Short-Leg RTW in a Cessna 172

I started a world trip attempt in February 2021 in a Bonanza G36 which I blogged about on my Tumblr. Since I came into contact with the Virtual Photography Scene I put that project on hold to focus on smaller flights that could be turned with a lot of drone cam positioning and post-flight editing into beautiful photo sets for Instagram. I switched through different planes, grew in experience and basically forgot about my RTW blog. Now I could just continue it but a) I started liking smaller and short-range planes as well as b) I found this forum and saw that people are blogging their RTWs here.

So the decision was made to do a Short-Leg RTW in my Cessna 172 G1000 - which means trying to cross as much land as possible with short (less than 60min) flights.

Since I don’t like using auto-pilot and I love learning afterwards the stories of places I photographed on my flights I think that way we will see many rural areas and learn more about our world than what the big cities can tell us.

I hope you guys enjoy this quite as much as I do! Our first trip started in A Coruna, Spain (LECO) and led to Vigo, Spain (LEVX). We flew initially at 2500ft AGL and later increased our altitude to 3000ft AGL.

This is the Embalse de Abegondo-Cecebre as seen from above the Airport of A Coruna. It is the reservoir that provides the city of Coruna with fresh water while also being an area used for conserving regional tree species in Galicia.

Next we passed the Lago das Encrobas, a former Lignite mine near As Encrobas, which was flooded and turned into a recreational area in 2008.

The most well known city we passed on our flight was definitely Santiago de Compostela, provincial capital of Galicia and one of the most famous places of pilgrimmage in the Catholic Church. The Camino de Santiago, a web of pilgrim routes spanning all of Europe leads here.

Close to the end of our flight we came across the city of Pontevedra. It was voted several times to be Europe’s most accessible city with a car-free city center, well planned street layout and an high amount of pedestrian zones. It is also known for it’s general high quality of life.

Our last picture was taken on approach to Vigo Airport above the Enseada de San Simon (San Simon’s Bay) where in 1702 the Battle of Rande / Battle of Vigo was fought between a Spanish-French treasure fleet and an Anglo-Dutch invasion force. The invaders took the castles protecting the estuary at night in an amphibious landing, sunk the fleet with their own ships and sacked multiple villages around the bay before leaving.

With our arrival in Vigo, Part 1 of the Short-Leg RTW is now successfully completed.

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The second trip of our Short-Leg RTW started in Vigo, Spain (LEVX) and ended in Laundos, Portugal (LPPE). We flew constantly at 2500 ft altitude. I also broke my own record of the shortest airstrip I’ve ever landed on with Laundros Aerodrome having a runway length of 878 ft.

  1. After taking of from Vigo we followed the Rio Louro valley to the south. Several excavations were undertaken here where the archeologists found workshops and households from the Paleolithic as well as remains of the Homo Neanderthalensis.

  1. Along the Rio Louro we came across a FLGranites quarry where the company mines for certain types of Galician granite like the Rosa Porriño granite.

  1. We arrived at the northern river bank of the Rio Minho near the City of Tui. The Tudense area contains some of the oldest settlements of Iberian history, dating back to the Paleolithic (20.000 BC) and Neolithic (5000 BC).

  1. We followed the Rio Minho, which serves as the border river between Spanish Galicia and Northern Portugal to it’s estuary near Caminha. According to local folklore the Minho is home to feiticeiras (witches) and amphibian fishmen.

  1. After turning south and following the Atlantic coast we arrived in Vila Praia de Ancora, a small fishing town, wedged between two hill ranges and mostly known for it’s beautiful beaches.

  1. Further south we came across the Parque Eolico Carreco Outeiro GENERG atop Monte de Santa Luzia. Atop this mountain sits also the Santuario de Santa Luzia, the Neo-Byzantine basilica belonging to the city of Viana do Castelo.

  1. After passing Monte de Santa Luzia we arrived in the city of Viana do Castelo, a former entry-point for Portugese Explorers during the Age of Discoveries as well as a wealthy trading port which connected the New World, Portugal and Northern Europe due to it’s location and strong defenses.

  1. Our last photo before arriving in Laundos was taken near Monte de Sao Goncalo, one of the best vantage points in the Minho region with a great view over the area Monte de Santa Luzia - Atlantic Coast - Monte de Sao Mamede - Rio Lima.

With that our second flight from Vigo, Spain to Laundos, Portugal comes to an end.

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Our third trip began in Laundos, Portugal (LPPE) and ended in Viseu (LPVZ). We flew at an altitude of 4500ft.

  1. Our first photo shows the municipality of Trofa on the northeastern rim of Porto. Trofa was always an important junction of trade and travel routes and profitted much from the construction of railways in early 20th century.

  1. This is the view above Maia Aerodrome with the City of Porto as well as the Atlantic Coast in the background. Porto is the oldest city in Portugal and even the namesake of the entire country: It’s ancient latin name “Portus Cale” became in later times the name of the nation “Portugal”.

  1. The wooded hill directly in front of us is the Vandoma, named after “Our Lady of Vendome” (port.: “Nossa Senhora de Vandoma”), a local icon of the Virgin Mary which was carried into battle by a priest from the French town of Vendome during the reconquest of Porto by Christian forces in the 10th century.

  1. We came across Rio Tamega, a tributary of the Douro River. The Rio Tamega has a large historical importance to Portugal since it was a major invasion route for foreign forces moving towards the rich and fertile southern parts of the country.

  1. The river below is the Rio Paiva, another tributary of the Douro. It is home to the Arouca Geopark, a 21km long wooden walkway along the river through a breathtaking landscape just to the east of Porto. In 2016 it won the category of Most Innovative Tourism Project in Europe.

  1. Further up the Rio Paiva we arrived in Castro Daire, which is located between several megalithic structures dating back to the Neolithic. It was also the namesake and centerpoint of the Castro Culture, a Iron Age culture spread across all of Northern Portugal and Galicia.

After turning south we landed in Viseu, Portugal. This concludes our third flight.

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