Skip two posts back to see the first part of my Sunday flight(s); this is the promised second part.
After the delicious plum cake and coffee we had in Kempten, my pilot friend steered our small plane across the region called Allgäu, towards the mountains. We flew right above the place where I spent New Year's Eve and went for a nice long walk on New Year's Day - I could clearly see the house where my sister and I had been staying, and the lake where we went walking.
The mountain in the picture below is called Grünten. According to wikipedia, it is 1.783 m above sea level and about 600 m higher than the region at its foot.
A long time ago, when I was still a little Librarian, I spent a memorable summer holiday in the area with my family. It was planned that we climb the Grünten one day. But the day before, I ran bare-footed across a meadow of clover and grass to get to the lake for a swim, and stepped into a bee that was innocently sitting on a white clover blossom. My big toe (and the rest of me) did not agree with the bee sting, and I was ill for the rest of the holiday. My Mum stayed at the house with me, while my Dad and sister climbed the Grünten alone.
And here I was, nearly 4 decades later, and saw the same mountain in a way I could not have guessed back then!
Next, we flew a little to the East, entering a valley called Tannheimer Tal. (That's Austria already.) The closer we were to the mountains, the stronger the winds became, and as we climbed higher, it also became a little cooler. We even saw a lake below that was still frozen over! (The lake is called Haldensee, just in case any of you want to check on google maps where we were.)
I took many pictures, many more than I am going to show you here, but it was difficult - not only because of light conditions and reflections from the window pane, but also because we were being buffeted about by the wind quite a lot.
Still, I hope this small selection of pictures will give you an idea of how majestic and impressive this part of the world is, especially seen like this:
The strange thing was, even though the motor's noise was constantly very much there (I would have been worried if not!), I felt the silence out there. Not an eerie silence, just... silence, complete, quiet silence, maybe briefly broken by the cry of a large bird of prey I once saw flying past (no chance to capture it on camera), and of course by our little plane.
|Rote Flüh. This - the clearest of all my mountain pictures - was taken by the pilot.|
|The "fences" have been placed there by helicopter. They are supposed to protect the valley below from avalanches.|
|Klimmspitze, Lechtal; 2.464 m above sea level|
As I said, it was very windy up here, with turbulences shaking us about quite a lot. It wasn't scary; I knew I could trust my pilot friend 100 %, and he did not run any unnecessary risk. It was just not very comfortable on the narrow, relatively hard seat, and while I didn't feel exactly sick, I had to focus on myself and for a while neither spoke nor took pictures.
We followed the Lechtal (Lech being a river) for a while (to a place called Warth) and then took a right turn, following the valley of the "Bregenzer Ach", eventually leaving the high Alps behind us near Bregenz. Lake Constance was well visible, but I was not in the right position for pictures - and I still didn't feel like clicking away again.
Landing in Leutkirch, we took the welcome chance to stretch our legs and take some refreshments. It was really sunny and warm there!
Shortly afterwards, the last part of our trip saw us heading north again. We crossed Stuttgart airport (like last year) and were already in sight of Pattonville's landing strip, when all the having been bumped about caught up with me - can you believe I needed my bag (brought along for just that purpose) literally on the last few hundred metres of our flight?! I felt somewhat embarrassed, but immediately much better, and glad I had not eaten since that piece of cake at around 11:00 am!
My friend told me not to worry and explained that it happens every now and then even to seasoned pilots, especially to glider pilots on their first flight after the winter.
It had been an eventful and most impressive flight experience altogether. As a treat just as much for the pilot as for myself, we had dinner at the Indian restaurant near where I live.
I wonder if it will take another year now before we'll be flying together again!