Exploring the world in the Beechcraft Bonanza

Leg 44 Aosta, Italy to Nice, France

DAY10_5.PLN (7.4 KB)

Bingo, 4th time crossing the Alps, finally some good views!

10-05 Aosta LIMW 5:29 AM Mont Blanc on the way
10-05 Megeve LFHM 6:23 AM
10-05 Meythet (Annecy) LFLP 6:43 AM
10-05 Geneva LSGG 6:53 AM
10-05 Vouvray LFHN 7:04 AM
10-05 Corlier LFJD 7:17 AM Steep runway
10-05 Bron (Lyon) LFLY 7:30 AM

10-05 Bron (Lyon) LFLY 8:08 AM
10-05 La Tour Du Pin LFKP -:-- Bugged short runway in a depression
10-05 St Jean d’Avelanne LFKH 8:26 AM
10-05 Aix-les-Bains LFLB 8:36 AM
10-05 Challes-les-Eaux (Chambery) LFLE 8:42 AM
10-05 Courchevel LFLJ 9:03 AM
10-05 Aeritalia (Turin) LIMA 9:34 AM
10-05 Malpensa LIMC 10:00 AM
10-05 Linate (Milan) LIML Monza North 10:37 AM
10-05 Orio Al Serio (Bergamo) LIME 10:58 AM

10-05 Orio Al Serio (Bergamo) LIME 11:30 AM
10-05 Piacenza Mil LIMS 11:50 AM
10-05 Campo di Volerio Glorialanza LIFG 12:11 PM
10-05 Sestri (Genoa) LIMJ 12:20 PM
10-05 Albenga LIMG 12:40 PM Monaco a bit before Nice
10-05 Nice/Cote d’Azur LFMN 1:11 PM

Flight time: 6:30 19 stops

Aosta by day light and less clouds. Heading for Mont Blanc!

Villeneuve, weather still looking good

Chenoz, I can see Mont Blanc!

Verrand, getting closer, I need to get higher

Back and forth in front of the French alps gaining altitude, currently above Entrèves

Looking back to Italy

Uh oh, that cloud front is moving pretty fast

This is the last ‘clear’ view of Mont Blanc I got (peak on the left)

While going in to cross over along Mont Blanc visibility went to zero and not long after the plane iced up. I had to push it into a 1000 fpm dive to keep it from stalling, luckily I had just cleared the ridge otherwise it would have been a long way around.

Megeve on the French side of Mont Blanc, now firmly hidden in the clouds

Point de la Beccaz

Corlier, a very challenging landing. Short steep runway up a hill

Ambérieu-en-Bugey on the way to Lyon, bad weather

Lyon on the river Rhône

That big rectangle in the middle is Place Bellecour

A massive square with a statue of King Louis XIV, aka Louis the Great or the Sun King

He was king of France from 1643 to 1715, 72 years

Lyon is also host to some interesting statues

From left to right Parc de la Tete d’Or, the Bartholdi Fountain and La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere

Chambery Airport on Lac-du-Bouget

Aix-les-Bains is behind to the left, in front of the airport is Chambéry

Crossing river Isère

To get to Courchevel, well known place in FS2020, runway on the right

A popular ski resort and incredible for take offs

Back across the Alps again, out of the clouds. Pointe de Charbonnel

Uia di Ciamarella

Grande de Motte in the far back

Flying over Usseglio

One more look back over Niquidetto

Turin, back in Italy

Milan, Parco Sempione with Sforzesco Castle

At the entrance of the park at the far back, Arco della Pazza

Duomo di Milano, one of the largest Cathedrals in the world

This one took over 600 years to build

Porta Nuovo, Milan’s futuristic business district

In the back are these 2 residential towers, Bosco Verticale

A bit beyond the capabilities of FS 2020, trees on a tower. Also the square in front looks like it’s still under construction, which is odd since it is completed on Bing.

One more shot of Milan towards Milano Centrale

Not far North of Milan is Monza!

A track that’s always certified chaos in GT Sport

Coming in for a landing in Genoa

Into the setting sun over Albenga, Cote D’Azur

Monaca, playground of the rich

It’s a shame there is no PG data here. I tried to figure out the Monaco GP layout when the game first came out, however the track is lost in a mess of seemingly randomly placed roads. Stade Nautique Rainier III, the Olympic-length heated seawater swimming pool is a blue roofed building.

Looking lovely on Google, from a distance anyway

I wish this track came back to Gran Turismo, blast from the past

And finally arriving in Nice

A lot of pictures today, currently already over 1,000 pictures from this trip

Leg 45 Nice to Toulouse, France

DAY10_6.PLN (5.2 KB)

A shorter route than usual, I actually had some more sleep and other things to do which didn’t allow multi-tasking with FS2020. My plan to explore the Pyrenees today got spoiled by the weather, however it ended up as one of the most epic flights yet.

10-06 Nice/Cote d’Azur LFMN 6:17 AM Cannes just before Mandelieu
10-06 Mandelieu LFMD 6:29 AM
10-06 La Mole LFTZ 6:53 AM Pretty place to land
10-06 Le Castellet LFMQ 7:16 AM Marseille halfway
10-06 Marseille/Provence LFML 7:44 AM

10-06 Marseille/Provence LFML 9:51 AM
10-06 Les Milles (Aix-en-Provence) LFMA 10:06 AM
10-06 Caumont (Avignon) LFMV Pont du Gard West 10:19 AM
10-06 Courbessac LFME 10:40 AM
10-06 Montpellier/Mediterranee LFMT 10:53 AM
10-06 Larzac LFCM 11:20 AM Viaduc de Millau North-West
Can’t interact with glass cockpit anymore, restart

10-06 Larzac LFCM 11:41 AM
10-06 Cassagnes-Begonnes LFIG 12:08 PM
10-06 Le Sequestre LFCI 12:35 PM
10-06 Blagnac (Toulouse) LFBO 1:41 PM

Flight time: 4:56 12 stops

The weather started off nice enough, Pointe Croisette along Cote d’Azure

Which is just ahead of Cannes (when going West)

Cannes, of course known for its international film festival

Interesting marina a bit further, Port Grimaud

Next along the coast is Saint-Tropez

A place I associate with Louis de Funès and the movies he starred in starting with Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez. His Gendarme movies were a favorite when I grew up.

Le Castellet and circuit Paul Ricard

A lap around the circuit

Parc national des Calanques, the weather turned

I doubt it would have looked much better in full sunlight, this is what it really looks like

Higher resolution mesh needed

Marseille with Le Dôme de Marseille at the bottom

Cathédrale La Major neo-Byzantine cathedral from the 1800’s

Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde at the highest point of the city

It is crowned by a golden statue of the Virgin Mary by Lequesne and there are model ships hanging from the ceiling inside. That’s different. I learned a new word today ex-voto

Aix-en-Provence looking at Fontaine de la Rotonde from 1860

I did not expect to find a memorial to the Armenian genocide here

The first genocide of the 20th century in Europe, mostly forgotten, 1.5 million Armenians methodically killed by the Ottoman government (Turkey) between 1914 and 1923.

Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur d’Aix-en-Provence

On to Avignon, it keeps getting darker

For once, the sunken bridge is sort of accurate

The remains of Pont D’avignon aka Pont Saint-Bénézet, originally build in the 12th century

And now that song is stuck in my head again

Pont du Gard, partially lit by lightning in the distance

Build in the first century by the Romans to transport water 50 km to Nemausus now Nîmes

Montpellier, lit by lightning as well. Too dark! Looking at Montpellier National Opera

It’s a shame it’s so dark, Montpellier is quite beautiful

Arc du Triomphe

Interesting modern architecture as well, L’Arbre Blanc

The weather kept getting worse and worse, Larzac

Using synthetic vision to find the runway, which wasn’t visible until right on top of it

Pushing on, Viaduc de Millau

Sagging under the weight of the rain I guess

The highest cable stayed bridge in the world from 2004 to 2012

Ok, enough trying to see under the clouds, time to climb! It sure is a rough ride though the clouds, getting thrown around a lot. After getting above 12K ft I can see!

