During my time in Europe I was able to experience a wide variety of cultures, foods and landscapes, from the picturesque beaches of Cannes to the beautiful sunny weather patterns of British Summer (that was a joke, and is the UK even still counted as Europe? …I made a #Lexit before the arguments started).
But overall I got to enjoy some relatively (and yes, only relatively) easy, smooth and beautiful flying. Let’s start in England.
I had a good 11 day layover in England during which I got to catch up on some sleep, hang out with my awesome family that live there, and get the Spirit of the Sunshine Coast serviced, it’s just like a car and needs a tune up every now and then.
It was really nice to step back into some kind of reality being in a house and having my feet in the ground for more than 3 days, I enjoyed that almost as much as the sightseeing and relaxing I got to do!
On top of all that I had a visitor from home, dad! The powerfully built man of 47 years (those who read the Weekend Australian Magazine article will know what I am talking about – you can re-read HERE), came over too. What a break for me!
Following the WATW siesta I jumped across the channel and into the land of excellent baguettes, pastries and cheese but not before fulfilling a dream of mine – to fly along the White Cliffs of Dover.
It was surreal experiencing the same views from the sky that my relatives did, also as pilots, so many years ago during both world wars, and to see it on a journey such as this was incredible.
Next stop: France.
The views on the way down were nice when I could see through the cloud layer below me and the approach into Cannes was breathtaking. Below me lay beautiful blue water and lots of boats with values ranging right up to 20 Cirrus’ (don’t worry Albert, you’re priceless).
But my stay in Cannes was off to a rocky start after making my way dopily to the wrong hotel
But my stay in Cannes was off to a rocky start after making my way dopily to the wrong hotel, at least I got the direction wrong on the ground and not in the sky! After correcting my course and finding my hotel I was set for some exploring in the hours of the day that remained.
I caught a taxi into town and started walking. I really enjoy going for a walk when I can as the Cirrus doesn’t allow much room for going for a stroll and it really makes you enjoy the ground a lot more, especially when you can’t straighten your legs for up to 14 hours in the plane.
During my expedition through the city of Cannes I heard some party music coming from the beach so I went to have a look, however a fence blocked the source of the music. So I went around to a different side and couldn’t see anything once again so decided I would ask someone.
As it turns out, the lady I asked happened to be the manager for one of the organising companies and I got free tickets and taken to the secret squirrel entrance skipping the hour of queues!
Lachie was having a winner winner chicken dinner of a day.
So entering this beach party was pretty exciting and it turns out the DJ who was on the stage was DJ Snake (don’t worry mum I’ll explain who he is later – but if you’re feeling adventurous, click the video below!)
I really didn’t have a clue what was going on as my French is about as well developed as my Portuguese, luckily I speak the global language of dance. The rest of the stay in France included preparing for the next flight and catching up with a fellow pilot for some dinner and a very cool fireworks show off the beach!
Next stop was Crete, Greece, and while the flight wasn’t exactly one of the easiest with interesting weather and difficult air traffic controllers, I still enjoyed the scenery and landing on the beautiful island of Crete. A great hotel and views that make you drool all over your wonderful green salad with basil and avocado dressing, the stop was one I will certainly never forget!
But it didn’t feel like long until I was soaring off that majestic island, concluding my European segment and with a flight plan set for the Middle East. Destination next, Egypt.
I must say, arriving here was a bit of a relief after fighting ATC once again for a long period of the trip.
The difficulties began with bad radio reception over the water between Crete and Egypt, followed by requests for me to do things that aren’t possible with my aircraft and there were a few surprise flight condition changes.
By the time I put the aircraft down onto the runway I was worn out mentally and looking forward to my hotel room. I packed up, tucked Albert into bed and made my way through immigration and customs to a waiting van that took me to the hotel.
Bring on the Middle East and Asia, I’m exciting to explore a new part of the world.