Oludeniz: Mixture of Beauty and Adventure
18 March 2015
Oludeniz in Southern Turkey offers everything for the great escape: Paragliding, enchanting blue lagoons and Turks with a lovely accent.
About a month ago, my brother surprised me with two plane tickets to Dalaman. I didn't know anything about Dalaman, but he said it did not matter because we would not spend any time there anyway. We would go straight to beautiful Oludeniz. A week later, I was so ready to go.
I was quite impressed when we arrived at the beach. I had heard this place is one of the most photographed beaches in the Mediterranean Sea. Once I got there, I was able to understand why. A long white pebble beach, surrounded by mountains and seawater that reflected all shades of turquoise and aquamarine. It was magnificent.
The scenery was even more spectacular from above. Oludeniz is known as one of the world's best place for paragliding. I couldn't ignore the hundreds of paragliders coming down all day. After watching them for some time, I was psyched! Suddenly I knew I was so going to do that as well. Forget sunbathing on the beach when you can fly like a bird and get a tan in the sky!
The next day, I checked on some of the travel agencies that offer Tandem Paragliding. There were plenty of them in town. I finally decided to go with a very trusted agency. The agency office is located right on the beach. Sheena, a friendly young lady and one of staff members sat down with me and told me that their pilots fly about thirty times a week for about seven months a year. That's the time of the season in Oludeniz from April to October. When the season is over, some of them continue paragliding in South Africa, Nepal or Brazil. For a second I thought, that's actually a pretty cool job!
Sheena also mentioned that their pilots had never gotten into any accidents (I did my research and she was right!). After that conversation, I felt secure and calm, but also excited. I couldn't wait to fly in tandem.
A staff member picked me up the next morning with a van that carried a group of people who are also into paragliding. At that point, I became extremely nervous. Not because of the guys of course. I was anxious to fly. Plus, the ride up to the top of Mt. Babadag was anything but relaxing. We were driving right to the narrow cliff edge and the view was a mix of stunning and terrifying. Honestly, I was scared to do the paragliding but I would have been even more terrified to get back in that van and endure the drive down the mountainside.
I felt pretty relieved when we reached the top of Mount Babadag which was about 6,500 feet in height. Finally, I got introduced to my pilot, a guy called Heaven. Really funny nickname. I wondered where he got it from, but I was too distracted to ask. Heaven gave me a quick, but good briefing prior to take off. Unfortunately, he took my flip flops away and gave me the most uncomfortable sneakers you could imagine. Haha!
The take-off was easier than I thought. I was strapped to him, so I couldn't run away anymore or change my mind about doing the extreme jump. Thank God I didn't have to run to the edge of a cliff! Actually, I had to run for about two meters and then we were lifted gently up into the blue sky.
I didn't know that we would go even higher. Heaven told me it was possible to get up a few hundred meters. At first it was amazing and then I thought I need to throw up. Then it was amazing again. Heaven tried really hard to keep me entertained and after a few minutes I was fine and could really enjoy it. It was just surreal. Looking at the blue lagoon below us and having the bright sun above shining on us was truly out of this world. The view over the bay of Oludeniz, the mountains and the national park was simply breath-taking.
After some time in the air, Heaven told me we could extend it to thirty minutes, but since I felt a bit nauseous (but also amazed), I said I would rather land sooner.
The touch down was perfect and smooth. We landed on a green strip, next to the beach. As much as I loved the experience of flying, I was happy to set my feet back on the ground. Yes!
To sum it up, I loved it so much! The Tandem Paragliding was so much fun, a must do adventure in Oludeniz! It's a lifetime experience!