Lightning in the sky on the way Cassagnes-Begones

I went down to land, could just make out the runway. Back to the sky

On the way to Le Sequestre

Yikes, it’s getting close

Down for a landing again, rough rough, nothing to see, back up again.

Watching the sunset on the way to Blagnac (Toulouse)

I’m only flying 80 knots, too beautiful up here to leave

What an end to a rough ride, amazing flying around here

By the time I got down to Toulouse it was pitch black. Luckily a well lit runway and a gap under the clouds to see it. Despite the rough weather higher up, a very smooth landing. What a ride!

Leg 46 Toulouse, France via Asobo Studio to Ribadeo, Spain

DAY10_7.PLN (9.1 KB)

No luck seeing the Pyrenees today, however visiting Asobo Studio was fun.

10-07 Blagnac (Toulouse) LFBO 4:05 AM
10-07 Salvaza (Carcassone) LFMK 4:33 AM
10-07 Torreilles Airport LF01 (Perpignan) 4:56 AM Andorra West
10-07 Bagneres de Luchon LFCB Zero visibility
10-07 Balestas LFIP Zero visibility
10-07 Castillon de la Laquette LFMB Zero visibility
10-07 Lourdes-Pyrenees LFBT 6:45 AM Finally!
10-07 Pau/Pyrenees LFBP 7:11 AM
10-07 Aire-sur-l’Adour LFDA 7:24 AM
10-07 Bazas LFJW 7:44 AM
10-07 Merignac (Bordeaux) LFBD 8:16 AM Asobo, 23 PARVIS DES CHARTRONS

10-07 Merignac (Bordeaux) LFBD 9:00 AM
10-07 La Teste De Buch LFCH 9:10 AM
10-07 Parentis LFBS 9:18 AM
10-07 Mimizan LFCZ 9:28 AM
10-07 Tosse Airport LFUY 9:42 AM
10-07 Bayonne-Anglet (Biaritz) LFBZ 9:52 AM
10-07 San Sebastian LESO 10:03 AM
10-07 Pamplona LEPP 10:31 AM

10-07 Pamplona LEPP 11:26 AM
10-07 Foronda LEVT 11:49 AM
10-07 Bilbao LEBB 12:02 PM
10-07 Santander LEXJ 12:25 PM
10-07 Camaleno-Artanin ULM LECW 12:45 PM Tough landing

10-07 Camaleno-Artanin ULM LECW 1:31 PM
10-07 Leon LELN 1:52 PM
10-07 Asturias LEAS 2:20 PM
10-07 Villaframil Airport LEVF 2:47 PM Stealth landing, no lights

Flight time 8:17 20 stops

Leaving Toulouse in the morning, still raining

The bridge at the bottom is Pont Neuf, stone bridge from 1632

You can also visit part of the space station in Toulouse at Cité de l’espace

Carcassone, known for it’s double walled medieval citadel, La Cité, on the left

Perpignan, that bare blurry bit in the middle of the city is intentionally blurry

It houses the palace of the kings of Majorca, restored 13th-century Gothic palace

No clue why it’s blurred, on Google as well (while street view is available…)

Andorra, in the Pyrenees, hard to find in this weather

The nobility of time by Salvador Dali

Valley connecting Andorra to France. I would love to cycle in the mountains but that looks daunting

Ainet de Besan, my last view of the Pyrenees today

Visibility got worse and worse so I decided to take a look above

I had to skip the next 3 airports, visibility was so bad I could not spot the landing strips. Only thanks to synthetic vision could I make it back up without flying into a mountain.

Lourdes, finally some room under the clouds to see

It’s a bit bare bones with auto gen, this is what it looks like

Lourdes is a major Catholic pilgrimage site. Sanctuaires Notre-Dame de Lourdes

The cave on the right, Grotto of Massabielle, is where the virgin Mary is said to have appeared in 1858. Now millions come each year for the water from the spring. My parents took me there while we were on holiday, more as tourists but we participated in the evening procession. What I noticed most is how commercial it all was, souvenir shops all the way to the plaza. We got some water as well, into plastic virgin mary statues bought at one of the shops. My mom said she would leave it in the car for protection. She got into an accident a few years later, car totaled, she walked away fine from it. This was before airbags, so maybe it worked. It didn’t work for the car…

Air-sur-L’adour finally the weather clears up

On to Bordeaux, Basilica of Saint Michael, why a separate tower

It’s a theme, Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux from the 11th century

Place des Quinconces with Monument aux Girondins

In honor of Girondin revolutionaries, part of the French revolution from 1791 to 1793

Now the main attraction of Bordeaux, Asobo studio

The balloon says “The sky is calling” very true

Asobo’s view of the Garonne

No thank you! Merci Beaucoup!

Hydrobase de Bicarrosse, where are the float planes

South along the coast to Biaritz, a popular beach destination, no sun today

Not far further San Sebastian, Spain

Ciudadela de Pamplona, fortress build in the 16th century

Plaza del Castillo, the famous running of the Bulls goes through a street behind this Plaza

Route of the bull run

Some crazy stuff

Bilbao with the Gugganheim museum down below

Home to 20th century art

Camaleno-Artanin, a beautiful and challenging landing spot

From the other direction looking at Parque Nacional de los Picos de Europa

Flying past Cistierna, the shadows are getting longer

La Vecilla down below while on the way to Asturias

I flew on for a night flight, passing Puerto de Cudillero

Unfortunately no lights at Villaframil Airport, no problem, smoothest synthetic vision landing yet

It is dark, squatters in my plane!

On to Portugal tomorrow.

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Leg 47 Ribadeo, Spain through Portugal to Santa Maria on the Azores

DAY10_8.PLN (6.9 KB)

Long flight to Santa Maria, not ending as planned

10-08 Villaframil Airport LEVF 4:51 AM
10-08 A Coruna LECO 5:12 AM
10-08 Aerodromo Naturmaz LEMZ 5:27 AM
10-08 Santiago LEST 5:39 AM
10-08 Aerodromo de Beariz LELB 5:52 AM
10-08 Vigo LEVX 6:03 AM
10-08 Aerodromo do Cerval LPVA 6:59 AM
10-08 Aerodromo de Cabeceiras de Basto LPCA 7:25 AM
10-08 Francisco Sa Carneiro (Porto) LPPR 7:42 AM
10-08 Seia LPSE 8:16 AM N236 “road of death” South West
10-08 Aerodromo Municipal de Ferreira do Zezere LPFI 8:41 AM

10-08 Aerodromo Municipal de Ferreira do Zezere LPFI 9:57 AM
10-08 Pista do Monte do Pombo LEDL 10:17 AM
10-08 Santa Margarida LP77 10:35 AM
10-08 Santarem LPSR 10:45 AM

10-08 Santarem LPSR 11:40 AM
10-08 Alverca AB LPAR 11:53 AM
10-08 Lisbon LPPT 11:59 AM
10-08 Tires LPCS 12:19 PM

10-08 Tires LPCS 12:45 PM Full tank, 756 NM to next stop
10-08 Santa Maria LPAZ 19:24 PM On island, just short of runway

Flight time 11:56 17 stops

That includes a 6 hour 39 minute flight, mostly on auto pilot, to Santa Maria.

