Trips / Iberian Peninsula

trip
Holiday to Spain and Portugal
1/19 August 2015
EHHV; Hilversum LFOT; Tours LESO; San Sebastian LEXJ; Santander LEAS; Asturias LELN; Leon LPBG; Braganca LPVL; Vilar de Luz LPCO; Coimbra LPCS; Cascais LPVE; Evora LPFC; Figueira de Cavaleiros LPPM; Portimao LEZL; Seville LETF; Villamartin LEAX; La Axarquia LEBZ; Badajoz LESA; Salamanca LEBG; Burgos LEPP; Pamplona LFBH; La Rochelle LFRN; Rennes


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From Hilversum to San Sebastián

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On Saturday morning, August 1, Maurits, Veleda and René took-off from Hilversum airfield for a holiday trip to Spain and Portugal. Maurits, who had been on the glider camp at Hilversum airfield the weeks before, was only going to join us the first week. We would buy an airline ticket for him somewhere on the way.

The aircraft we used for this trip was a 1980 Cessna turbocharged Skylane with retractable gear.

Before we started, René had reserved a parking spot at San Sebastian, following the procedure prescribed for San Sebastian. We first flew to Tours, where we fueled and had a snack at the terminal before we continued to San Sebastian. The actual flight time from Hilversum to San Sebastian was 4:45h. At the airport we booked a hotel in San Sebastian. We took the bus from the airport to the city, which stopped nearby the hotel.

After we had checked in, we took a walk through the city, and had diner at the harbour near the old city later on. Maurits had to recover from the camp the week before, and went to bed early, while Veleda and René had a drink in the old city.

Departure from Hilversum
Departure from Hilversum
Maurits and Veleda at Tours airport
Maurits and Veleda at Tours airport
Approaching San Sebastian airport
Approaching San Sebastián airport
Veleda and Rene in San Sebastian
Veleda and René in San Sebastián

San Sebastián
Zurriola Bridge
Zurriola Bridge
San Sebastián (Basque: Donostia) is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Spain, and frequently tops lists of the world's best places to eat. The city sits at the mouth of the River Urumea, with the Zurriola Bridge the most northern and first bridge to cross the river near the sea. On the west side of the bridge is the Old Town, or Parte Vieja.

Veleda at Constitution Square
Veleda at Constitution Square
The Constitution Square is the main square in the city. Above the windows are numbers that still mark the bullring boxes that the houses formerly used to be and from which one could watch the bullfight. After the construction of a new bullfighting arena in the city, the Constitution Square was not used as a bullring anymore.

San Sebastian sights


Guggenheim Bilbao

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On Sunday we travelled by bus from San Sebastian to Bilbao to visit the Guggenheim museum. Lonely Planet says about the museum that it almost single handedly lifted Bilbao out of its post-industrial depression and into the 21st century. The museum stimulated the city's further development and placed Bilbao firmly in the world art and tourism spotlight.

The museum is probably more famous for its architecture than its content. It was the building most frequently named as one of the most important works among architecture experts. Before the museum was built, the Basque government agreed with the Guggenheim foundation that the government would cover the museum's construction cost, cost for acquisitions, and to subsidize the museum's annual budget, and to pay a one-time fee to the foundation. In return the foundation agreed to manage the institution, rotate parts of its permanent collection through the Bilbao museum and organize temporary exhibitions.

When we visited, the exhibitions on view were a retrospective of Jeff Koons work, work from Jean-Michel Basquiat and from Shahzia Sikander.

Maurits and Veleda in Bilbao
Maurits and Veleda in Bilbao
Veleda and Rene with Jeff Koons' Puppy
Veleda and René with Jeff Koons' Puppy
Jeff Koons, Made in Heaven
Jeff Koons, Made in Heaven
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Now's the Time
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Now's the Time


From San Sebastián to Santander

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On Monday morning we took the bus back to the airport. At the airport René filed a flightplan to Santander and paid the fees. We cleaned the windows, checked the plane, and took-of from runway 04, from where we had a fantastic view on Port Hendaye.

We followed the spectacular coast to the west, on the way passing San Sebastian, Orio, Getaria, Mutraki, Mundaka and Gernika before reaching Bilbao.

We received permission from Bilbao Tower to make an orbit over the city, and we had a spectacular view of the city with the Guggenheim museum. After the orbit was completed, we further followed the coast to Santander.

