|Antoine about to be eaten by the dragon|
The majority of the HOP! Tour was spent at the airport, but every so often we went on a mini-excursion. The day we arrived at Niort, we loaded onto a bus and drove downtown for a guided sightseeing tour. The town dates back to before the Middle Ages (every place in Europe has such a rich history) and so naturally it's connected with a medieval legend. Apparently, a long time ago a winged serpent lived nearby in an underground cavern and would constantly terrorize the townspeople of Niort. For years, soldiers and knights would come armed to kill the serpent and save the town, but the monster was tricky and could not be defeated. One day, a soldier, condemned to death because he had deserted the army, pleaded for a chance to redeem himself and offered to kill the serpent. Amazingly, he succeeded in killing the monster by plunging his knife in its neck. As the monster coughed up blood, the soldier saw that he was nearly dead and removed his helmet. With his dying strength, the serpent lunged and bit the soldier, and they both perished at the same time. Because of this, the city erected four giant winged serpent statues to recall the rich legends of the medieval times.
|Navigating around Bordeaux|
That night we stayed at a boarding school that was empty due to summer vacation. Someone also forgot to turn the hot water on, so the first night we had frigid cold water in the showers.
The An-2 was really impressive. Just its sheer size and durability was something to marvel about. The pilot's name was Phil, and he actually grew up in Arizona. After studying in England and becoming a doctor, he settled down in France and somehow got this amazing gig.
|Kevin Renaudier's family|
Around 1900h, we had our briefing for the next day's flight and ate the pig that had been outside roasting all day. Finally, some food I could appreciate. We returned to our temporary housing around 2200h. We were able to do the preliminary flight planning and then hope for 5-6 hours of sleep before getting up the next morning ready for the next destination.
Next airport: Landivisiau