First up, North-West end of Portugal Cedeira

Very nice place to go to the beach

Santiago de Compostela, apparently another major pilgrimage site like Lourdes

The Cathedral of Santiage de Comostela

The alleged burial site of the Biblical apostle St. James, consecrated in 1211

On to Vigo, Castelo do Castro, build in 1665 to protect the city from British Royal Navy raids

Cardama shipyard in Vigo

Vigo has a long stretch of coast included in it’s PG area, Praia do Cocho

Porto de Canido

Faro de Cobo Estai, a historical landmark on the right side, a small light house


Parador de Baiona, apparently you can stay there from $124 per night

That’s where the PG area ends, nice stretch of coast

Aerodromo de Cabeceiras de Basto (LPCA) fun challenging place to land

Porto with the super Bock arena at the bottom

Of couse known for its Port wine, I would love some right now

Pedrógão Grande

A terrible tragedy happened here in 2017, 4 forest fires engulfed the town and the N236

Close up of the the dam, Barragem do Cabril

Pista do Monte do Pombo, another fun landing

Flying to Lisbon, the fields that feed the city

Lisbon, Parque Eduardo VII

Zooming above the Tagus

Belém Tower below and Jerónimos Monastery on the right

Belém Tower, the Tower of Saint Vincent, a 16th-century fortification

Jerónimos Monastery, a Unesco world heritage site together with the tower

Tires, my departure point for Santa Maria, full tank, check

Saying goodbye to the mainland for now, I’ll be back

Directly onto course after take off, using FLC mode maintaining 100 knots for a steep climb to start saving fuel by lowering the fuel mixture.

To the Azores, due West, long flight ahead

Lot of water ahead, 11 knot wind mostly from the side but also slowing me down a bit

Follow the sun

Oh some pretty fog, or so I thought

Yep, the plane iced up of course, forcing it down after reaching 15.5K ft. Luckily it was just a little patch which slowly cleared off. After getting down towards 10K ft the ice cleared off and I could start climbing again

Bye Bye sunshine

Very calm up here now, 17K ft. I’m targeting 18.5K but will need to burn more fuel to reach that

Maintaining 100 knots IAS, on average 115 knot GS, long flight

Oh ■■■■, I didn’t order this. Lightning, more clouds

That was too close, and icing up again

Descending again due to icing, quite a show outside

Looks like it’s mostly behind now, bright at night

Still some lightning illuminating the high clouds

Leaving the storm behind, ice cleared up again and back to 18.5K cruising altitude or rather now I can reach it with less than 20% fuel left.

Azores in sight! However the fuel situation is not looking good

I started a long gradual descent 45 minutes before getting there, maintaining 100 knots, slowing the propeller down to 80% and reducing the throttle back to 35%. It’s going to be very close.

Too close. I was aiming to the right of the island since the main runway runs North-South. However there was not enough fuel left to make a good approach. When getting near the island I decided to aim for an old closed runway, better aligned with my travel direction. It was still too far, plus there was a pond in front of the runway…

No lights either, airport pitch black. All I had to go on was the synthetic vision. I stretched it out as long as I could. I waited to lower the landing gear until the last moment to avoid drag, same with flaps. Only out when needed for extra lift right before touching down. The engine died just as I reached the main land, I was down to 800 ft already so not much extra glide time.

I kept it in the air as long as I could and set her down very gently in what I guess was a field. It was pitch black, landing using the view finder. It felt smooth, stopped quickly with the brakes since no idea what I was ‘driving’ on. Just short, so close!

On further inspection I was lucky not to make it any closer. My emergency landing site

Looks like I’ll need a tractor to tow my plane to the runway. Couple repairs, she should be fine.

920 NM range, erm no. I didn’t make it 756 NM, flying as high as possible to save fuel. I was forced down to to between 10 and 11K twice due to minor icing but still, the plane should have made it. I didn’t even have any passengers or luggage on board. Next time leave the co-pilot behind as well…

It should be better on the way back as I’ll be stopping by Madeira splitting it into two 490 NM flights. Good to know not to try anything above 700 NM anymore.

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Leg 48 Santa Maria, Azores via Madeira to Sines, Portugal

DAY10_9.PLN (5.1 KB)

A tour around the Azores, then via Madeira back to Portugal

10-09 Santa Maria LPAZ 4:22 AM
10-09 Joao Paulo II LPPD 5:04 AM
10-09 Lajes AB LPLA 5:41 AM
10-09 Graciosa LPGR 6:13 AM
10-09 Corvo LPCR 7:29 AM
10-09 Flores LPFL 7:42 AM
10-09 Horta LPHR 8:55 AM
10-09 Pico LPPI 9:10 AM
10-09 Sao Jorge LPSJ 9:35 AM
10-09 Santa Maria LPAZ 10:58 AM 486 NM to next stop
10-09 Madeira LPMA 2:28 PM
10-09 Porto Santo LPPS 2:51 PM 10:13

10-09 Porto Santo LPPS 5:30 PM 496 NM to next stop
10-09 Sines LPSI 8:42 PM

Flight time 13:25 12 stops

Couple long auto pilot flights, set timer to switch tanks

Starting at Santa Maria, where I landed short yesterday, in a field right before the airport

The weather is interesting again

I can barely see where I landed, left of the little lake next to the airport

Povoação on Ilha de São Miguel not far to the North

Ilha de São Miguel, a long narrow island

Ilha Terceira to the North-West

Angro do Heroismo, one of the 3 capitals of the Azores

Pretty town

Graciosa, a little further North-West

Furna Do Enxofre Caldeira, remains of the volcano that made the island, fertile land

The next island is quite a bit away, lightning keeps the journey interesting

Caldeirão on Corvo, a small island, not much more than the volcano that made it

The level of detail is a bit patchy in the Azores, here is the real thing

Vila do Corvo, the only town on the island on a bit of land sticking out from the volcano

Fajã Grande on Ilha das Flores. A much bigger island just South, the clouds seem to like it

Back East for the rest of the islands, bye bye clouds!

Or not, they’re back

Entertainment above endless water

Conceicao on Ilha do Faial

The caldera is hidden in the clouds, here’s a peak

Mount Pico on Ilha do Pico, right next door. It took a lot of spirals to get up here, 7713 ft high

Ilha do Pico while flying North a bit to São Jorge

São Jorge with Graciosa and Ilha Tercia behind where I was earlier

The airport on São Jorge

Flying over Serra do Topo, São Jorge is another long island

My next destination was Madeira. The wind was looking good so I was toying with the idea to go straight there from São Jorge. However my old friend icing showed up again.

Not to risk another emergency landing I decided to stop at Santa Maria first (where I started today) for a full tank. It’s a lot faster to fly lower. At 5,000 ft my ground speed was 157 knots, instead of the avg 115 knots I managed flying at 18.5K ft. I did have a tail wind though. Currently I’m doing 148 knots at 9K ft trying to find a flight level with less headwind. It was 18 knots headwind at 5K feet, now 5 knots. (I’m still in the air from Porto Santo back to Portugal)

Madeira, Levada do Risco, a hiking route with steps & narrow walkways leading through forest to a swimming spot fed by cascades. It’s very pretty

Near Ilha

Pico Ruivo, accessible on foot only, if you’re not afraid of heights. Amazing trails on Madeira!

Watching the sunset over Madeira, by drone while my plane is headed to Porto Santo, cheeky

Porto Santo, a much smaller island North-East of Madeira

Still 84 minutes to Portugal, now doing 153 knots at 10K ft. Less wind up here. The weather radar is clear, looking good. I should be there at 8:40 pm with plenty fuel to spare.

Wheels on the ground at 8:42 pm. It was another unlit airport, yet clearly defined in synthetic vision, thus landing fs 4.0 style. I wonder if there is a way to increase the gain similar as with the drone. The ground is simply black, somewhere in the black spot is where the runway is. After landing and turning up the gain a couple notches in drone view it was perfectly visible and still looked like night. My pilot is night blind.

