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Madeira to Cascais (Lisbon), Portugal  30 - 31 May

Madeira Airport was the busiest one we'd been at for a long time and the fuel guy was occupied with refuelling the big commercial airliners with jet fuel.  We had to wait over 40 minutes for him to come to us.  Meanwhile, Flemming discovered that - in the excitement of arriving back in 'Europe' 5 days ago - he'd forgotten to switch off the master switch.  The battery was totally dead!  At least  we were in Europe, and the problem could be fairly easily remedied.  The fuel guy helped us with jump cables which he attached to the healthy battery of a jeep.  Even so, it took several minutes and several tries before the engine leapt into action.  As a result of all this, we were about an hour late behind schedule.  Fortunately the AIS office must have heard about our troubles and had automatically amended our departure time. Their operations office was amongst the friendliest and most efficient we had seen for a long time. Even the landing and parking fee was a friendly 36 Euros.

The take-off was easier than the landing had been. Just some slight turbulence shortly after lifting off.  After that it was plain sailing all the way to Cascais, where we landed after 3 hours 40 minutes.  Our aviator friends Antonio Melo and Delfim Costa were there to greet us. We had met them about a year ago at an Earthrounders meeting in Vienna.

Antonio was the first Portuguese aviator to fly round the world.   His legs became paralysed due to a doctor's mistake when he was having a back operation.  When he did his world flight in 1995, he was the second paraplegic to circumnavigate the globe.  He now has plans to be the first paraplegic to have flown twice round the world.  His Bonanza is at present in the workshop in preparation for the trip.  Last time he made the trip on his own and it was often a struggle to get in and out of the plane.  Next time, Delfim plans to fly round with him, but in his own plane.  He intends to buy another Bonanza so their flying speed will be compatible.

Our aviator friends had told the director of the airport about our trip. Not only did he waive the landing fee. He also instructed an FBO at the airport, Omni Aviação e Tecnologia, to give us all the help we wanted free of charge.  The first thing Flemming did was to remove the battery and give it to the FBO for charging.

Antonio and Delfim treated us royally, refusing to let us pay for any of the sumptuous meals we enjoyed with them in Cascais and Lisbon.  And Delfim even provided us with a comfortable apartment to stay in.  On our first evening, they took us to the Casa do Bacalhau, specializing in cod dishes of all kinds. We were joined by Delfim's wife Clara and Rui, an ex-colleague from CERN. As it happened, the restaurant manager was half Danish so the Flemming and he enjoyed a little chat in their mother tongue. Otherwise, of course, the chat revolved mainly around aviation.  We had a lot of stories to swap and were hopefully able to give Antonio and Delfim some useful tips for their next flight, planned for next year.

While we were driving along the streets of Lisbon, I happened to see an ad for the musical Amália.  Amália Rodriguez was THE legendary fado singer of Portugal - just as important to the Portuguese as Edith Piaf was to the French. She died in 1999, and this musical is all about her life, featuring all her hit songs.   As soon as I showed interest in seeing the show, Clara and Delfim insisted on buying tickets for it.  They were able to get excellent seats and it was a superb show that helped to make the last evening of our world trip unforgettable.


Antonio Faria e Melo, Delfim and Clara Costa, Cascais Municipal Airport,
OMNI Aviação e Tecnologia

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On the approach for Cascais

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Delfim Costa (left) and Antonio Melo (front) came to greet us on arrival
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Old trams in charming Lisbon
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Delfim and Flemming
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Sprucing up for the arrival
in Geneva
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Clara, Delfim and António got up early Saturday morning to see us off for the last leg of our round the world flight to Geneva, Switzerland
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