After a short while we landed at Santander airport, from where we took the airport shuttle bus to the bus terminal, and from there a taxi to the hotel near the beach on the east side.

After we had checked in the hotel we used the remainder of the day to visit Santander.

Veleda and Maurits washing the plane
Veleda and Maurits washing the plane
San Sebastian
San Sebastián
Bilbao
Bilbao
Arriving at Santander
Arriving at Santander

Santander
Aerial view of Santander
Aerial view of Santander
In 1941, Santander fell victim to a great fire which destroyed the greater part of the medieval town centre. The fire led to a major change in the architecture of Santander, away from the older small stone and wood buildings with balconies to the enormous blacks of flats built during the reconstruction. Modern Santander is not the most beautiful of cities, but it's a lively place to spend a day.

Veleda at the Palaca of La Magdalena
Veleda at the Palaca of La Magdalena
At the highest point of La Magdalena Peninsula stands the Royal Palace, built by popular subscription as summer residence of Kings Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenia. It turned Santander into a summer court and tourist destination for most of the aristocracy and bourgeoisie of the country.

The Man and the Sea outdoor museum
'The Man and the Sea' Outdoor Museum
'The Man and the Sea' museum in the open air was created in recognition of Vital Alsar, sailor of Santander. On display here we find the three galleons he used for his expedition through the Atlantic Ocean, emulating the expedition of Orellana. There is also a replica of the wooden raft in which he crossed the Pacific Ocean in 1970.



From Santander to León

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On Tuesday we were going to fly to León. We took our time before we went to the airport, as the mountains were in low clouds that we hoped would rise later during the day, so we could cross the mountains. When we arrived at the airport there was no indication yet that the clouds would clear, and we decided to fly around the mountains to León along the coast. It was the only time during the holiday the weather had (just a little) impact on the flying.

We first flew to Asturias airport, and from there further to the west along the coast until we reached the line at which the clouds formed. Then turned south, and then south-east to León, passing on the way the Muniellos Nature Reserve.

After landing at León airport, we asked someone to call for a taxi to take us to the city. After we had checked in at the hotel, we visited the city, had diner and drinks.

From Santander to Leon
From Santander to León
Satellite images 4 August 2015
Satellite, 4 August 2015

Rene preparing for departure at Santander airport
René preparing for departure at Santander
Gijon
Passing Gijón
Taking-off from Asturias airport
Taking-off from Asturias airport
Further to the west along the coast
Further to the west along the coast
Passed around the clouded area
Passed around the clouded area
Veleda and Rene at Leon airport
Veleda and Rene at León airport

León
Leon Cathedral
León Cathedral
León is a wonderful city. It has a remarkable national heritage and historic monuments. Its standout attraction is the cathedral, one of the most beautiful in Spain. It is also called 'The House of Light' (Pulchra Leonia). The main facade has two towers. The southern tower is known as the 'clock tower'. Part of the cathedral is under restoration.

Veleda and Maurits at the Casa de los Botines
At the Casa de los Botines
The Casa de los Botines is a Modernist building designed by Antoni Gaudi. It was originally designed as a residential building with a warehouse. Nowadays it houses a bank. Gaudi designed the building with a medieval air and numerous neo-Gothic characteristics. As in other Spanish cities, in the evening there is a lively atmosphere which we enjoyed very much.

Leon sights



From León to Porto

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Maurits wanted to visit Portugal in particular, hence we had decided to fly to León and would continue from there to Porto on Wednesday. After René paid the fees at one location of the airport near where the plane was, a walk back to the terminal was required to pass security, and then back to where the plane was, this time on the inside of the fence.

After take-off from runway 23 León airport we headed south-west to Braganca in the north-east of Portugal. We made a fuel stop, but we did not fuel a lot, as the fuel was very expensive. Immediately after fueling we continued to Vilar de Luz airport, not far from Porto. At Porto airport handling was mandatory, making landing at Porto airport unattractive. In fact, we avoided handling the whole trip.

After landing we first taxied to an apron on the east side of the airport, as the building and apron on the other side appeared abandoned. After talking to someone in the hangar, we learned that visiting aircraft had to park on the other apron. We taxied the plane there, and in the building there was actually someone, who could also call us a taxi.

After a while the taxi appeared that brought us to the centre of Porto, where we had booked our hotel. We were going to stay for two nights, giving us sufficient time to visit the city.