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Leg 49 Sines, Portugal via Gibraltar to Santo Tome Del Puerto, Spain

DAY10_10.PLN (5.9 KB)

A couple big cities to explore while making my way towards Madrid. A new unfortunate first, the game completely locked up my system today. Black screen, no alt-tab, no ctr-alt-delete, nothing, dead. I had to force a reboot and thus lose everything that I hadn’t saved yet. Luckily I had nothing important open, scary.

10-10 Sines LPSI 4:50 AM
10-10 Lagos Airfield ULM LPLG 5:11 AM Algarve race track North
10-10 Faro LPFR 5:30 AM
10-10 Mafe - Gibraleon LEMF 5:50 AM estimate, data lost
10-10 Tablada LE85 6:20 AM estimate, data lost
Game lockup while exploring Seville, hard reboot required, all unsaved data lost.
Steam not connecting, end process, retry

10-10 Tablada LE85 6:58 AM
10-10 San Pablo (Seville) LEZL 7:29 AM
10-10 Rota Navy LERT 7:52 AM
10-10 Gibraltar LXGB 8:20 AM

10-10 Gibraltar LXGB 9:25 AM Marbella on the way
10-10 Malaga LEMG 9:58 AM
10-10 Aerodromo de Loja LEWH 10:14 AM Cute little airport
10-10 Cordoba LEBA 10:41 AM
10-10 Aerodromo de Guadalupe LEGU 11:45 AM
10-10 Aerodromo de Piedrahita LESW 12:21 PM
10-10 Fuentemilanos LEFM 12:45 PM
10-10 Santo Tome Del Puerto LETP 1:01 PM

Flight time 6:27 14 stops

Porto Covo, cute small town just South of Sines with all red roofed white houses with blue accents.

Algarve international circuit, aka Portimão Circuit

Looks like a very fun circuit

Vineyards near Mafe-Gibraleon, some covered

Seville, Benito Villemarin Stadium, build in the 1920s, serving as home ground to Real Betis Balompié

Timelapse of the transformation the stadium went through

Toro del Oro along the river edge, build in the 13th century, but despite its name, not made of gold

In front, Archivo de Indias. Another world heritage site, displaying documents of the Spanish empire

Catedral de Sevilla, large Gothic cathedral home to Columbus’ tomb

Not the first to discover America, nor Vespucci, Leif Eriksson already got there 500 years earlier.

Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla, that rolls of the tongue!

Grand royal bullring dating to 1761, still in use

Las Setas de Sevilla, a large wooden structure you can walk on top off

I’m impressed it came out so well with photogrammetry data

Puente del Alamillo, cool bridge

Isla de Las Polomas, Southern most point in continental Europe

It’s mostly ruins of old coastal defenses including a large anti ship cannon

Gibraltar airport, one of the handcrafted airports in FS2020, including the rock of Gibraltar

Gibraltar is actually part of the UK since 1713 by the treaty of Utrecht. Spain still wants it back, the people of Gibraltar want to govern themselves.

Nueva Andalucía

Real Club de Golf Guadalmina, interesting way to put a golf course down

Plaza de Toros in Nueva Andalucía, it seems every town has a bullfighting ring

Marbella, Avenida del Mar, walkway lined by palm trees and statues made by Salvador Dali

Plaza de los Naranjos, old town square from 1485

To the right, behind, La Encarnación, Catholic church in a former mosque

And yep, Marbella also has a Plaza de Tores

Aerodrome de Loja, pretty place to land at, short runway

Dam at Presa de Iznájar (reservoir)


Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba, earliest parts from 785, converted into a Roman-Catholic cathedral in the 13th century. 4 minute walk from the Roman bridge of Córdoba build in the first century.

Plaza de la Corredera, town square dating back to the 17th century

Aerodrome de Guadalupe, another beautiful place to land

Santo Tomé del Puerto, last stop of the day. Tiny place, population 349

Tomorrow on to Madrid, then another shot at hopefully seeing the Pyrenees weather permitting.

Leg 50 Santo Tome Del Puerto to Zaragoza, Spain

DAY10_11.PLN (5.9 KB)

I didn’t get very far from where I started, and didn’t reach the Pyrenees as planned. There was simply too much to see along the way. Next week will be different, just one PG city left to explore (Barcelona) before leaving Europe behind. My average flying height has been 1,200 feet lately, lovely detailed areas. I imagine I’ll be flying quite a bit higher while exploring Africa.

Today, exploring the South-East of Spain

10-11 Santo Tome Del Puerto LETP 5:16 AM
10-11 Barajas, Mardrid LEMD 5:45 AM
10-11 Casas de los Pinos LEPI 6:51 AM
Restart, bad performance after Madrid, very long time to close the game
10-11 Casas de los Pinos LEPI 7:04 AM
10-11 AeroCieza LECE 7:36 AM Murcia on the way
10-11 Los Martinez Del Puerto LEMP 8:14 AM Cartagena South
10-11 Aeroclub Mar Meno LESJ 8:28 AM
10-11 Alicante LEAL 8:43 AM

10-11 Alicante LEAL 9:35 AM Benidorm on the way
10-11 Aerodromo forestal Castell de Castells 10:12 AM LECS
10-11 Campo de Vuelo de Xaraco 10:25 AM
10-11 Manises (Valencia) LEVC 10:52 AM

10-11 Manises (Valencia) LEVC 11:34 AM
10-11 Club ULM La Llosa LEDB 11:43 AM
10-11 Castellon De La Plana Aerodrome LECN 11:57 AM
10-11 Vinaros Airfield LECL 12:26 PM Nice spot, short runway
10-11 Deltebre LEDT 12:40 PM Beautiful almost on the beach
10-11 Cogullada (Zaragoza) LEZA 1:35 PM

Flight time: 6:45 14 stops

Arriving in Madrid following Paseo de la Castellana, looking North here at the crossing with Calle de Joaquin Costa, Santiago Bernabéu Stadium on the right side at the next big intersection

To the old center, Temple of Debod on the left side of the park

An ancient Egyptian temple moved over from Aswan, Eqypt and serves as a museum

Palacio Real de Madrid or Royal palace of Madrid from the 1800’s on the right

Catedral de la Almudena on the left

Basilica of San Francisco el Grande with paintings by Francisco Goya on the left

Puerta de Toledo in the square (or rather circle) on the right

The bubbles of color is Mercado de la Cebada, a wet market that also sells clothes and art

El Retiro park, big 19th-century park

Palacio de Cristal in the park, the crystal palace modeled on London’s Crystal Palace

Photogrammetry could not display this, understandable

Estadio Vicente Calderón on the banks of the Manzanares

Home stadium of Atlético Madrid since its completion in 1966 to 2017, currently a museum

Time to head out, back to the Mediterranean. Flying past Cieza

So far the terrain has been mostly flat, some elevation changes at Blanca

Arriving in Murcia, Palacio Almudí, art musem facing the square

Catedral de Murica facing Episcopal Palace of Murcia

I’m sure you recognize these by now, Plaza de Toros with BESOCCER La Condomina behind

Moving on, flying past Sierra de la Muela, nature preserve

Alicante on the Mediterranean, Concatedral d’Alacant Sant Nicolau de Bari, 1600’s cathedral in front

Of course the dominant feature is Santa Bárbara Castle

9th century Muslim hilltop castle / fortress

View from below, the path up starting at Barrio de Santa Cruz Alicante

If you look closely, one of the grey rooftops has an arrow painted on top. It’s there on Google and Bing as well. It’s a mystery arrow.

The castle behind… Plaza de Toros!

