15 August 2008

Gréolières at Night

Yesterday arrived once again in lovely Gréolières, in southern France. Lokkilok organizes another guided paragliding trip, 4 Finnish pilots will arrive tomorrow evening.
After some hassle with my easyCar reservation for a minibus I got here around noon. It had been sunny all morning but right then a cloud cover moved into the area. Couple of people were flying though, so I quickly organized myself and started the 35 minute walk up to launch. The first time it always feels a bit hard and now it was midday hot and humid to boot. Soon after I'd reached the launch the local tandem pilots arrived with their clients. Soon after they'd left I took off. There were only small pockets of short-lived lift and after some 20 minutes I landed. In the landing I was welcomed by more locals who suggested we go back up again, now with the 4-wheel drive navette that was bringing more tandem customers up. As soon as we were on launch it started to rain a bit, and within a minute that drizzle turned into a hail storm. All but one local pilot and my ran back to the only larger tree for cover and then requested for the navette to bring them down.
But we that sat it out could fly down some 20 minutes later. The hail had lasted only for 2 minutes and we simple waited a bit for the ground to dry and the thermal breeze to pick up again. The flight down was short though as there was almost no lift and still areas of strong sink, probably left from that hail storm. With hindsight we probably should have waited a bit longer.
Back in the landing field the locals all talked about the ball that was going to take place in the evening. It turns out that every year around the 15th of August Gréolières has a week of music, dancing, games and parties. It is apparently an old tradition to celebrate the patron saint of the village. So last night a good band was entertaining all: children, teenagers and adults alike with all kinds of music, from tango to hardrock. The same band has come for this festivities to Gréolières for 30 years! Tonight they play again, whereas tomorrow there a DJ and a local heavy metal band will take care of the music.

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