Monday, August 30, 2004

French and Italian Coast, the Rhone valley to Valence.

Considered tracking back north through the alps but the weather there looked really bad, so I decided to continue around them to the west and make a complete circumnaviagtion of the alps. I would use Albenga in southwest Italy as a landing point, which was 2 hours or so from San Nicolo as the MCR flies.

Departed 10am from Lido and flew the standard Italian VFR routes south of Venice and west to Cremona, right over to Genoa at the 1000ft agl forced upon me by the Italian controllers (who were actually much friendlier than I had expected and easy to understand). After breaking through the hills at Genoa I could continue along the fantastic coastal route to Albenga (LIMG). Albenga has a large runway and sits between hills which you have to skip over at low level in the circuit, but it is really a 'small' airport. Apart from poor visibility over the flat area around Cremona the flying was fine. Fees were 12€ and the staff very helpful.

I'd arrived at about 12pm and over a plate of Gnocchi in the airport restaurant I had time to plan the next 2 hour leg down the French coast to Marseille and back up the Rhone valley to Valence. This is a trip many MCR people will have made so I won't go into details. For me it was a new and fantastic experience to track the coast under clear skies past Monaco, St. Tropez to Marseille at 1000ft msl (or so). Arriving at Valence I found that all the facilities were closed (Sunday). Luckily for a me an English guy called Nick appeared and let me put FPZAM in his hangar space overnight because his Cirrus SR22 was in Paris at the time. He also drove me into town and reccommended a hotel. Great person. Many thanks to him.

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