One more view of the castle while flying onwards

Serra Grossa nature preserve, sticking out of the land right behind Santa Barbara castle

Great place for hiking and enjoying the views

Nice scenic landing spot at Aerodromo forestal Castell de Castells

A challenging landing spot, short runway at Campo de Vuelo de Xaraco

Valencia, Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, the future is here

Hemisfèric, now that’s an Imax theater! I wish I could have seen Interstellar there.

The old inner city featuring a 13th century Cathedral up front

Nou Mestalla, a partially build football stadium, on halt since 2009 due to financial reasons

Another nice place to land, Castellon De La Plana Aerodrome

Parc Naturel de la Serra d’Irta

Parc Naturel del delta de l’Ebro, nature reserve on the Ebro river delta

Deltebre LEDT is the thin strip right below my plane, landing just to the left of the beach

Parc Naturel des Ports, mountainous limestone national park

One of the ports

Embalse de Caspe II

Sunset over Galoches de el Burgo de Ebro, nature reserve

Arrival in Zaragoza, just in time before dark

Great weather today, hopefully it holds out for the Pyrenees revisit tomorrow

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I have to say this is quite the extraordinary thread! The amount of effort and hours that you have put in and the presentation is exceptional: MAJOR kudos to you!

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Leg 51 Zaragoza, Spain via the Pyrenees and the Balearic islands to Algiers, Algeria

DAY10_12.PLN (6.3 KB)

Last leg in Europe, it was a great one. The weather held out for some amazing sights of the Pyrenees.

10-12 Cogullada (Zaragoza) LEZA 4:16 AM
10-12 Monflorite-Alcala LEHC 4:31 AM
10-12 Aerodromo Coscojuela de Sobrarbe LEPG 4:44 AM
Restart, can’t find next airport (typo), quit all the way for live weather not to bug out
10-12 Aerodromo Coscojuela de Sobrarbe LEPG 4:56 AM
10-12 Altisurface d’Aleu LFSQ 5:43 AM
10-12 La Quillane LFNQ 6:17 AM
10-12 Ampuriabrava LEAP 6:49 AM
10-12 Girona LEGE 7:04 AM
10-12 El Prat, Barcelona LEBL 8:01 AM Catalunya circuit North

10-12 El Prat, Barcelona LEBL 8:48 AM
10-12 Reus (Tarragona) LERS 9:12 AM Human towers Tarraco Arena
10-12 Menorca LEMH 10:28 AM
10-12 Ses Salines (S’Olivo) LESF 10:52 AM

10-12 Ses Salines (S’Olivo) 12:11 PM
10-12 Vilafranca de Bonany-Es cruce LEVO 12:21 PM
10-12 Aerodrom de Binissalem LEBS 12:31 PM
10-12 Palma De Mallorca LEPA 12:53 PM
10-12 Ibiza LEIB 1:30 PM
10-12 Houari Boumediene (Algiers) DAAG 2:32 PM

Flight time 7:58 15 stops

Blue skies, heading straight for the Pyrenees! Passing Congesto de Ventamillo, foothills of the Pyrenees

Passing Castejón de Sos, looking at Posets-Maladeta Natural Park

First mountain, Pic de Vallibierna

Pico Aneto, highest point in the Pyrenees, 11,168 ft

I’m above Chalet Refugio, the lake is Estany de la Cap de la Val

Artiga de Lin National Park

Looking at Besiiberri Nord

Tuc de Molières, 9,875 ft high

Vielha down below

Baqueira down in the valley

The mountains behind Baqueira are covered in ski slopes

This one required a go around second approach, beautiful but difficult landing spot

Altisurface d’Aleu (LFSQ) just across the border into France

Clouds on the French side adding to the atmosphere, Massif du Montcalm

Pic Carlit 9,583 ft, 12 km from Andorra

La Quillane, ski resort on the French side

Next to skiing you can visit Animal Park Angles in Capcir

Regional Park of the Catalan Pyrenees

Pic du Canigou in the middle far, 9,136 ft, less than 50 km from the Mediterranean

Empuriabrava on the Gulf of Roses, back in Spain

Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

Barcelona, host of the Summer Olympics in 1992

Palau Sant Jordi (middle) and Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium on the right

Piscines Bernat Picornell, olympic swimming pool

The eye catching tower is Torre de Comunicacions de Montjuïc, build for broadcasting

Place d’Espanya, Barcelona reminds me of Sim City, so organized

Columbus monument in the middle, to the left Agència Tributària, tax collector’s office, eww

Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi, 14th century Gothic church on the right

Behind the Cathedral of Barcelona from the 13th century

And the still unfinished La Sagrada Familia, designed by Spanish/Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí

Construction started in 1882, current estimate for completion is 2026

Furrther down the coast, Tarragona

A bit of a step back with PG data but you can still make out the Tarraco Arena (circular shape)

Terraco Arena is where the human towers (Castell) of Catalonia are build. First documented in 1801, became a competition in the 1980s and declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2010

Time to visit the Balearic islands, approaching Menorca with 34 knot winds

Waves at Mahón

The little island is Isla del Rey or Isla del Hospital, historic hospital island

Es Pelats on Mallorca next door

Whoops, almost ran off the runway at Ses Salines (S’Olivo) LESF, time for a break

Another short ‘runway’ at Aerodrom de Binissalem LEBS

Sandpit just below Bodegues Castell Miquel

Nice view over Mallorca, pretty mountains here

Embalse Gorg Blau at the foot of Puig Major, highest peak on the island, 4,740 ft

Port de Sóller with Puig Major in the background

Leaving Mallorca behind, looking at Port d’Andratx

Sunset on the way to Ibiza

Ibiza on Ibiza, night club island of the Mediterranean

Well renowned for it’s party lifestyle

My favorite DJ played in Ibiza as well, Tiesto

First time I saw him play was in the RAI in Amsterdam, 1999 Innercity. Amazing dance festivals

That set was amazing, I’m in the crowd there somewhere. I have most of his music on CD although I prefer Armin van Buuren for the more recent music.

Tiesto has become quite the celebrity and still going at age 51, I’m not far behind

Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, October last year

Good way to end my tour of Europe, on to Africa. I landed in Algiers at night, can’t wait to see what I’ll find in Africa. I’m determined to visit all countries.


Leg 52 Algiers, Algeria to Zarzis, Tunesia

DAY10_13.PLN (5.5 KB)

Completely new territory for me and it’s awesome

10-13 Houari Boumediene (Algiers) DAAG 5:28 AM
Streaming issues, switched to off-line mode, restart
10-13 Houari Boumediene (Algiers) DAAG 5:51 AM
10-13 Soummam-Abane Ramdane DAAE 6:35 AM
10-13 Setif Ain Arnat DAAS 6:52 AM
10-13 Mohamed Boudiaf DABC 7:19 AM
10-13 Rabah Bitat DABB 7:46 AM
Restart, Autopilot turned suicidal
10-13 Rabeh Bitat DABB 7:55 AM
10-13 7 November DTKA 8:22 AM
10-13 Sidi Ahmed Air Base DTTB 8:42 AM

10-13 Sidi Ahmed Air Base DTTB 9:34 AM
10-13 Carthage DTTA 9:50 AM
10-13 Hammamet DTNH 10:17 AM
10-13 Habib Bourguiba DTMB 10:28 AM
10-13 Ksar DTTF 11:21 AM
10-13 Nefta DTTZ 11:45 AM
10-13 Gabes DTTG 12:23 PM
10-13 Zarzis DTTJ 12:41 PM

Flight time 5:49 13 stops

Algiers by daylight

Monument of the Martyr, in the middle of the green space above, build in 1982 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Algeria’s independence (from France I guess, saw a lot of French influences)

The harbor side of Algiers

That big construction site on the far side of the highway is now a Great Mosque, Djamaa el Djazaïr

It opened last year and has the world largest minaret. Looks very futuristic

Passing Sidi Abd El’ Malek

Tizi Ouzou

Cool mountain landscape

Forêt de Sidi Aissa

Béjaïa on the Mediterranean

Awesome coast line

BarrageIghil Emda

Setif, a bit inland

This stood out, Ain El Fouara Fountain made in 1898 by the French sculptor Francis de Saint-Vidal

Approaching Constantine

A huge city along a deep gorge

Should be high on the list for PG data

I wonder if my plane fits under that lower arch

Annabe, back on the Mediterranean

Home to the Ruines d’Hippone, the city used to be called Hippo Regius in Roman times

El Kala

Tabarka, featuring a unique coastline

Les Aiguilles de Tabarka

Tabarka 7 November renamed to Tabarka–Aïn Draham International Airport after the 2011 Tunesian revolution. Still named 7 November in the game.

