This post is not about the fairy tale story of the ugly duckling that grows up to a beautiful swan. I have chosen the title because on the 29th of June I was, after a couple of years, finally able to fly with my pilot friend again - and his nickname for the tiny aircraft we used is the Ugly Duckling.
You can find previous posts about flights with this friend here and here.
Saturday, the 29th of June, was forecast to be a hot, dry summer's day in our area. We had arranged for flying together only the day before, rather spontaneously, and were lucky to have an aircraft available - often, they are fully booked by other club members.
Here it is, the Ugly Duckling - still without the motor cover at first:
While we (i.e. the pilot) were getting everything ready for take-off, the rescue helicopter I so often hear and see flying across town (mostly between the motorway and hospital) was also preparing for a flight:
And then we were up in the air!
Not for very long, though; less than half an hour later, we landed at Schwäbisch Hall to refuel.
Afterwards, more beautiful views from the - for now perfectly still - air:
The next two pictures are of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a town famous for its historical (medieval) old centre and surrounding walls: (sorry for my reflection in the second picture, I couldn't avoid that)
This is Bamberg:
You best click to enlarge this and the next picture, as it shows beautiful Coburg Castle:
Coburg aerodrome is just behind the castle on top of the hill. You can see the castle at the far end of the landing strip:
We went to the tower (visible in the picture, too) to let them know we were leaving the aircraft there for a few hours and to pay the required fee.
Then we walked across to the castle and, after coffee and cake (it was actually lunch time, but neither of us felt like a heavy meal) at the café just outside the main gate, we had a good look round the really beautiful and impressive castle. I will show you those pictures in an extra post.
Next, we walked the 2,5 km or so down the hill into the town centre, where we had another drink on the market square in the shade. Coburg really is a place worth visiting.
To get back to the Ugly Duckling, we had a taxi take us up the hill - it really was a hot day (around 30 Celsius), and we definitely did not want to arrive up there all sweaty and exhausted - the pilot needed to be able to concentrate for the flight home.
This time, it was a straight hour flying without stopping to refuel.
I think this structure in the middle of the woods is a tree-climbing path, a bit like the one O.K. and I visited last September in the Bavarian Forest:
Vineyards - I liked the pattern:
Coming up to Ludwigsburg from the north, we flew across Lake Monrepos (you have often seen that on my blog):
The fields were O.K. and I regularly go for a run or a walk:
Ludwigsburg - my house is not really visible, but I know where it is:
Minutes before landing, the office buildings of one of my clients were clearly visible:
It had been a great day, not just because I had really enjoyed the flights, but also because of the visit to the castle, and of course also because it is always good to see a friend I do not meet all that often, and the day gave us the opportunity for a good catch-up.
The Ugly Duckling (which, in my opinion, is not all that ugly!) served us well!