Perfect weather. 26 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. I am at Bernay aerodrome about to take off in a 4 seater plane. I love flying but loathe large planes so it doesn't get much better than this. The runway is grass dotted with pot-holes. We call in to the club house for the necessary paperwork. An elderly gentleman reading the newspaper greets people as they arrive. It is only a small aeroclub and everyone is not only on first name basis but tutoyer's (informally address each other). A young girl of about 15 or 16 prepares for her flying lesson.
|Château de Tily|
Our plane is still in the hangar the pilot has to manually pull it out on to the bitumen area in front. After some preliminary checks it is time to finally squeeze into the cockpit next to the pilot. I am so excited that I feel the need to pinch myself. My heart is not racing with fear but with pleasure. My pilot points out châteaux after châteaux as we first head north towards Rouen. The Seine winds back over itself. We pass the forest and the cliffs that drop down to the narrow strip of land that borders the Seine as it takes its circuitous route out to sea. My heart skips a beat as I make out La Bouille, a wonderfully pictoresque village that I have visited. I can easily make out Pont Flaubert and the cathedral in Rouen where I studied with the Alliance Française.
|La Bouille near Rouen|
|Dieppe and the neighbouring white cliffs|