I wonder what that pattern along the beach is, it’s also on google maps. I guess something to slow down erosion for the airport. It’s only there along the airport.

Sajanan, the weather is changing

The Sejnane Dam, reservoir for drinking water and irrigation

Lake Ichkeul, an important stopping-over point for hundreds of thousands of migrating birds each year

Tunis, capital of Tunesia

Nearby Stade Olympique de Radès, was build for the 2001 Mediterranean Games

I have to admit I had never heard of the Mediterranean Games before, started 1951 in Egypt

Forêt de Bou Aargoub


Monastir housing Mausoleum of Habib Bourguiba

Also home to an 8th century coastal fort, Ribat

Sprawling sand dunes near Majoura while heading inland

Parc National de Dghoumès

Amazing geological feature

After a quick stop at Naftah’s desert airport, back over in the other direction

And then I ran out of light on the way to Gabes

Tomorrow on to Libya before turning West towards Morocco along a lower latitude


Leg 53 Zarzis, Tunesia to Sebha, Libya

DAY10_14.PLN (6.5 KB)

Cool sights and a lot of nothing

10-14 Zarzis DTTJ 5:01 AM
10-14 Madaniyin DT70 5:23 AM Matmata North-West
10-14 Remada DTTD 5:59 AM
10-14 Okba Ibn Nafa HL77 6:26 AM
10-14 Tripoli Intl HLLT 6:54 AM
10-14 Mitiga HLLM 7:04 AM
10-14 Misurata HLMS 7:44 AM
10-14 Nanur HL83 8:03 AM
10-14 Gardabiya HLGD 8:43 AM
10-14 Matratin HL80 9:27 AM
10-14 Ras Lanuf Oil HLNF 9:39 AM
Streaming issues, switched to off-line mode, restart
CTD on startup, try again
10-14 Ras Lanuf Oil HLNF 9:53 AM
10-14 Marsa Brega HLMB 10:21 AM
10-14 Maradah Airport HLMC 10:44 AM
10-14 Zelten HLZT 11:02 AM
10-14 Zelten Sw New Airport HL50 11:19 AM
10-14 Maradah Airport HLMR 11:51 AM
10-14 Sebha HLLS 1:19 PM

Flight time 8:04 16 stops

First up Boughrara which was called Gigthis in Roman times

Ruins of Gigthis

Not too far West from Boughrara is Matmata, home of Tunesia’s underground Troglodyte houses

They show up as holes in the ground on Bing which unfortunately get turned into cylinders by the AI

This is what they look like

This particular one sure looks familiar

The 1976 Star Wars movie, A new hope, was filmed here!

Moving on, flying past Gattoufa enjoying the desert views

The landscape around Remada is magical, glowing in the sunlight

San dunes come in many forms

Dried up river beds look amazing from above

So much color in the desert

Tripoli, the capital of Libya

Saraya museum in the red castle, features Libya’s history from pre historic times until 1953

On the South end of Alaluas

Somewhere near Abugrein

The biggest POI in Abugrein is The fuel station of the late Haj Mohammed Eshryr Ghazali and his sons. It’s a small town.

It’s getting hard to find places nearby to name my screenshots

Closest place Market of the sons of Makhlouf

Near An Nawfaliyah

Near Mintaqat Wadi Harawah

As Sidr aka Sidra, largest oil depot in Libya, shipping about 447,000 barrels per day

Gave its name to the gulf of Sidra during the cold war

After As Sidr I turned South inland, Ufortunately by leaving the coast I also left the detailed imagery behind. Still very relaxing to fly over but not good material for screenshots. I did make one more when I a bit of detail popped up while the sun was setting

Somewhere close to Maradah

Leg 54, Sebha, Libya to Aoulef, Algeria

DAY10_15.PLN (4.1 KB)

10-15 Sebha HLLS 5:21 AM
10-15 Awbari HLAB 6:23 AM
10-15 Ghat HLGT 7:13 AM
10-15 Tiska DAAJ 7:42 AM
CTD when wheels touched the runway, restart
10-15 Tiska DAAJ 7:49 AM
10-15 Illizi DA10 8:48 AM

10-15 Illizi DA10 10:02 AM
Streaming issues, not receiving any data, server down? Restart
Weird issues, menu screen all messed up, Fly button greyed out, Restart
10-15 Illizi DA10 10:19 AM
10-15 Takhamalt DAAP 10:26 AM
10-15 I-n-Salah Airport (Amguid) DAIA 12:02 PM
10-15 In Salah DAUI 1:13 PM
10-15 Aoulef Airport DAAF --:-- No lights, no synthetic vision
10-15 Aoulef DAAO 1:58 PM No lights, synthetic vision landing

Flight time 6:59 8 stops

Wow, that was a truly amazing flight. From Awbari (HLAB) to I-n Salah (DAIA) Amguid is spectacular scenery wise, changing all the time, never disappointing. It starts off good right from Sebha (HLLS) and builds to an epic finish arriving in Amguid. (After that the detail level goes down but it was starting to get dark anyway)

Be prepared for a lot of screenshots…

Starting at Sebha today

Which is home to Sebha castle right next to the airport

This was the best available shot. It’s pretty funny what kind of pictures you find around here for google locations. In this spot someone uploaded a bunch of selfies and pictures of his kids posing in various places around the castle as if he was uploading to facebook (or whatever people use nowadays) So a shot of his car it is.

Leaving Sebha alongside its farms

For now, not much going on yet near Gasr Berruru, the calm sand is pretty

Qasr Bint Bayyah, people living on the edge of the sand ocean

The sand starts to get more wavy near Burik

Near Al Ghurayfah, dried up watershed areas look like negative images

Next door, Qwirat

I didn’t see much around Awbari, however there is an Oasis somewhere there

Too small to find without any coordinates

Running out of names on the map I simply title this series Awbari to Ghat

Some vegetation survives in the dry river bed

Mountains and sand, a simple combination producing beautiful vistas

Golden rivers of sand

Crossing the next ridge into a new chapter

Red sand joins the color palette

Getting close to Ghat, some different rock formations showing up

I wonder how long it took erosion to create this landscape

Nearly at Ghat now, just across the next set of ridges

Smooth on one side, crumbling on the other

The prevailing wind direction is written into the landscape

I’m at Ghat now, close to the Algerian border. The town itself is not much more than a grid of houses

A picture from Ghat at ground level

A closer look at the landscape around Ghat

Reminds me of Death stranding, the film director location

Next part, from Ghat to Tiska Airport next to Eferi, Algeria

Is this even real, what an odd and amazing landscape

Near Eferi

Onwards from Eferi to Illizi

Dunes baking in the sunlight

Grand Canyon move over, this place just keeps on going

A little calmer waters before hitting the next mountainous area

Erosion at its finest

The canyons are starting to deepen at Tassili N’Ajjer National Park

I’m at about 6,000 ft to climb over these

Cruising along, bright sunny day

It doesn’t seem to end and never gets boring

Some greenery, there must still be some water underneath the sand

Here’s a picture from ground level at Tassili N’Ajjer National Park

Reality always trumps virtual reality, that’s real?

