovenia and on the third weekend of October I did my first flight here, let’s say it was quite different.. in a good way.
They have this ridge here in the west part of Slovenia it’s around 50-60 km long and rises steeply from the flats in the west. The take off is on 580m and it is very easy to get high on the abundance of thermals. There are more take-offs on this ridge still to be seen.
This region was hit by lots of rain “the Dark Bora” is the name so about two weeks there was almost zero flying and there I was first at the rendezvous point the bar Njam Njam at the landing place, waiting for Igor, the local guru and the man in charge of the bar on the first decent looking flight day after a long time. When I got there and I got there around 10 o’clock it was totally empty, cloudy and wet. After waiting for an hour or so some people started to appear apparently from Austria and a group of beginners from Hungary. The group checked the place and went on the take-off, again I was left with the feeling of uncertainty about the day. Then a large chunk of cirrus clouds cleared the way of the sun putting smiles around as they move, not much later Igor came with his taxi.
I got the first ride to the take-off, there were the Hungarian students in the role of wind dummies. The place looked great not very high comparing to what I am used to but really good take-off. Benches, nice grass, two wind marks, everything looked nice. I slowly started to put my warm clothes as I have heard stories of the coldness here, since it is flyable really late in the season. No one of the students caught a thermal so I was waiting for someone to climb just to make sure it is working. Eventually that happened and I followed immediately.
It was the first flight in 3 weeks or so and a first flight on my solo wing since June. I always have small doubts of performing well after brakes like this so I was thinking “Ok no pressure just to spread the wings a little, If you don’t catch something no hard feelings”. And that feeling always ends when you put the last strap on the harness. I think often about it, it can be a dangerous activity this flying and at the same time it is very magical, sometimes when on the ground it seems like all the flying was a big dream. But when I put that last strap all the doubt goes away, the focus gets really on the next level and I am now in the moment and everything you thought that you have forgotten about flying comes back in split second. I think this is one of the things that are making flying an addictive activity or an obsession.
Everything went very smoothly and I climbed immediately, bombing never came as an option on this quite nice place. The funniest thing happened when I turned my head to the take off after 15 minutes or so, there were over 50 people in the sky! It was crazy, I’ve never flown with so many people unless it was a competition. Flying around was now very fun, I was hoping from one thermal to another always joining some stranger in the search for the core and the most efficient circle.
I enjoyed that a lot, I set up a training for me, find a thermal with a pilot already thermalling and try to catch up or out climb him. Some time I’d managed some times people would out climb me, however it was lots of fun.
The cloud base was at 1400-1500m asl. and that was also new for me. Where I fly we most often take of from this height. I quite enjoyed this since the clouds were on a hand’s reach and clouds are nice :). When you get higher you can see the Adriatic sea on the south and the Julian Alps on the north which due the low cloud base looked like a wall of mountains, no photo of that sorry.
All in all it was a great day, met some local guys and girls some of them I knew from Ohrid some I didn’t, however I couldn’t be more welcomed and I am very thankful for that. The flight was a very nice training flight before the local winter ligue “Para Snezinka” which is due to start in next weekend. Very excited about it.