First something about some of the locations that were passed in this trip.
Sergio Leone was the Italian film director of the movies "A fistful of dollars", "For a few dollars more", "The good, the bad and the ugly" and "Once upon a time in the west".
The movies were mostly filmed in Spain, and are among my favourite movies.
A fistful of dollars (1964)
An anonymous, but deadly man rides into a town torn by war between two factions, the Baxters and the Rojo's.
Instead of fleeing or dying, as most other would do, the man schemes to play the two sides off each other, getting rich in the bargain.
The Rojo's trap scene was filmed west of Madrid (N40°18'47" W004°12'27")
, and was overflown on Friday 23 November 2012.
The Returning to the Rojo house scene was filmed in the Almeria region (N37°00'37" W002°27'28")
, and was overflown on Monday 19 November 2012.
Returning to the Rojo house
For a few dollars more (1965)
Two bounty hunters are after the same man, Indio. At first, they go their own ways, but eventually get together to try and find him.
But they are not after him for the same reason.
Colonel Mortimer illegally stops a train in Tucumcari.
The location (N37°13'27" W003°01'55")
was overflown on Monday 19 November 2012.
The final duel was filmed at Los Albaricoques in the Almeria province (N36°51'02" W002°07'25")
The restored circle was clearly visible from the air.
The good, the bad and the ugly (1966)
The final duel
Blondie (The Good) is a professional gunslinger who is out trying to earn a few dollars.
Angel Eyes (The Bad) is a hit man who always commits to a task and sees it through, as long as he is paid to do so.
And Tuco (The Ugly) is a wanted outlaw trying to take care of his own hide.
Tuco and Blondie share a partnership together making money off Tuco's bounty, but when Blondie unties the partnership, Tuco tries to hunt down Blondie.
When Blondie and Tuco comes across a horse carriage loaded with dead bodies, they soon learn from the only survivor (Bill Carson) that he and a few other men have buried a stash of gold in a cemetery.
Unfortunately Carson dies and Tuco only finds out the name of the cemetery, while Blondie finds out the name on the grave.
Now the two must keep each other alive in order to find the gold. Angel Eyes (who had been looking for Bill Carson) discovers that Tuco and Blondie meet with Carson and knows they know the location of the gold.
The POW camp scenes and the Sad Hill scenes were filmed in the Burgos province.
Both the locations of the POW camp (N41°58'21" W003°21'39")
and Sad Hill (N41°59'26" W003°24'31")
are clearly visible from the air, and were overflown on Friday 23 November 2012.
Once upon a time in the west (1968)
Blondie and Tuco taken to POW camp
The final duel
Story of a young woman, Mrs McBain, who moves from New Orleans to frontier Utah, on the very edge of the American West.
She arrives to find her new husband and family slaughtered.
The prime suspect, Cheyenne, befriends her and offers to go after the real killer, assassin gang leader Frank, in her honor.
He is accompanied by Harmonica on his quest to get even.
The arrival of Harmonica was filmed in the Granada province (N37°13'28" W003°01'56")
, not far from the place where also the Flagstone scenes were filmed.
The final duel was filmed in the Almeria province at the Sweetwater location (N37°01'57" W002°26'45")
The locations are clearly visible from the air, and were overflown on Monday 19 November 2012.
Settling of accounts
Saturday, 17 November 2012: I flew to Madrid (by airline) where I arrived early in the evening.
On Sunday morning first the mandatory check flight was on the programme, in which we flew to nearby Casarrubios del Monte airport for some landings, and a -- oh dear --
simulated engine failure.
Following the checkride, the aim was to fly to the south of Spain.
But since the promised VFR charts were not there, I had to wait until the next day to buy the charts from the pilotshop at Cuatro Vientos airport.
Rene at Cuatro Vientos airport
Approaching Casarrubios del Monte Airport
Cordoba, Granada and Almeria
Monday, 18 November 2012: After buying the charts on Cuatro Vientos airport, I departed at 10:30 for Cordoba.
After passing Whiskey point, the heading was direct to Cordoba.
On the way, Guadamur was passed with its 15th century castle.
Further south, I passed the Embalse de Guadalmellato reservoir before reaching Cordoba.
Most of the Cordoba region east of the airport was in low clouds, but luckely the airport was clear of clouds.
After fueling and a coffee, I took-off from runway 03 to Granada via Iznajar.
On Granada I had a sandwich and a coffee, and then departed again for the final leg that day to Almeria.
Rene at Cordoba airport
Embalse de Iznajar
Apron Granada airport
On the Sergio Leone trail, I first overflew a part of the railroad that was used in "Once upon a time in the west" where Morton had his final stop.
Further to the south-east I passed "Flagstone" town
and then just a few miles further to the south-east along the railroad the location for the opening scene with the arrival of Harmonica
and for the Tucumcari arrival scene from "For a few dollars more"
Morton's last stop
After another 30nm to the south-east along highway A92 I reached the Tabernas area, where numerous scenes were filmed for the Sergio Leone westerns.
Only a few examples are; the opening scene from "For a few dollars more"
Sweetwater from "Once upon a time in the west"
and the opening scene from "The good, the bad and the ugly"
Rene at Almeria airport
After sight-seeing over the Tabernas desert, I headed to Almeria airport where I landed on runway 25, and finished flying for that day.
