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South Africa for Christmas


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Well .......... given all the ale consumed on the Real Ale Tour I decided to consider a venue for Chrismas Lunch. After all there was to be no pre-festivities dieting in this household, I mean what are New Years resolutions there for anyway. After some debate (yes I talk to myself) and considering different ideas about around the world travel and various other travel plans I decided to head for a sunnier climate. The choice of South Africa was a little strange even to myself, primarily because I don't really do long haul flights, throw into the mix that I don't fly Jets and the choice becomes even more bizarre. Part of the logic for this adventure was to experience a range of climates and scenery types, moving from the cold dark North of England through the warmer European areas into the deserts and down to South Africa.

The next thing was to decide on the ride - how to make an extremely long journey without a jet? I'd also decided to take along some company as I didn't fancy such a long flight alone. After looking in the hangar the choice made itself - the A2A Simulations B-17 Flying Fortress was to be the bird that flies south for the winter. So myself and the boys from the local flying club (all fully trained B-17 crew members you understand) would aim to be in South Africa for Christmas Lunch.

An ambitious trip particularly for someone used to much shorter trips in GA Aircraft and old Warbirds but what the hell - who dares wins :pilotic:

I prepared a broad outline of a flight plan as a key problem would be the length and standard of some of the airstrips in Africa and whether they can take a B-17 Flying Fortress.

The journey begins at my home field of Newcastle International Airport EGNT and leg 1 will take us down the coast over Norwich, on to Paris and then over the Alps into Italy for a bit of rest and good food at LIRP San Giusto, Pisa.

Wednesday 23rd November 2011

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Departure time

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We're off but not alot to see as we move into the clouds

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Not a very scenic trip so far as we move down the east coast of England (could be anywhere)

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Passed over Norwich and into the English Channel - not that you'd know it

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Into France and thankfully the weather has changed for the better

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A bluebird day over the French countryside

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Preparing to leave France onward south

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Into the Swiss border region, with a little company above and down below Lake Lausanne

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Into the Alps - did I say it was getting warmer!!!

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Cold but scenic - Mont Blanc off the starboard wing

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Italy beckons - surely it must get warmer now

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Ah the Mediterranean - feel the warmth

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Down the West coast of Italy

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Pisa in sight

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The approach

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The arrival - safely down - with just a minor grumble from the back - funny having the crew actually moan at you

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A bit of traffic - so a short wait

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Service please

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Err what no passengers? Hmmm .... not to worry time to go and find some real Italian Pasta and a nice glass of Chianti

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Ciao for now, back soon, time and weather permitting

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First Leg Update

Well after arriving in Pisa on Wednesday the boys and myself decided to stay over and sample more of the food and wine. We made the short journey into the centre of Pisa to find somewhere to stay. After a few enquiries we happened across the Hotel Bologna which appeared to be a rather charming four star hotel in the midle of Pisa. It was equipped with all comforts: free internet points, free Wi-Fi, Sat-TV and room service. It seemed ideal for a spot of sightseeing plus the obligatory food and drink.

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After sorting all of the domestic arrangements we decided that given the number of things to do a few days stay over would be best. And so we set about trying to absorb the culture of the place.

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The Piazza del Duomo ("Cathedral Square") is a wide, walled area at the heart of the city of Pisa and is recognized as one of the main centres for medieval art in the world. Partly paved and partly grassed, it is dominated by four great religious edifices: the Duomo (cathedral), the Campanile (the cathedral's free standing bell tower), the Baptistry and the Camposanto.

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Second Leg - Friday 25th November 2011

After a couple of days we all felt our culture levels were maxed out and decided upon an early start to the next leg of the tour. Cases packed we headed back to San Giusto Airport to have one last look at the Hippos before heading South.

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Leg 2 was to take us over Corsica and Sardinia before heading down into Tunisia.

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We'd left our beautiful "Heaven Sent" all prepared and ready to go so after obtaining clearance the sun was barely up as we leave LIRP

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Sunrising as we look out over Elba - wonder if Napolean is still there?

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Corsica quickly looms up before us

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Time for the boys to start a happy sing-a-long to pass the time

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Quickly on to Sardinia

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The sun continues to rise quickly over Sardinia

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Before we know it Tunisia peeks out from under the cloud

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Time for a change of course over Tunis

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Into the desert with the wings glistening

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Passing DTTF Gafsa

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Approaching our next stop

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Finals at DTTZ Tozeur-Nefta

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Safely down again and this time a compliment from the crew - wonders will never cease

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Somebody's travelling in style

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Shutdown and tidy for the old girl

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Time to head off through the airport and find some digs

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Well when I say digs - this virtual travelling means the world is your oyster

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This is the Ras El Ain Hotel = Nestling in a magnificent garden facing Tozeur's palm oasis, beside the majestic lanscapes of the desert, the Golden Yasmin Ras El Aïn promised a cool and comfortable stay in the heart of the Tunisian south. Only three kilometres from the airport, close to the town centre and facing the enormous palm oasis, the hotel was ideally located to make the most of our Saharan stay. Oh I nearly forgot it's near a golf course too.

Golf.jpg

Tozeur Oasis Golf on the edge of desert, the imposing scenery and intense heat combine to offer an unforgettable experience the Ronald Fream-designed course is surrounded by palm trees in order to blend in better with its surroundings, it overlooks Tozeur’s palm grove which is one of the most beautiful in Tunisia.

I think me and the boys will be quite happy here for a few days to come - plus we need some R&R

Hope you enjoyed this latest episode

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Will you be getting GEX "Africa and Middle East" to finish off the eye candy?

Cheer's...Graham...

No mate I'm sticking with standard FSX down in Africa as I don't think it's an area I will fly regularly - plus I'm not having you spend more of my cash :P

Another great leg Sabre!

The bloke in the Learjet maybe in the faster, more comfortable aircraft but I bet he's not enjoying his flight half as much as you!

Thanks Kieron - I have to say I've loved every minute of this trip so far - the big old B-17 is an absolute joy to fly - thorougjly enjoyed myself.

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