Rene and Maurits
René and Maurits
Braganca airport
Braganca airport
Rene at Braganca airport
René at Braganca airport
Approaching Vilar de Luz airport
Approaching Vilar de Luz airport

Porto
Ribeira district
Ribeira district
Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal after Lisbon. Located along the Douro river, it is one of the oldest European centreas. Its historical core, the Ribeira district, is a World Heritage Site. More recently, the arrival of low-cost airlines has turned Porto into a popular weekend getaway. In 2014, Porto was elected The Best European Destination by the Best European Destinations Agency.

Dom Luis I Bridge
Dom Luís I Bridge
The Dom Luís I (or Luiz I) Bridge is a metal arch bridge that spans the Douro River between the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. At the time of construction its span of 172 m was the longest of its type in the world. It was completed in 1886 by a student of Gustave Eiffel. The top deck is occupied by the Metro do Porto light rail system and a pedestrian walkway, offering great views on the historic center of Porto and the river Douro.

Sao Bento railway station
São Bento railway station
The historical São Bento railway station is known for its tile (azulejo) panels that depict scenes of the History of Portugal. It is located in the Almeida Garret Square, in the centre of the city. Designed by Jorge Colaço in 1930, some 20,000 tiles depict historic battles (including Henry the Navigator's conquest of Ceuta), as well as the history of transport.

Porto sights



From Porto to Lisbon

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On Friday we left Porto for Lisbon. After we finally arrived at Vilar de Luz airport (the taxi driver was following a wide checker board pattern), we prepared for take-off from runway 34. We were first going to fly to Coimbra, where we would fill-up, and then to Cascais airport, west of Lisbon.

After take-off, we contacted Porto air traffic control, and requested to overfly the city. The request was approved, and we headed to the city. We made two orbits, with a spectacular view of the city, the river, the bridges and the historic buildings. After the orbits we set course to Coimbra, where we arrived some 25 minutes later.

After filling-up we took-off to fly to Cascais. In the distance we passed Fatima, a place that gained its fame from Marian apparitions in 1917. We also passed Sintra air base and the city of Sintra before arriving at Cascais airport.

From Cascais airport we took a taxi to the Cascais railway station, and from there the train to Lisbon, where we stayed for two nights. In Lisbon we bought an airline ticket from Faro to Holland for Maurits for Monday.

Rene at Vilar de Luz airport
René at Vilar de Luz airport
Orbits over Porto
Orbits over Porto
Maurits and Rene at Coimbra airport
Maurits and René at Coimbra airport
Landing on runway 35 Cascais airport
Landing on runway 35 Cascais airport

Lisbon
Veleda on Praca do Comercio square, Rua Augusta Arch
Veleda on Praça do Comércio square, Rua Augusta Arch
Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal. It is spread across steep hillsides (Lisbon is also nicknamed The City of Seven Hills) that overlook the Tagus River (Rio Tejo). The heart of the city is the Baixa or city centre, primarily constructed after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. The Rua Augusta Arch on Commerce Square was built to commemorate the city's reconstruction.

Sao Jorge Castle
São Jorge Castle
The São Jorge Castle is a Moorish castle occupying a commanding hilltop overlooking the historic centre of Lisbon. The first fortification was, presumably, erected in 48 BC, when Lisbon was classified ad a Roman municipality. Since then the hill was used by Visigoths in the 5th century, Moors in the 9th century, Christians in the 12th century, royals from the 14th to 16th centuries, etc.

Veleda with the Lisbon Cathedral
Veleda with the Lisbon Cathedral
The fortress like Lisbon Cathedral is the oldest church in Lisbon. It was built in 1150 on the site of a mosque soon after Christians recaptured the city from the Moors. The building has been modified seval times and survived a number of earthquakes. It is nowadays a mix of different architectural styles, and classified as a National Monument since 1910.

Lisbon sights



From Lisbon to Portimao

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On Monday morning we travelled back to Cascais airport the same way as we arrived, in reverse. With the weather outlook not fantastic, we decided to take our time to arrive at Portimao, and to visit two airports in between.

At Cascais the fees were paid, and a flightplan was filed to Évora, following the corridor ("tunnel") south of Lisbon. After take-off we climbed to 1,000 ft following the corridor to Lagoa de Albufeira, and then further at 1,500 ft to Venda Nova Dam while we passed a C172 that was also on its way from Cascais to Évora. The C172 had previously climbed to 2,000 ft, and was told, in English and in Portuguese, to immediately descend to 1,500 ft as he climbed to the altitude for inbound traffic while there was opposite traffic.

