01 Sep 2018 Mimizan (3)
02 Sep 2018 Portimão (2)
03 Sep 2018 In Carvoeiro
04 Sep 2018 In Silves
05 Sep 2018 Algarve; Évora
06 Sep 2018 Visiting Évora
07 Sep 2018 Ponte de Sor (2)
08 Sep 2018 Castelo Branco
09 Sep 2018 Vitoria (2)
10 Sep 2018 Visiting Vitoria
11 Sep 2018 Nogaro (2)
12 Sep 2018 Limoges (2)
13 Sep 2018 Visiting Limoges
14 Sep 2018 Paderborn (4)
We did not have to think about where we would go for our holiday in 2018. In July Maurits started his flight training in Portugal, and we were going to visit him in September.
We were thinking about what airplane to take. The planes of the aeroclub in Germany are fine, but it is quite a long drive. René first considered a Cessna 172 from nearby Hilversum, but that plane was very basic. We also talked to a private owner of a Mooney in August, but it required some additional alignment that would take some more time, and we wanted to go the first two weeks in September. So we decided for a Piper Archer of the Aeroclub in Germany.
The plane, with registration D-ETIV, had just received a new engine. We needed to fly it at 75% power, no leaning, and on AVGAS 100LL. The Piper Archers of the aeroclub are approved to run on Mogas (Octane 98), but for new engines of these types it is better to first run in the engine with AVGAS 100LL.
As usual, we downloaded the current AIP's and documentation to our tablet. For paper maps we used the CartaBossy of France, an excellent chart, and the Air Million charts of Germany and Iberia. Before the trip we purchased and downloaded SkyDemon, that we had not used before. It is available per month, and that would suit fine to give it a try during the holiday trip.
On Friday, August 31, we drove to Germany. On the way in the car, René called the airport hotel, but it was full. We booked a hotel in nearby Steinhausen that we had not been yet before. It turned out to be a nice hotel, that we will certainly consider for other times as well. We had a drink in the hotel bar before we went to bed.
From Paderborn-Lippstadt to Mimizan
After breakfast in the hotel in Steinhausen, we drove to the airport early. We picked-up the papers and the keys, and then took out the plane from the hangar. We would first fly to Bitburg, just an hour away from Paderborn-Lippstadt, to determine how much fuel we had used with the required settings for the new engine, for our further planning.
The flight time to Bitburg was an hour, but we had the engine running including taxi-time and waiting for a fire-drill at Paderborn-Lippstadt airport for about 1:20 minutes. We took-in 12 gallons, so it appeared that the fuel consumption of the new engine was lower than we expected because of the uneconomic power settings.
The next leg to Nevers took 1:55 minutes, and we fueled 19.3 gallons at Nevers. However, we were not able to fly the plane at 75% all the time because of speed limitations in turbulent air caused by the warm weather.
Our next leg was to Minizan in the south-west of France. South of Nevers SkyDemon showed restricted areas that would be active, but these areas were not shown on the CartaBossy paper chart. René asked about the status of the restrictured areas on the radio. Paris Information told us, with some audible scorn, that the restricted areas were old and did no longer exist. The paper chart was correct, while the electronic data in SkyDemon was not.
When we arrived at Mimizan aerodrome, we booked a hotel in town, and a local friendly aviator flying a Klemm took us to the hotel.
Veleda and René at Paderborn-Lippstadt
Arrived at Bitburg aerodrome
Departure from Nevers
Hangar of the Mimizan Aeroclub
From Mimizan to Portimão
The next morning we asked the hotel to call a taxi to the nearby aerodrome. The taxi without a meter was a rip-off. It was the most expensive taxi ride of the holiday. We really have to start looking for Uber.
We had filed a flight-plan to Salamanca in Spain. We would first fly in the direction of San Sebastián, and from there further to Salamanca.
