Sunday Special – Whistler Bungee, Canada


Hello. Again I do apologize for the missing last week’s Sunday Special. I had  planned to do this post but was so tired after my exhilarating day. Then I was still going strong with several birthday celebrations in the next few days. So  here it is. Today will be about my first experience bungee jumping!

Bungee jumping is not something that has been on my bucket list, unlike skydiving. I have waffled back and forth on it for years, wondering if it was something worth doing. I decided upon it earlier this year when I thought that facing a fear would be worthwhile. I am not fond of high ledges and what better way to deal with this than stepping off one and plunging 50m/164 feet over a fast-moving river. And what a jump it was!!

Whistler is located 115km/70 miles north of Vancouver. So I rented a car, piled in with some of my best friends and headed north. My jump with Whistler Bungee was at 3:00pm so we wandered around Whistler Village for a bit and then had lunch on the patio despite the threatening rain and cool weather. Patio fireplaces helped warm us. Despite the drive and time with my friends my stomach was producing butterflies. It may have been these butterflies (and an uneven, wet parking lot) that caused me to unintentionally have a practice fall. Splat! I rolled my ankle, fell forward and then rolled into a puddle. My butt is now wet. I am not happy. My friend’s certainly heard my frustration. Fortunately they are cool and my ankle was not injured – only my pride. This certainly got the adrenaline going. Soon we were on the road despite being a bit late.

It was a cloudy day with a smattering of rain, on and off.  I could see the green bridge from the parking lot below, beckoning me. Crossing the metal bridge and seeing the other jumpers was spurring me on. My friends and I looked around and the smiles, wows and excitement was apparent. We headed to the small cottage where I read and signed the waiver, with words such as “not held responsible”, “injury” and “death” failing to deter me, after all Whistler Bungee has a 100% safety record. Their jumps are performed in the middle of the bridge with magnificent views of the mountains and the river below. It certainly is a stunning location. There were about 8 – 10 jumpers ahead of me. It was good to see how they instruct people and get them going. Friends are allowed to be there to cheer you on, take pictures and share the time. We definitely took plenty of photos, all the while stomach still was in butterflies, though it wasn’t until I stood on the ledge that I really became fearful. The staff had already had me in my harness and given me the safety instructions. I had watched numerous others go before me but could not be prepared for that unsettling feeling of being on the edge. I was certain my nerve would hold me back. Absolutely certain yet I told myself “you MUST to do this or you will regret it”. I took a deep breath and held firm in my resolution, in my ‘sisu’ as we say in Finn. In those minutes as I stood with my toes over the edge and my arms out to the side my head took over . I was going to do this as quickly as possible – and with that I stepped off before the countdown got to one, fear and all.

It was the most surreal feeling. I fell yet I was suspended for a myriad of seconds. I was unable to physically scream and then came the rush of the wind as I plummeted. A million thoughts rushed through my head like a spinning wheel, as varied as grateful to be alive to noticing the beauty of the turquoise river below. Then I screamed. As loud as I could muster, a scream of pure elation and adrenaline. When the bungee snapped up I could see it’s purple covering snake upward and I was swung to the other side. More adrenaline. I could not have been in more awe and happy with what had transpired. A moment, a stunning almost dreamlike moment. I had leapt off a bridge into nothingness. I went with it and was more than okay.

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So very nervous! 

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On the edge.

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Free fall.

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Swinging back.

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Post jump and so happy.

All photos taken by Whistler Bungee and owned by Eeva Valiharju / Wanders The World

 

Update


Hello everyone. I just returned from Whistler, BC which is home to Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort. It is not ski season however Whistler is a year round destination. My birthday is tomorrow so I decided that a great way to celebrate would be to go bungee jumping. That I did just this afternoon. It was nerve wracking yet awesome! I have some pictures and thoughts on the whole adventure but it will have to wait a day or two as I am exhausted. Thank you for your understanding and will be back with you soon. 

Happy travels, happy adventures. 

Sunday Special – Aruba


**Note: I posted this yesterday (Sunday) but for some reason it put it elsewhere in the blog & said it was posted in January. I’m not sure what happened there but I have re-posted it now. Enjoy!

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Located in the southern Caribbean Sea only 24 km / 15 miles from the coast of Venezuela is a group of three islands that are part of The Netherlands. Theses small islands are called Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao (The ABC islands). Among the most visited of these ABC islands is Aruba. This tiny island which stretches 9 km /6 miles wide and 30 km/19 miles long is known for its lush beaches, an almost constant temperature of 27C /81F and for being outside of the hurricane belt. Recognized by many as a beach resort destination there are some areas of Aruba that break from that. For those wanting a beach break there is no shortage of pristine white sand beaches and numerous accommodations to help you to tan, partake in a number of water sports,tour around or plain unwind – just head to the west coast of the island.  The capital city of Oranjestad offers its own charm with Colonial Dutch architecture, museums, shopping arcades, parks, Fort Zoutman and the Renaissance Marketplace. Wander away from the beaches and resorts to see various natural bridges, hike the 561 steps of Haystack Mountain, check out Guadirikiri Caves or visit California Lighthouse or the butterfly farm. Aruba may be a small island but it seems there is no lack of activities.

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View of Oranjestad, Aruba – Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Bgabel

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Palm Beach, Aruba – Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Andrei Atilin

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One of the many natural bridges in Aruba – Photo is Public Domain

 

Sunday Special – The Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia


On the edge of the Baltic Sea in European Russia is the country’s second largest city – Saint Petersburg – overflowing with history and stunning architecture. So much that many consider it one of the most beautiful cities in the world. UNESCO has named it a World Heritage Site. Among the city’s greatest building is The Winter Palace. Built in a Baroque style, this lavish and monumental building aimed to show the greatness of the Russian Empire. Originally a wooden building, it was constructed for Peter the Great and his family in 1708 CE. In the years to follow the building was rebuilt with stone and additions eventually added to it. It had been the home of Tsars for centuries, filled with gilded facades, opulent living quarters, numerous salons and used for many state gatherings and formal galas. The Romanovs occupied this palatial residence since Catherine The Great to the the time of the family’s fall in the 1900s. A history too long for me to even touch on, this magnificent building is now officially part of The Hermitage Museum. Restorations to the rooms and artifacts now showcase Russian history and countless works of art.

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Interior of church within The Winter Palace, Saint Petersburg – Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Januarius-zick

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Entrance to The Winter Palace, Saint Petersburg, Russia – Photo is Public Domain