We arrived at Évora, and after paying the landing fees we continued for a small hop to Figueira de Cavaleiros, a private aerodrome for which the owner had given permission to land when René had called him the night before.

At Figueira de Cavaleiros aerodrome there were skydivers, who appeared surprised to see a visiting aircraft. We had a chat with the people, and checked the weather to Portimao while in the mean time some drizzle passed. After some time we took-off to Portimao, where we landed after some 30 minutes.

It was the last night Maurits was with us on this trip. We had diner at one of the tourist restaurants along the Avenue Thomás Cabreira in Portimao. In the hotel Maurits and René watched a replay of the Dutch Sunday night Sport programme on the internet with the kick-off of the new football season.

Maurits' flight was at 8 in the morning from Faro. We had ordered a shuttle at 5 to take him to Faro airport, so we did not stay up until late.

Maurits and Rene preparing for departure from Cascais airport
Preparing for departure from Cascais airport
Lisbon, 25th of April bridge
Lisbon, 25th of April bridge
Approaching Evora airport
Approaching Evora airport
Take-off from Figueira de Cavaleiros aerodrome
Take-off from Figueira de Cavaleiros aerodrome
Final runway 11 Portimao airport
Final runway 11 Portimao airport
Maurits and Rene at Portimao airport
Maurits and René at Portimao airport



From Portimao to Seville

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Monday morning the Faro airport shuttle arrived at 5 sharp. After Maurits left, we went back to bed, but of course we did not sleep anymore. We left the hotel early to Portimao airport, where we first had something to eat, before we set-off to Seville. At the airport office we received a transponder code from Faro Approach by telephone.

After take-off we turned south to the coast, and made contact with Faro Approach. We followed the Algarve coast to the east, passing some well known places such as Albufeira. We passed Faro airport in the north, and then further along the coast to Spain.

We entered the Seville FIR near Ayamonte, but we could not establish contact with Seville approach from the low altitude we were flying. After some time we could make contact, and we flew to Seville airport via the southern VFR route in the CTR. Fueling took considerable time as the fuel dispatcher was not too helpful. That there is considerable paperwork involved with fueling in Spain, that it was Siesta time, that it was hot, that foreign VAT codes had to be figured out, and that we did not speak Spanish may have played a role.

After one hour we had fueled, and we took the bus to the city, where we had booked a hotel in the historic centre and stayed for two nights.

Portimao
Portimao
Algarve coast near Sesmarias
Algarve coast near Sesmarias
Spain-Portugal border Guadiana River
Spain-Portugal border Guadiana River
Veleda and Rene at Seville airport
Veleda and René at Seville airport

Seville
Seville
Seville
Seville is the capital city of Andalusia. The city occupies the valley of the Guadalquivir river. The Seville harbour is the only river port in Spain. Silver and gold from the New World arrived to Seville through the river and were distributed throughout the country from here following the Spanish conquest of the American continent. A golden age of development commenced in Seville, due to its being the only port awarded the royal monopoly for trade with the Spanish colonies in the Americas.

Veleda at the Alcazar
Veleda at the Alcázar
The Alcázar of Seville is a Royal Palace of Seville. The upper levels are still used by the royal family as the official Seville residence, and is the oldest royal palacy still in use in Europe. Built primarily in the 1300s, it is a magnificent complex of patios and halls in different architectural styles. The Muslin rulers developed the original fort in what is now the western part of the Alcázar.

Seville Cathedral
Seville Cathedral
The Seville Cathedral is one of the largest and most impressive churches in the world. It stands on the site of the 12th-century Almohad mosque. The mosque had been damaged by an earthquake, and it was decided to replace the damaged mosque with a new, grand cathedral. Inside the Cathedral stands the tomb of Christopher Columbus. The Giralda is the bell tower of the Cathedral, and the former minaret of the mosque that stood on the site.

Seville sights



From Seville to Granada

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For Wednesday we planned to fly to Granada, with two stops in between. We left for the airport early. At the airport we first had some problem finding the GA office. Someone directed us through security, and then we found the office on the inside of the airport.