After take-off, we contacted Biarritz, and requested to climb to FL80 and cross the airspace following the coast to San Sebastián. South of Biarritz we contacted San Sebastián, then Bilbao, and then Vitoria while crossing the Pyrenees. When we approached Salamanca, René requested a straight-in runway 21, which was approved.
After landing, René walked to the offices to pay the duties, while Veleda stayed at the plane for the fuel truck to arrive (in Spain, one needs a valid VAT number to receive fuel, even for private flights. We always just use the VAT number of Veleda's company so we can get fuel).
Salamanca is a nice town, and interesting to visit. We visited Salamanca before, but this time we were just passing by.
At Salamanca airport we met two people that were making a flying trip from Cuatro Vientos airport in Madrid with a Piper Cherokee with almost the same registration that René had flown from Cuatro Vientos in the past. It was from the same company.
After Salamanca we flew to Portimão. South of Salamanca, Tower instructed us to contact Madrid. But while we could hear other traffic, Madrid seemed not to hear us. We continued flying, and after some time we tried to contact Badajoz when we neared that area. They contacted Madrid by phone, and then instructed us to contact Lisbon while still in Spain. The radio contact with Lisbon was good. There was no other traffic on the radio other than airlines inbound and outbound to and from Lisbon and Faro.
Near Beja AFB Lisbon instructed us to contact Faro. At first, they were also not able to hear us while we were flying at FL60 near Beja. South of Beja we tried again, and we could establish radio contact with Faro approach.
We continued direct to Portimão, and near the aerodrome we contact Portimão. Runway 11 was in use, and after landing and parking we walked to the terminal. We phoned Fernando, and he told us he had just arrived at Faro. No worries. We had drinks, and after some time Fernando arrived to pick us up, and we went to the appartment in Silves, where we met Carla, Michael, and nieces of Carla from her sister.
Veleda and René at Mimizan aerodrome
Landing at Salamanca
Arrived in Portimão
With friends in Silves
On Wednesday we were going to fly to Évora, but René first made a sight-seeing flight with Fernando along the Algarve coast. Michael was in doubt, but decided after all not to join, but rather stay with Carla and Veleda in the meantime.
Fernando and René made a nice flying trip along the coast, sightseeing the famous Praia's and well-known places. Cape St. Vincent the southwesternmost point of Portugal and of mainland Europe.
Fernando at Portimão airport
Praia da Marinha, Praia do Pau
Lighthouse Cape Saint-Vincent
Praia de Benagil
From Portimão to Évora
After the sightseeing trip of Fernando and René along the coast, Veleda and René left Portimão for Évora. The flight to Évora took about 50 minutes. After landing, we booked a hotel in Évora and we asked to call for a taxi. We visited the town, and also the next day we walked the town.
Fernando, Carla, Michael saying good-bye
Portimão airport after departure
Final runway 19 Évora airport
Veleda in Évora
Évora is one of Portugal's most beautifully preserved medieval towns. Évora has been inhabited since the 2nd century B.C. The city reached its golden age in the 15th century, when it became the residence of the Portuguese kings. Today, Évora is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Capela dos Ossos
The Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) is one of the best known monuments in Évora. It is a small interior chapel located next to the entrance of the Church of St. Francis. The Chapel gets its name because the interior walls are covered and decorated with human skulls and bones.
Cathedral of Évora
The Cathedral of Évora was mainly built between 1280 and 1340. The cathedral has a notable main portal with statues of the Apostles (around 1335) and a beautiful nave and cloister. One transept chapel is Manueline and the main chapel is Baroque. The pipeorgan and choir stalls are renaissance (around 1566).
Temple of Évora
The Roman Temple of Évora is among the best-preserved Roman monuments in Portugal, and perhaps on the Iberian Peninsula. Although it's commonly referred to as the Temple of Diana, the temple is believed to have been constructed around the first century A.D., in honour of Augustus, who was venerated as a god during and after his rule.