Another shot, wind erosion carved an elephant

Back to the virtual world, looking splendid as well. On the way to Amguid

The colors are slowly changing, darkening

Time to put some red into the mix

Now I’m getting into some real sand dunes

Like the bottom of the ocean near the beach

Approaching this view gave me shivers

Like a giant wave coming at you

Past the sand dunes the mountains come back out

The distances involved are mind boggling, I’m covering about 1,000 miles of terrain today

They seem to be enjoying the spectacle

The epic finish to Anguid, deepest canyon yet

Amguid is down below, you can barely make it out in the top right

This is where I came from, perfect spot for the Black Gate of Mordor!

And Amguid? Mysterious place, almost no info

There are some ruins and wall carvings nearby

Just one picture

Arriving in Amguid was the height of the trip, now the landscape starts winding down. There are still plenty epic sights on the way to In Salah

The terrain flattens out and I’m also descending back down

The sun is starting to get lower as well, it’s been a long flight

Night time will be approaching quickly now

In Salah on the N1, trans Sahara highway going North South

Since the landscape wound down I decided to fly on to Aoulef to start there tomorrow

You can still see the airport beacon from In Salah, following the N52 west

I had to divert from my first choice to land (DAAF), no lights and no data in synthetic vision. Luckily DAAO is nearby and although also no lights it does have the runway in the G1000. Landing FS 4.0 style

Sitting on the runway, it is really dark here at night.

Epic, epic flight. That was amazing.

Leg 55, Aoulef to Bou Sfer, Ain El Turk, Algeria

DAY10_16.PLN (5.5 KB)

10-16 Aoulef DAAO 5:15 AM
10-16 Reggane DAAN 5:40 AM
10-16 Touat Cheikh Sidi Mohamed Belkebir DAUA 6:12 AM
10-16 Adrar DAAR 6:28 AM
10-16 Timimoun DAUT 6:57 AM
10-16 I-n-Salah (KRECHBA, Ghardaia) DAIS 7:44 AM
10-16 El Golea (El Menia) DAUE 8:29 AM
10-16 El Abiodh Sidi Cheikh DA12 9:51 AM
10-16 Mecheria DAAY 10:31 AM

10-16 Mecheria DAAY 11:55 AM
10-16 Saida DA15 12:33 PM
10-16 Ghriss DAOV 12:42 PM
10-16 Tafaraoui DAOL 1:03 PM
10-16 Es Senia DAOO 1:09 PM
10-16 Bou Sfer DAOE 1:20 PM

FLight time 6:41 13 stops

A pretty calm flight back up to the Mediterranean coast after yesterday’s epic tour of the desert. Not all desert is captured equally, lot of low definition flying today compared to yesterday, much easier on the screenshots.

Arriving in Reggane, low detail area. There isn’t much here anyway

It’s still pretty from the ground

A couple golden sand rivers popped up on the way to Adrar

Scattered farms feeding Adrar

Those black circles are probably green, under exposure of the aerial images next to the bright sand

Adrar, dusty town in the middle of nowhere

Martyrs public place in Adrar

Oasis near Adrar where the original settlement was

Aougrout along the road to Timimoun

Timimoun, also not much to see on the low detail maps

Between Ghardia and El Menia this was about the most exciting view

Some features start showing up on approach to El Menia

A little bit of detail around El Menia, good for a picture

Then followed a long long stretch of low definition desert. Closer to El Abiodh Sidi Cheikh details started appearing again. Strange landscape

Looking back at El Abiodh Sidi Cheikh over the two ridges

I wonder what this is

Water flows out of there, but why. Is it merely a giant natural rain collector or is there a spring feeding it

A bit further on the way to Mecheria

Crossing the ridges, each revealing a slightly different type of terrain

Another ridge in opposite directions

A RL view from the Atlas mountains near Mecheria

Some kind of festival in Mecheria

Not much to see past Mecheria, Saida

I went looking for this deep canyon near Tafraoui

I found the spot, but it was just a smooth hill

Arriving back at the coast, Oran, known as the birthplace of Rai folk music. Never heard of it.

Yet that’s why I’m on this tour

One more picture, Fort Santa Cruz overlooking Oran

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Leg 56, Bou Sfer, Ein El Turk, Algeria to Sidi Bou Othmane, Morocco

DAY10_17.PLN (7.7 KB)

Exploring Morocco, unfortunately mostly low res detail

10-17 Bou Sfer DAOE 5:00 AM
10-17 Zenate-Messali El Hadj DAON 5:22 AM
10-17 Angads GMFO 5:36 AM
10-17 El Aroui GMMW 5:59 AM
10-17 Melilla GEML 6:10 AM
10-17 Cherif El Idrissi GMTA 6:31 AM
10-17 Ouezzane GMFA 7:10 AM
10-17 Saniat R’mel GMTN 7:35 AM
10-17 Ibn Batouta (Tangier) GMTT 7:52 AM

10-17 Ibn Batouta (Tangier) GMTT 8:27 AM
10-17 Tourisme GMMY 9:01 AM
10-17 Sale GMME 9:08 AM
10-17 Sidi Slimane GMSL 9:24 AM
10-17 Saiss GMFF 9:48 AM
10-17 Taza GMFZ 10:16 AM
10-17 Ifrane GMFI 10:51 AM
bad performance, Restart
10-17 Ifrane GMFI 10:58 AM
10-17 Beni Mellal GMMD 11:39 AM
10-17 Khouribga GMKH 12:04 PM
10-17 Benslimane GMMB 12:26 PM
10-17 Anfa (Casblanca) GMMC 12:42 PM
10-17 Mohamed V GMMN 12:49 PM
10-17 Sidi Bou Othmane Airport GMSI 1:20 PM

FLight time 7:38 20 stops

Back on the Mediterranean coast, Nador cradling a salt lagoon named Mar Chica

View from the beach

Mellila, this city apparently belongs to Spain

Melilla is one of two permanently inhabited Spanish cities in mainland Africa, the other being nearby Ceuta. (Which is directly South of Gibraltar, which belongs to the UK…)

Melilla la Vieja, 16th-17th century fort

Ouezzane well known in the Islamic world as a spiritual capital, pilgrimage destination

Tetuán also known as the white dove, white plastered buildings with many narrow old streets

Tangier on the straight of Gibraltar, Spain on the horizon

Stade Ibn Batoua, huge soccer stadium at the bottom

Tangier as seen from the coast

Cape Spartel, home to the caves of Hercules

As well as this Arabic style lighthouse, Phare Cap Spartel, looking out over the Atlantic

Heading back inland to explore the Atlas mountains, the land ‘dries up’ from Dowar Wlad Jrire

Taza between the Rif mountains and Middle Atlas mountains

A view from Taza

The Atlas mountains are not very detailed. A view here from Beni Mellal

Ain Asserdoun castle overlooking the city

Crossing the Oum Er-Rbia River at Oulad Ghanem

Then I wondered what this was, it’s Sidi Shannan Phosphate Mine

I was bound to run into one, Morocco holds 75% of the world’s phosphate reserves

Back on the coast, Casablanca

That tower sticking out behind my tail is the minaret from the Hassan II mosque

210m high minaret with a laser pointing to Mecca. The science nerd in me says, wait a minute, it should be angled into the ground to point at Mecca from Casablanca. That would be a bit of a liability issue of course, so it’s pointing slightly up to the East.