We paid the fees, and then made a long walk along the apron to the general aviation apron. After we had prepared the plane, we contacted Tower for taxi. We had to taxi some 3 kilometers to the holding point of runway 27. When ready for take-off, we also requested an orbit over the city, but that was denied. After take-off we turned south to the southern entry/exit point of Sevilla CTR, and then further to Villamartin, where we made a short stop.

From Villamartin we flew south-east in the direction of Marbella. When we reached the coast, we could see Gibraltar in the south. We followed the coast to Malaga. At Torremolinos air traffic control instructed us to hold before continuing to cross Malaga airport. After one orbit we could continue, and we were instructed to cross Malaga airport over the north-western side of the runways. We passed the city of Malaga, and soon thereafter we approached La Axarquia airport, where we landed on runway 12.

After landing we moved to the fuel station, where we filled-up. We prepared for the next short hop to Granada, but the run-up showed the engine was not functioning with the right magneto selected. A short inspection of the ignition did not show anything. Luckely there was a maintenance centre on the aerodrome. René taxied the plane to the hangars of the maintenance centre, and it was agreed with management that they would inspect and repair the engine the next day, pending on the problem. As we had booked the hotel in Granada for two days anyway, we agreed to come back on Friday, and that we would have contact in the mean time. We called for a taxi to Torre del Mar, where we took the bus to Granada.

In Granada we checked-in the hotel, and then we scouted the old city. At night we bought tickets online to visit the Alhambra the next day. The next day, after we had visited the Alhambra, René called the maintenance centre. The magneto problem was actually a cable fault, which was already repaired. The maintenance centre urged also to replace the right tire as it was weared down too much, which was agreed.

Veleda and Rene at Seville airport
Veleda and René at Seville airport
Veleda at Tomas Fernandez Espada aerodrome
Veleda at Tomas Fernandez Espada aerodrome
Passing Puerto Banus, Marbella
Passing Puerto Banus, Marbella
Arrived at La Axarquia airport
Arrived at La Axarquia airport
Skylane at the maintenance company
Skylane at the maintenance company
By bus to Granada
By bus to Granada

Granada
Veleda at the High Court
Veleda at the High Court
Granada, located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, was to be the last stronghold of the Moors in Western Europe. The last Muslim ruler in Iberia surrendered in 1492 after the last battle of the Granada war. The Moorish influence on architecture is preserved well in Granada. The Alhambra, a Moorish citadel and palace, is the most well-known monument of the city and one of the most visited in Spain.

Alhambra
Alhambra
The Alhambra takes its name from the Arabic al-qala'a al hamra (the Red Castle). The first palace on the site was built by Samuel Ha-Nagid, the Jewish grand vizier of one of Granada's 11th-century Zirid sultans. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the Nasrid emirs turned the area into a fortress-palace complex. After the Reconquista, the Alhambra's mosque was replaced with a church.

Albayzin next to the river Darro
Albayzín next to the river Darro
On the hill facing the Alhambra across the Darro valley lies Granada's old Muslim quarter, the Albayzín. It is a rich repository of Moorish architecture. When the Reconquista was completed in 1492, new churches and monasteries harmonized with the existing architecture. The cobblestone streets are lined with large mansions with walled gardens.

Granada Cathedral
Granada Cathedral
The Granada Cathedral is considered to be the first Renaissance church in Spain. It was built atop the site of the city's main mosque. The first stone of the Cathedral was laid in 1523. It became a mix of different styles; Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance. The Cathedral was left incomplete in its facade. Of the two towers planned, only one lower tower was built.

Granada sights



From Granada to Badajoz

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Friday morning Veleda and René took the 8 o'clock bus from Granada to Torre del Mar, where we arrived at the end of the morning. From Torre del Mar we travelled to the airport. The plan was to visit Cordoba, and then to Salamanca the next day on Saturday. Salamanca is only open in the weekend for VFR traffic. As the airport of Cordoba closes already at 3 o'clock, we had to depart from La Axarquia in time.

When we arrived at the airport, work to replace the right tire had yet to start. After some deliberations the maintenance staff agreed to replace the tire immediately, although they had time off in the afternoon. It took an hour or so, and René thanked all the technicians for their great help and support. Otherwise the tire would have been replaced on Monday.

As also formalizing and finishing maintenance paperwork absorbs time, it became apparent that we could not reach Cordoba anymore before closing of the airport that day. As we also wanted to visit Salamanca, we decided to leave Cordoba for another time, and fly to Badajoz instead. There we would just spend the night in order to continue to Salamanca the next morning.

