Verzasca Dam "007" Bungy
Europe 2017 Blog Day 12
Hello it’s us again reporting on day 12 and we are in Switzerland all day. Had another nice late start again this morning as we didn’t need to check out until 10am so had breakfast in the Backpackers Villa with the other tourists and boy did we feel old compared to everyone else! Our journey time today was estimated at 2¾ hours so we hit the road and headed for Val Verzasca of Ticino in the South East. We had 2 mountain passes to drive through on the way and although the scenery was spectacular Adrian was getting more nervous the more hair pin bends he had to navigate. I just held on for dear life and took some photos out of the window. Needless to say, there wasn’t much conversation going on with both of us nervous for different reasons.
At one point we were able to pull up at one of the observation areas and stand in the snow and of course it’s obligatory to have your photo taken - it’s rude not to isn’t it! We did get caught up in some traffic delays due to several controlled traffic lights whilst the mountain pass bridges & tunnels were being worked on, so the overall journey ended up being around 4 hours but we were not in a rush and still had plenty of time.
So what was the purpose of our visit to Verzasca? Well its home to the Verzasca Dam (aka the Contra Dam) made famous in the opening sequence of the James Bond film GoldenEye where he jumped off it! This has now been made into a permanent commercial Bungy Jump site and is currently the world’s 2nd highest jump at 721ft although it is actually the world’s highest without guide wires (the highest at Macau Tower, China at 765ft does have guide wires).
As the Dam came into view my stomach was in my mouth – it looked a beast. We pulled over to get some photos and could see some people jumping and the scale of just how high the Dam was kicked in, and the sounds of screaming didn’t help. We parked up and wandered over to the top of the Dam as the spectators can stand right next to where the jump platforms are for a fantastic view of all the jumps. I signed in and went through the usual drill & checks and it was my turn to go. 3...2...1...Bungy.
I jumped out into a swallow dive and yelled as loud as possible - my way of releasing some adrenalin and keeps the spectators entertained. The first rebound pulled me up really high and I could see all the slack in the rope before dropping back down. I had a little trouble being hoisted back up as the steel cable they had lowered had wrapped itself around my rope and they couldn’t lift me up. After a frantic few minutes of me unravelling myself I gave the signal and I was soon back up.
Adrian who had been filming the jump for me was feeling a little Bungy’d out having already done 2 on this trip and has already done the jump at the Macau Tower had decided not to jump today, so as we had already booked 2 slots it seemed a shame to waste it so I signed in for a 2nd jump and the crew suggested I try a backwards jump which I have never done before – well if you’re going to do your first backwards jump you may as well make it a big one!
So how much scarier was it going backwards compared to forwards? Actually it wasn’t as, when going forwards, you can see how high you are and get the ground rush, whereas backwards you feel yourself falling but see the jump platform getting smaller as you fall away from it. Still great fun but if you haven’t jumped before, or are only having one go then I would definitely suggest doing the standard forward jump.
I was given a certificate, a 6” piece of Bungy Cord, and some stickers (for being a brave boy!). I decided to purchase a T-Shirt and got some free cigarette lighters for Adrian. It was an amazing experience and would definitely recommend people to do it.
We hit the road again and found ourselves on our 3rd mountain pass, poor Adrian is having an intense driving day today! A 1½ drive and we were at our next hotel in Italy (we have crossed the border into Italy for tonight’s stay as the accommodation is so much cheaper than in Switzerland) and it’s a lovely traditional family run Italian hotel.
Just a side note, yesterday's Bungy jump photo pack was sent via email today and we've uploaded them to yesterday's blog (click to view).
Let’s see what tomorrow brings. Ciao for now...