City Walk Évora
Sights of Évora
From Évora to Ponte de Sor
On Friday we were going to fly to Ponte de Sor. As Maurits would be busy until five o'clock, we looked to first fly to Amendoeira aerodrome. We asked permission by phone (prior permission required), and that was no problem, although there would be no-one at the aerodrome. We flew to Amendoeira, and we waited while reading and relaxing. At around 4.30 we departed from Amendoeira to Ponte de Sor.
When we approached Ponte de Sor, there were some other planes practicing IFR approaches. We made a long downwind not to possibly interfere in the practice runs, before turning base. Upon landing we parked the plane on apron 2.
After we parked Maurits came to us, and then we went to see his room. From there we called for a taxi to Ponte de Sor. There was only room for one night in the hotel in Ponte de Sor, as for the next day on Saturday the hotel was fully booked because of a wedding. But as Maurits was quite busy studying, it was no problem to only stay for one night.
We had a nice dinner at a restaurant nearby the hotel, and a pleasant time with Maurits.
Fueling at Évora before departure
Arriving at Amendoeira aerodrome
Veleda at Amendoeira aerodrome
Approaching Ponte de Sor airport
With Maurits in Ponte de Sor
From Ponte de Sor to Castelo Branco
On Saturday after breakfast we took a taxi back to the airport. We were first shown around the training institude, offices and planes by one of the workers, who also took us to the reporting office afterwards to settle the duties. We filed a flightplan to Castelo Branco, and then we went to the plane with Maurits for our departure. We said good-bye, and then departed for the short flight to Castelo Branco.
When we arrived, we booked a hotel in Castelo Branco, and called for a taxi to go to the hotel in town. In the afternoon we walked the town, visited the old castle and the Bishop's garden.
Maurits good-bye at Ponte de Sor
To land at Castelo Branco airport
Castelo Branco is the capital of what used to be the province of Beira Baixa. Lonely Planet says the town isn't Portugal's most charming provincial capital but makes a good jumping-off point for outlying attractions such as Monsanto and Idanha-a-Velha. The best reasons to visit are the town's excellent, ever-increasing museums, the result of its efforts to become a centre of culture.
Jardim do Paco Episcopal
The Jardim do Paco Episcopal (Bishop's garden) was made by the Bishop of Guarda, Joao de Mendonca, in the eighteenth century, and is thought to be one of the most beautiful Baroque gardens in Portugal. Clipped hedges, lakes, fountains and elaborate staircases harbour a collection of granite statues, grouped into 'themes' including zodiac signs, the four seasons, the five parts of the world and the kings and queens of Portugal.
Little remains from the primitive castle erected by the Knights Templar in the early 13th century and extended by Dom Dinis. The fortress was almost completely destroyed after the Castilian invasion following the revolution of 1640. The location offers grand views over town and countryside. The old lanes that lead back down to the town centre are also picturesque.
Visiting Castelo Branco
Sights of Castelo Branco
From Castelo Branco to Vitoria
Sunday morning, after breakfast in the hotel, we went to the airport to fly to Vitoria. It turned out that there were no airport charges. We walked to the plane for our departure.
We aimed to be in Vitoria early in the afternoon because of possible thunderstorms after two o'clock. This was the TAF for Vitoria:
PROB40 TEMPO 0906/0916 SCT025TCU
PROB30 TEMPO 0906/0910 4000 -SHRA BR SCT030TCU
BECMG 0913/0915 01012KT
PROB30 TEMPO 0912/0918 SHRA TS SCT030CB
BECMG 0919/0920 VRB04KT
PROB30 TEMPO 1000/1006 BKN012=
We first flew to Valladolid, where we fueled. We had earlier flown to Valladolid in 2012 to visit the city. At Valladolid, René called Vitoria Meteo to ask about the weather situation. The meteorologist said he could see out of his window that the cumulus was towering rapidly (Vitoria is near the Pyrenees), but further just repeated what was in the TAF. We expected to arrive at around two-thirty, but we could deviate to Burgos in between Valladolid and Vitoria easily, so we gave it a go.