Murcia, Cuenca and Madrid
Tuesday, 19 November 2012: After checking the NOTAM's and the meteo in the hotel, I took a taxi to the airport.
Madrid was in IMC, but the forecast showed that it would be cleared-up after 11:00am.
I would not arrive in Madrid before early in the afternoon, so it appeared no issue, and before returning to Madrid I would first fly to Murcia, San Javier airport.
On the way I would pass again the area east of Almeria where Sergio Leone also filmed many scenes, not in the least over Los Albaricoques where the final duel was filmed from "For a few dollars more"
After reaching the coast near Las Negras, I flew further along the coast to Murcia, San Javier airport.
There was a training flight going on with an ENAER T-35C Pillan basic trainer airplane on the northern runway, and with two C-101 Aviojet trainer jets on the southern runway, but the tower was able to fit me in immediately to land on runway 23 left.
Take-off runway 25 Almeria airport
Rene at Murcia, San Javier airport
CASA C-101 Aviojet trainer at San Javier
After landing at San Javier, a Follow-me car directed me to the apron.
I fueled at San Javier, and then walked to the offices for the landing fees.
There was a school class that were shown falcons that I assume the military use on the airport to hunt or scare other birds,
and there was further excitement when a firetruck with sirens and lights appeared that was also going to be shown.
Upon returning to the plane, ground control directed me again to runway 23 left, where this time a had to wait for some 10 minutes before I could take-off between the training flights.
After take-off, I was to make a right turn-out and I could directly head to Madrid at or below 1,000 ft above ground level.
When reaching the Madrid TMA early in the afternoon, there was still very low overcast that was expected to be cleared by 11:00am, and I made a 180 turn to the small Casas de los Pinos private airport, which lies in the middle of nowhere but luckely still had an internet connection.
I fueled some extra AVGAS, just in case I had to divert again to some distant airport if I still could not reach Madrid trying later again in the afternoon.
After two hours, it appeared the low clouds had sufficiently cleared, and I took-off again to Madrid.
There were indeed no longer too low clouds on the route, and I landed at Madrid Cuatro Vientos airport within an hour.
Cuenca, Casas de los Pinos Airport
Back on Madrid, Cuatro Vientos airport
Museo del Aire
Wednesday, 20 November 2012: In the morning Veleda arrived at Madrid Barajas airport.
We met at Madrid Nuevos Ministerios metro station, as I first had waited too long in vain for a train to Barajas at the train station, and in the mean time Veleda already arrived.
We first went to the hotel.
Next to Cuatro Vientos airport there is also an interesting aviation museum, which is open until 2pm.
We first went there before returning to visit Madrid in the afternoon and evening.
Veleda with a CASA 352 (Junkers Ju 52)
Rene with a CASA 2.111 (Heinkel He 111)
Rene with a Fokker DR.I replica
Fieseler Fi 156 "Stork"
Segovia and Valladolid
Thursday, 21 November 2012: This day unfolded slightly different than planned.
The plan was to reach Burgos by the end of the day, but we stopped at Valladolid.
It started all as planned.
We first flew past the creepy Valle de los Caidos
monument to Fuentemilanos Airport, southwest of Segovia.
After a coffee at the further quiet airport, we flew to Valladolid airport.
When we wanted to depart from Valladolid to Burgos, the battery of the plane was not able to produce sufficient power to start the engine again.
We arranged a jump start for the next morning, as in the mean time Burgos airport could not be reached anymore because it was already closing at 3pm.
So we stayed in Valladolid.
Take-off from runway 10 Cuatro Vientos
The creepy Valle de los Caidos monument
Veleda at Segovia, Fuentemilanos Airport
Rene at Valladolid airport
Back to Madrid via "Sad Hill"
Friday, 22 November 2012: After having breakfast in the hotel in Valladolid we left for the airport.
We had the plane fueled, and then with the help of airport services we jump started the plane.
We first flew to the area 25nm south-east of Burgos.
Here a number of scenes were filmed for "The good, the bad and the ugly", most notably the Ecstasy of Gold scenes
and the final showdown at "Sad Hill"
with the famous scores of Ennio Morricone,
but also the Langstone bridge scenes
and the POW camp scenes.
Next we headed back to Madrid Cuatro Vientos airport.
Near Aldea del Fresno we overflew the final film location, that was used for the Rojo's trap scenes for "A fistful of dollars".
Upon returning at Cuatro Vientos we went to the hotel in Madrid.
Jump starting the Piper
A the good, the bad and the ugly film location
Veleda and Rene back in Madrid
Saturday, 24 November 2012: In the morning we visited the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, which offers an overview of art from the 13th century to the late 20th century, and we visited the temporary "Gauguin and the Voyage to the Exotic" exhibition.
After lunch, we left for Madrid Barajas airport for the flight home.
Roy Lichtenstein; Woman in Bath
Paul Gauguin; Matamoe
Paul Gauguin; Parau api
Susanna Rigacci and Ennio Morricone
Ennio Morricone is the Italian composer who gained worldwide fame by composing the music for many Italian westerns, including the westerns by Sergio Leone.
He has written music for more than 500 motion pictures and television series, as well as contemporary classical works.
On Sunday, February 1 2015, we went to his extraordinary performance in Amsterdam with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Hungary’s Kodály Choir and soprano Susanna Rigacci.
The performance marked the kick-off of Morricone's My Life in Music tour
(Click here for an earlier performance)