We started the engine, and the run-up went fine. Briefly there appeared to be a problem with the radio, but it was just the audio panel that was switched off. We took-off from runway 30 of La Axarquia airport, and climbed over the airport while closely monitoring the engine. On the ground some of the maintenance staff was looking, before they went for their weekend off.

René contacted Malaga approach, and we continued in the direction of Badajoz. After about one hour and thirty minutes we touched-down following a straight-in approach on runway 31 of Badajoz airport. A taxi brought us to the hotel nearby. We just relaxed by the pool, had diner, and went to bed early.

Right tire to be replaced
Right tire to be replaced
Over La Axarquia airport
Over La Axarquia airport
Mountains near Alfarnate
Mountains near Alfarnate
Arrived at Badajoz
Arrived at Badajoz



From Badajoz to Salamanca

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On Saturday morning we went to Badajoz airport at about half past eight. After the normal formalities; filing the flightplan, paying the landing and parking fees; we walked to the plane and prepared for departure. After take-off we headed directly to Salamanca. On the way we passed the Alcantara reservoir with new bridges nearing completion for the high speed railway, and further north the western flank of the Sierra de Gredos mountain range.

After landing at Salamanca airport, we took a taxi to the hotel, and then further enjoyed the lively city. There were a number of marriages, with a lot of activity taking place on the street. Of the wedding guests, the ladies wore colorful wedding guest dresses.

Departure from Badajoz
Departure from Badajoz
High speed railway bridge under construction
Railway bridge under construction
Arriving at Salamanca airport
Arriving at Salamanca airport
Arrived at Salamanca airport
Arrived at Salamanca airport

Salamanca
View on Salamanca
View on Salamanca
Salamanca is a lively and vibrant University city. It is one of the most important university cities in Spain, and attracts thousands of international students. In the historic centre of the town is the world-famous Salamanca university, founded in 1218 as the first university in Spain and modeled after the university of Bologna. It recognized the Copernican system at a time when the church still regarded this idea as heresy.

Veleda at the Plaza Mayor
Veleda at the Plaza Mayor
Built between 1729 and 1755, Salamanca's Plaza Mayor is widely considered to be Spain's most beautiful central plaza. At night, the square is illuminated, providing a memorable image. Much of the daily and night life of Salamanca takes place in the Plaza Mayor. Around the square there are small boutiques, restaurants and cafes. The town hall of Salamanca is also located in the Plaza Mayor.

Rene at the Roman Bridge
René at the Roman Bridge
The Roman Bridge stands 356 meters over the Tormes River, with 15 granite stone arches leading into Salamanca. It was an important part of the Roman silver route, which ran from Merida to Astorga. The bridge was originally constructed in the year 89, but was reconstructed in the 17th century after it was damaged due to flooding. From the bridge there is an excellent view on the city.

Salamanca sights



From Salamanca to Burgos

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On Sunday morning we travelled back to Salamanca airport in order to fly to Burgos, our next stop on this trip. On the way to Burgos we passed Valladolid, and we saw the mountains south of Burgos which we had overflown in November 2012 as part of the Sergio Leone trip we made.

After about an hour we landed on runway 22 of Burgos airport, and took a taxi to the city. We enjoyed the rest of the Sunday in the city.

Rene tightening a loose screw
René tightening a loose screw
Salamance airport after take-off
Salamance airport after take-off
Good, Bad or Ugly mountains south of Burgos
Good, Bad or Ugly mountains south of Burgos
To land on runway 22 Burgos airport
To land on runway 22 Burgos airport

Burgos
Aerial picture of Burgos
Aerial picture of Burgos
The medieval city of Burgos was an important stop on the trail to Santiago de Compostela. The city forms the principal crossroad of northern Spain along the Camino de Santiago, which runs paralles to the River Arlanzón. Burgos is mostly celebrated for its magnificant cathedral. The cathedral is in the historic centre, which is guarded by monumental gates.

Veleda at the Arco de Santa Maria
Veleda at the Arco de Santa Maria
The Arco de Santa Maria was once the main gate to the old city and part of the 14th-century walls. The massive arch is flanked by two semicircular towers, giving it the appearance of a castle. The gate features statues of Castilian heroes and kings. It now hosts temporary exhibitions.