At one-thirty we took it to the sky and we headed to the north-east to Vitoria. In the far distance to the left and right we could see the cumulus developing, but our route ahead was spared for the time being.
We passed Burgos, that we had visited in 2015. When we got near Vitoria, the bad weather was developing in the distance left and right from us, but ahead it remained okay. Near the end of our flight, the lightning detection instrument showed a few strikes 25nm to the west, and a few other strikes further away. We made a straight-in landing on runway 04, and landed at about two-thirty.
After we tied-down the plane securely, a local pilot arrived who offered to bring us to our hotel. We gladly accepted. While he was putting the plane in the hangar of the aeroclub with his passengers, Veleda booked a hotel in Vitoria. After the pilot had escorted his passengers through the gate, he came back to pick us up, and brought us to the hotel.
Our hotel room had a nice view over the old town. It was only at about four-thirty that a thunderstorm arrived, two hours after we landed. This is the METAR from that time:
After the rain had cleared early in the evening, we made a walk nearby, and we had something to eat. The next day we explored the city.
René and Veleda at Castelo Branco airport
Arrived at Valladolid
René at Vitoria airport
Vitoria-Gasteiz — often shortened to simply Vitoria — is the Basque capital, and untouched by mass-tourism. The entire old town of Vitoria, with its narrow streets and unique architecture, has been named a monumental group. Along with dozens of great pintxo bars and restaurants, a large student contingent and a friendly local population, it makes Vitoria-Gasteiz a lovely city.
Santa Maria Cathedral
At the summit of the old town is the medieval Catedral de Santa Maria (Old Cathedral). The church of Santa Maria collapsed with the fire of 1202. It was to be rebuilt serving regular religious services and weapon storage. The project changed with the centuries, so that each modification was made without taking into account the previous, creating many layers of history.
Plaza de la Virgen Blanca
Plaza de la Virgen Blanca is one of the oldest meeting points in Vitoria-Gasteiz. In the Middle Ages the square was Vitoria's city center. In the middle of the square there is the monument to La batalla de Vitoria a battle which took place in the city in 1813 during the Napoleonic wars. The square lies under the Iglesia de San Miguel, a gothic church built between the 14th and the 16th centuries.
City Walk Vitoria-Gasteiz
Sights of Vitoria-Gasteiz
From Vitoria to Nogaro
On Tuesday we flew to Nogaro, in the south of France. The next days would bring rain over the Pyrenees and in Spain, while the forecast for France on our route to the north-east was good until at least the weekend.
We had not yet decided where we would fly to next, but that we would decide in Nogaro. We just picked Nogaro because it had fuel, there were people present, and the town with one or two hotels was near the aerodrome.
After take-off from Vitoria we requested to fly directly to San Sebastián. It was approved at first, but then later we were instructed to first fly to the east, before continuing to the north-east and cross the Bilbao airspace in the east. It was probably due to traffic inbound for Bilbao.
When we were handed over to Bilbao, they informed us about the traffic. After crossing the Bilbao airspace, we were handed over to San Sebastián tower. We had a great view over San Sebastián, and the airport further to the east in the bay on the border with France. We had visited San Sebastián in 2015.
South of San Sebastián we started a slow descent to 3000 feet. We first made a landing at Aire Sur l'Adour, not far from Nogaro. There was not much activity at that aerodrome. A French pilot was preparing his plane for a flight, but futher paid no attention to us. After a quick stop we continued to Nogaro.
At Nogaro we fueled and paid at the Aeroclub. We parked the plane, and then walked to the nearby hotel that we had booked in the meantime. After checking in the hotel, we had something to drink, and then made a walk in the town and had something to eat. Back in the hotel, we went to bed early. We had decided to make Limoges our next town to visit.
