Flying to Fervenza - Galicia, North-West Spain
Its true, we have a guilty pleasure………
Very, very rarely Rik and I get a chance to fly somewhere new in his wonderful, home-built Europa plane - Together! Today was one of those days and we flew to a lovely little airfield with a grass strip, Aerodromo da Fervenza, close to Mazaricos and right next to the Encore da Fervenza lake in the far north west tip of Spain. Its been such a long time since we landed the Europa on a grass strip and it was fabulous!
This blog is just going to be a series of photos to show you how utterly amazing and beautiful the landscape is in our part of Portugal and Northern Spain (well as beautiful as my photos, it was a little bit hazy). A bit indulgent I know but I think I can be excused!
We pulled the Europa out of its hanger at Viseu Aerodrome at around 10am today and set off for Northern Spain. Just for a bit of fun I have calculated the journey if we did it by road, unfair I know, but, in a way it’s relevant too. This map shows the various road routes available to us and the red arrow is our route (more or less) its curved because we had to route around Porto Airspace, even though we were flying at 7000ft we still skirted around their outer space. This gave us the chance to fly over the amazing Parque National Peneda-Geres which was absolutely stunning so it was worth it.
We could go via Vila Real (which we saw clearly from the sky) on Toll motorways so it would be expensive. This route would take 3 hours and 57 minutes covering 241 miles.
We could go the slower way with no tolls which would take us 4 hours and 2 minutes and cover 245 miles.
We did the journey in 1 hour and 20 minutes covering 160 miles, using 30L of unleaded fuel each way. We bought 30L of fuel in Spain for our return journey which was cheaper so rounding it out our fuel @€1.50 per L it cost us €90 or £81 in fuel, not bad in comparison to a car given the time saved (Oh and the views and total lack of traffic jams)
Fuelling up at Viseu Airfield then flying up towards the Douro Valley. The last photo in this sequence shows the magnificent Douro river and the town of Peso da Regua.
We flew over the Western side of the stunning Parque Nacional Peneda-Geres which was absolutely glorious, a barren but softly rounded landscape right up on top. the highest points are around 4,000m. We then Flew over the River Limia at Ponte da Barca, the river forms the boundary between Portugal and Spain. It was so much greener up here in the North.
The approach to the lake Encoro Da Fervenza with its grass strip runway right alongside was beautiful but we could not hang around as we had this thundering great Fire bombing plane right up behind us. The Canadair CL-415 plane (nicknamed “The Scooper”) was doing demonstrations showing how the pilots fly, skimming the top of the lake, to take on well over 6,000 litres of water which is then used to help in the very important job of fighting forest fires both here in Spain and in Portugal too of course. At home we regularly see pairs of these huge airplanes flying low over us going up to the lakes on the Serra da Estrella mountains or to the huge Mondego river to take on more water. Its quite a spectacular sight.
After an interesting (!!!) lunch with the Air Club, we took on some fuel and headed back to Viseu. It was an absolutely beautiful flight passing to the west of Santiago de Compostella over the Rio Ulla estuary at Vila Garcia da Arousa with its white beaches and little islands, past the Spanish cities of Pontevedra and Vigo, back over the Spain/Portugal border, the Douro Valley and home.