Burgos Cathedral
Burgos Cathedral
The Gothic style Burgos Cathedral is a masterpiece. It is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is famous for its vast size and unique architecture. It bears witness to the creative genius of many architects, sculptors, and craftsmen. Construction on the Cathedral began in 1221 and was completed in 1567. Remarkably, within 40 years most of the French Gothic structure had been completed.

Burgos sights



From Burgos to Pamplona

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On Monday morning we took a taxi to the airport. The taxi driver looked puzzled, as he explained that there would be no flights to or from Burgos that day.

After the familiar procedures, we departed from runway 22 of Burgos airport, and we headed to Burgos for some sight-seeing. We had a nice view of the city and the castle, the cathedral, the arch and the square.

After the orbit, we headed in the direction of Pamplona. North of the river Ebro we saw the Urbasa mountains in clouds.

We were directed to runway 33 of Pamplona airport, from where we took a taxi to the hotel in the city. It was our last stop in Spain on this trip.

Veleda at Burgos airport
Veleda at Burgos airport
Over Burgos
Over Burgos
Left base runway 33 Pamplona airport
Left base runway 33 Pamplona airport
Terminal Pamplona airport
Terminal Pamplona airport

Pamplona
Rene in Pamplona
René in Pamplona
Surrounded by mountains and located on the Pilgrim's route to Santiago, Pamplona is famous worldwide for the running of the bulls during the legendary festival of Sanfermines in July. In the middle ages, the city first became the capital of the Kingdom of Pamplona and later of the Kingdom of Navarre. In the 15th century Pamplona became an outpost for the Spanish crown against France. In the 18th century the city began to modernise.

Pamplona Cathedral
Pamplona Cathedral
Pamplona's main cathedral stands on a rise in the city. The rather dull neoclassical facade is in contrast with the Gothic aesthetic inside. The interior reveals some fine artefacts, including an outstanding silver-plated Virgin and the tomb of Carlos III of Navarra and his wife. The jewel in the building's crown is the Gothic cloister, where there is marvellous delicacy in the stonework.

Veleda at the citadel
Veleda at the citadel
From the prominent military past of Pamplona remain three of the four sides of the city walls and, with little modifications, the citadel. Philip had the city bounded by walls that made it almost a regular pentagon. All the medieval structures were replaced and improved over time until the 18th century to resist artillery sieges. It is now a park, and portal to three more parks that unfold to the north.

Pamplona sights



From Pamplona to Rennes

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On Tuesday morning we left Spain for France. We were going to visit Kléber, who lives near Rennes. After take-off we first flew to the west while climbing to 7,500 ft, to go around the clouds visible on the Satellite pictures. As the clouds reached further to the west, broken stratus at about 6,500 ft to the north and overcast in the east, we headed north in the direction of San Sebastian airport. On the north side of the mountains the stratus became overcast with a celing at about 6,000 ft, however, since we were clear of the mountains and following the coast, it was no issue.

After some time we reached the edge of the stratus layer, and we further flew in clear sky all the way to La Rochelle. We landed on runway 27 of La Rochelle Ile de Re airport, and after landing we taxied to the fuel station. The fuel price was a relief compared to the prices we had paid in Spain and Portugal.

After a sandwich at a cabin near the terminal, we went back to the plane to fly the last leg that day to Rennes. Upon landing at Rennes, Veleda called Kléber, who then picked us up by car.

Mountains north-west of Pamplona
Mountains north-west of Pamplona
Veleda and Rene
Veleda and René
Fueling at La Rochelle airport
Fueling at La Rochelle airport
Little terminal at La Rochelle airport
Little terminal at La Rochelle airport
Approaching runway 28 Rennes airport
Approaching runway 28 Rennes airport
Kleber and Rene with the donkeys
Kléber and René with the donkeys



From Rennes to Hilversum

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At the end of the morning on Wednesday, Kléber took us back to Rennes airport. After a warm good-bye, we went to the terminal to pay the charges. René had already filed the flight plan in the morning. We took off from runway 28 of Rennes airport, and then headed almost directly to Hilversum, where we arrived after about two and a half hours.

It was the end of a great holiday.

Kleber and Veleda
Kléber and Veleda
Take-off from runway 28 Rennes airport
Take-off from runway 28 Rennes airport
Ponte de Normandie
Ponte de Normandie
Veleda and Rene at Hilversum airfield
Veleda and René at Hilversum airfield


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