Preparing for departure from Vitoria
Irun, San Sebastián airport
Arrived at Nogaro aerodrome
Armagnac brandy from Nogaro
From Nogaro to Limoges
On Wednesday we flew to Limoges. We made a stop at Libourne, where we had something to eat, and then continued to Limoges. Maurits and René had visited Limoges airport in 2009, but we had not visited the city.
After parking the plane at Limoges, we walked to the passenger terminal, where Veleda booked a hotel in Limoges via internet. Then we took a taxi to the hotel. We made a walk in the city, and the next day we further explored Limoges. We also visited the Musée de la Résistance, that also had a temporary exhibition about the history of jazz in Limoges.
In the evening we had dinner in restaurant La Vache Au Plafond (the cow on the ceiling). The restaurant had a whey with a cow, churn, a crate of apples and flowers upside down on the ceiling.
René at Nogaro aerodrome
Veleda at Libourne aerodrome
Arriving at Limoges airport
Veleda getting the lugage
Limoges is on the site of the 10 BC Roman city Augustoritum, which took advantage of this strategic position on the River Vienne. Nowadays Limoges' centre is compact and easy to explore, with historic buildings and museums in the medieval Cité quarter, alongside the river, and the party pedestrianised Château quarter, just to the west.
The construction of the Gothic Saint-Etienne Cathedral lasted 6 centuries, beginning in 1273 and ending in the late 19th century. Inside the cathedral is a richly adorned Renaissance-style jube. This edifice is one of the rare Gothic monuments south of the river Loire. The bell tower's lower three stories are part of the few remaining Romanesque portions of the cathedral.
Musée de la Résistance
The War Resistance Museum opened in 1989. Limoges was a stronghold of the Resistance during WWII, and this museum explores the story of their struggle against German occupation. A collection of weapons, objects and authentic documents, including photos, letters and diaries are used to depict the different forms and actions of the local resistance movement.
Pedestrianised rue de la Boucheries with many medieval half-timbered houses was named for the butchers' shops that lined the street in the Middle Ages. The tiny Saint-Aurélien chapel was built in 1471 in the hear of the district. Its purpose was to house the relics of the butchers' patron saint, Saint-Aurélien, Limoges' second bishop. The chapel was purchased by the town's butchers during the French Revolution.
City Walk Limoges
Sights of Limoges
From Limoges to Paderborn-Lippstadt
On Friday we had decided to fly back to Padderborn. We first flew to Bourges, where we had a coffee. Then we continued to Joigny, where we hoped we could fuel to make it to Paderborn. However, there were no people present at Joigny, and it gave a rather desolate impression. We continued to Troyes airport, where we fueled and had lunch. We had time, as there had to be one hour between the filing of the cross-border flightplan and the departure. Veleda and René had visited Troyes two years before in 2016.
When it was time, we departed from Troyes and flew back to Paderborn-Lippstadt. We landed two hours and twenty minutes after take-off. It was the end of a nice holiday.
Interesting to mention is that on the way back to Paderborn-Lippstadt we passed two notable sites from WWII.
The first one was Oradour-sur-Glane, west of Limoges. The original village was destroyed on June 1944, when almost all of its inhabitants were massacred by troops belanging to an SS Panzer Division. A new village was built after the war on a nearby site, and the original village has been maintained as a permanent memorial (Wikipedia).
The second one were the remains of the bridge over the Rhine at Remagen, south of Bonn.
Battle of Remagen
Artist impression Battle of Remagen
The Battle of Remagen during the Allied invasion of Germany resulted in the unexpected capture of the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine by American troops in WWII.
After its capture, the Germans used virtually every weapon at their disposal to destroy the bridge, including the newly developed Arado Ar 234B-2 turbojet bombers that Maurits and René saw last year in the Udvar-Hazy Center.
The bridge allowed Allied troops to cross the Rhine River for the first time, although the bridge finally collapsed days after they crossed (Wikipedia).
Fueling at Limoges airport
René at Bourges airport
Departure from Troyes airport
Remains of the bridge at Remagen
Veleda and René back at Paderborn-Lippstadt