How a thing ends is often defining, setting off the experience one way or another way. In this case its hard to get my head around how this beautiful journey has ended. I am a fully signed up existential rationalist which basically means I see all this as simple meaningless fate that I simply have to sit up and accept. We humans are never so simple and constantly look for pattern and meaning in all that we see and do. You could maybe argue that as I pilot then I am more like this than the normal person.
Slovenia is a decision I will never regret, what a stunningly beautiful place full of the most welcoming friendly chilled out people. This area of Slovenia was ravaged in some of the bloodiest battles in the war almost everywhere you look there are monuments and memorials tended and kept fresh even now. It had the affect of emptying these valleys in the war years, preserving them as simple and uncomercialised.
The air was never crowded the shops never full the people proud and genuine. We were welcomed like family everywhere we went, even when this was someones tranquil back garden, or by the most monstrously dressed, yet proudly unaffected waitress you have ever seen in your life.
As a place to fly we have only scratched the surface, the mountains here are beautiful and inviting. I do not expect that we have mounted much of a challenge for them however well we did with out goals of achieving the flying component to our advanced pilot ratings. The ground here is green and lush covered in trees and often damp. What look like vario melting days can be subtle and cantankerous producing flights that you have to work hard for.
I have experienced the most beautiful moments of my whole life in this place. The fragrant sublime Gorizia and its river side parks will never stray from my mind too far. My mornings meditating by the banks of the Soca River. The songs of the many birds but most especially the cuckoos. Willi our generous host and his home made Schnapps… the place has magic and its spell found us all.
If I were to pick some moments then flying with Ozzie in the high mountains unplanned will take some beating. Recovering from a low save on my 50km out and return and the defining moment with those delicate little butterflies sending me climbing skyward again, how do you tell someone about that. Getting up to my first ever cloudbase cloud, I did this early on with Dan, it was the most beautiful cloud in existence. I might have flown with Dan but I spent far too long coveting that little swirly iridescent cloud, I screamed like a wild thing. What powerful magic.
To be writing this with a broken leg in a foreign hospital alone and eating weird food is a cruel footnote to a perfect journey. My summer was so well planned I would have gone home only to go away again to the third round of the BOS and then again for two weeks in Switzerland all flying all the time. You may seek to find a rebalancing here where I get to spend time with my teenage son more and guide him through a difficult time. Then again you might not. Shit happens sometimes, its just the way it is.
I have thought a lot about my launch, none of it felt good to me. In this case I dropped a wing right from the start, and when I was shifting right to correct it I think I slipped and lost my footing, the fall was caught by my glider trying to fly but only just, here I might have saved myself by stuffing in the bar and getting the glider and me on the ground but this is not an instinct, I tried to fly but instead I yawed almost 150ª into the trees smashing my fibula on some rocks.
Nothing else was even bruised all the force of landing was absorbed by that one bone, I was unlucky. I normally launch well and had in this case been patient and watched the day change, Ozzie even fell asleep and started snoring while I waited for the sun to return, for the air to come alive again. The swifts were up everywhere they gave me clues to where the lift was and defined where I was heading first, it was all mapped in my mind.
One thing is sure – Ill fly again as soon as I am ready – fly in Slovenia again too, it would be stupid not too. I had the most magical time with Chris Dan and Ozzie, great friends good company many memories.
Thank you all.