Here’s looking at you kid, Humpfrey Bogart, Casablanca 1942

Which has nothing to do with the city Casablanca, not filmed in Morocco nor based on the city

Heading South back inland, passing Kenidlat, Barrage Al Massira on the Oum Er-Rbia River

I wonder what is written on the hill there

Last stop for today, Sidi Bou Othmane Airport

Which is actually Ben Guerir Air Base, 14 miles North of Sidi Bou Othmane

Tomorrow I’ll start with a little detour to the West, Jebel Ighoud, where the oldest known remains of Homo Sapiens have been found.

Epic post, Epic journey. Loved reading it from start to finish. Thank you for taking the time.


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Leg 57, Sidi Bou Othmane, Morocco dipping back into Algeria to Lanzarote, Canary Islands

DAY10_18.PLN (5.2 KB)

10-18 Sidi Bou Othmane Airport GMSI 5:15 AM Jebel Irhoud about 53nm West, homo sapiens 315K years ago, 31.8801304,-8.8722705
10-18 Menara (Marakech) GMMX 5:57 AM
10-18 Ouarzazate GMMZ 6:55 AM
10-18 Agdz GMAB 7:29 AM
10-18 Zagora GMZA 7:51 AM
10-18 Mhamid (Fort Lofti) GMMG 8:40 AM
10-18 Tinfouchy DA13 9:22 AM
10-18 Tata GMTB 10:28 AM
10-18 Tindouf DAOF 11:13 AM
10-18 Al Mahbes Airstrip DATI 11:39 AM
10-18 Plage Blanche (Tantan) GMAT 12:43 PM
10-18 Tarfaya TFY 1:26 PM
10-18 Lanzarote GCRR 2:03 PM

Flight time 8:48 12 stops

I got back into the high detail band which I suspected would go on horizontally, hence I planned a bit of a detour back into Algeria for some more high detail desert landscapes. It was amazing! So much variation in desert landscapes.

First something truly amazing, Jebel Irhoud just North of Tlet Ighoud

Just an ordinary hill with some scratches on it, in reality an archeological dig site where the oldest known human remains have been found, dated back around 315 thousand years.

The first remains were found in the 60s, orginally thought to be off Neanderthals but later classified as Homo Sapiens. Additional exploration was done in the 90’s and since 2004. Google is more up to date with recent excavations.

However for such an important site, I could only find one picture!

This is what we might have looked like some 20 thousand generations ago

Onwards to Marakech

Jemaa el-Fna, landmark square in Marakech, happening place

Heading back into the Atlas mountains at Taourirte Ourika, much more detailed at this Latitude

Following the Ourika river, passing Asgaour

Oued Zat river joining in

I had to make an extra loop to climb high enough to get over the pass,

Flying over Tawalte on the other side

Agouim on a rather dry looking river (can’t find the name)

Following the river further to the East, a corridor of life, passing Tiourjdal

Amerzgane, closest place to this odd looking bowl

Ouarzazate, water is life

I now see there is a huge solar array just north of Ouarzazate, it wasn’t in the game (not on Bing)

Centrale Solaire Noor 3 Ouarzazate (solar tower) the sheer scale is mind boggling

Ground level view of the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant (510 MW)

Construction began in 2013, the solar tower came online in 2019

Tifoultoute Kasbah, hilltop fortress from the 17th and 18th century looking out onto the solar tower

Passing Ait Saoun, water is getting sparse

Crossing over another boundary at Al Fouggara, the landscape is a huge layer cake

Follpwing the Oued Draa over Ait Rahou (I guess Oued means river)

Running out of place names again, between Agdz and Zagora

Closer to Zagora

Zaouia De Sidi Elmokhtar Ben Ali, back along the river Draa

Closest place to here Oasis Amouger Camping, tree of life

Crossing the border into Algeria

Just a bit into Algeria I ran into this mysterious place

A long road to ruins? No info, it’s at 29.9919041, -4.9982142, called تابلبالة on Bing. However that leads to somewhere else. It does look like there is something there on Bing, less like ruins.

No clue, moving on to Fort Lofti, military base in Algeria. On the way there

Not much to see at Fort Lofti, onwards to Tinfouchy, along the way

Between Tinfouchy and Tata

I wonder what these straight lines are

Bing has much more detailed data here, the crossing is at 28.981227, -6.784295 looks like tire tracks, that’s some straight driving. There are a lot of these tracks etched into the landscape

Nisanian Pentagram near the bottom

This looks better on Google yet no info on it

Another shot of the river Draa

That ridge along the right side of the river is the border, I’m back in Morocco

Tata not far from the border

Heading to Tindouf next, back into Algeria

Ripples caused by tectonic plates running into each other? Looks unreal

This landscape is mesmerizing

I just passed river Draa again, the border ridge from the Algerian side

Oued El Maa ‘flowing’ through Algeria

Tindouf is home to Saharawi refugee camps

The Aiun refugee camps are huge, larger than Tindouf itself

They have been there since 1975 for Sahrawi refugees fleeing from Moroccan forces during the western Sahara war (Still disputed territory)

Population numbers are disputed as well, ranging from 50,000 to 165,000

A refugee city in the desert

Back into Morocco, I think I’m crossing a pipeline linking drill sites?

On the way to Tantan at 27.629667, -9.5046001

The landscape doesn’t let up yet

And then it switches to low detail a bit before reaching Tantan

Good old friend by now, river Draa finally reaches the Atlantic ocean a bit North of Tantan

River Chbika at Ben Khlil

Unfortunately the game looks like FSX along the coast

Tarfaya where La Casa Del Mar is sitting in the surf, build during the British ocupation in 1882

On the right Assalama ferry wreck, 2km South from Tarfaya, ran aground in 2008

It is on Bing, as well as the coast. I’m sure I was connected. Actually it said there was a connection problem and then “successfully connected” a few seconds later while flying along the coast. Perhaps letting the game run for 8 hours consecutively was too long.

I reloaded the area just now to check, looks the same still, not matching the detail on Bing maps. The game really needs an indication whether its streaming data or not. It’s hard to tell with how variable the data quality is and coastlines don’t look very good in general.

And finally arrival in Lanzarote

I’ll be exploring the Canary islands tomorrow


Thanks for the kind words. It’s not my first rodeo

I went into RP mode while exploring the galaxy because tbh, it became very repetitive. I see I have just passed my previous continuous ‘stint’ from Elite Dangerous where I ran out of steam on day 56. (Finished it half a year later)

No signs of slowing down here yet, Earth keeps surprising me every single day. I’ve always been interested in all the BBC Earth documentaries, this trip puts it all into perspective. So much history, culture, landscapes now tied to where it all is located on our planet.

I recently flew North from Abu Simbel to Cairo in Egypt (my RTW started in South Africa and has taken me up the East coast of Africa) and was struck by the amazing desert colours and textures - which, of course, can only really be appreciated fully from the air. Your shots from Algeria surpassed what I saw in Egypt, so I’ve made a mental note to give that area some time - some really amazing landscapes on your flights.

During leg 54 my jaw was pretty much on the floor most of the flight. I did not expect that kind of scenery. I’ll get to Egypt in a couple weeks. I’m slowly making my way down Africa in wide horizontal bands, currently flying towards Western Sahara from the Canary islands. Then East as far as Chad, carriage return, back West all the way to Cape Verde. Africa is huge.

The mainland is starting to come in sight, I wonder what detail level this part will be. I guess I could check on Bing but that would spoil the surprise!

I got a feel for the scale of Africa just from my initial flights round the coast and how far it was until I was out of South Africa. It’s taken quite a while to get as far as Egypt (though I did make side trips to Madagascar and Zanzibar).