This is a look back at a post that became lost back in June 2017 within the desolate depths of the cyber world. I thought is would be sad not to share the adventure unless of course you already know which city celebrates producing popes, painters and sausages..?
Hope you enjoy and don’t forget to leave a comment 😊
Let me start by saying that, without doubt, I have the best job in the world! Travelling around Europe as a British Airways pilot and enjoying the sights and sounds of more than a dozen different countries is a dream come true.
Many of you are kind enough to comment on my social media photos and videos via Twitter: @jkp320 and on Instagram and Facebook: @jonnythepilot so I thought I’d bring them altogether into a weekly blog.
Do let me know what you think. Any suggestions about what you’d like to see more, or less of would be greatly appreciated.
Started my week with my little sister Charlotte who is also a pilot. I absolutely love this photo of the two of us chilling together at Lakes by Yoo. We’re lucky to have a friend who lives on the 850 acre estate and so took the opportunity to visit for a couple of days when it was just too hot to sleep in London. You may have seen our videos on Instagram including this one…
Before trying to build a Kayak tower… 😆
Anyway, back to the day job. As I may have mentioned, I really do think I have the best job in the world travelling around Europe in the front seat of a British Airways Airbus 320. This week I went to Brussels; Belfast; Glasgow; Copenhagen and Bologna!
Let me share with you my time in Bologna:-
I absolutely love Italy, but had never been to Bologna before so I was super excited. It has an amazing cafe culture, architecture and arcades. And I don’t mean the arcades where you’d find lines of 2p slot machines but those of architectural magnificence, adjoining arches that stretch a staggering 38 kilometres across town.
I decided to hire a scooter and see the sights. A white automatic Vespa from Paula at Travelhoo was just the ticket to zip around town. You can find Paula right in the centre of town and hire bicycles as well scooters at a very reasonable rate. Vespa rental was 40 Euros for 3 hrs plus petrol.
Bologna is celebrated for producing popes, painters and sausages.
– Lord Byron
If you’re unsure about renting a scooter then there’s plenty of opportunity to stroll though the arcades instead. They stretch for miles so don’t worry if by some miracle its raining and you’ve forgotten your brolly. You could cover most of Bologna’s city centre without even getting wet (minus the odd road crossing).
Leaving the rest of the flight crew relaxing at the hotel I took the opportunity to meander the streets and stumbled across a weekly market selling everything and nothing I needed!
But my mission was to find the birthplace of Lamborghini. As I headed to pick up my Vespa, I stumbled across the iconic twin towers of Bologna.
The Asinelli tower at 97 metres stands taller than the leaning tower of Pisa and her sister Garisenda has an even greater lean than THE famous tower. Have you been?
Asinelli and Garisenda are the city’s only remaining towers from the 13th century. If you fancy the exercise you can climb a rickety spiral wooden staircase up Asinelli for a spectacular view of the city.
The time had come to swap two wheels for four. I could hear the sound of the raging bulls, the Lamborghini museum was calling my name. In true Italian style, I adjusted my sunglasses and hopped on the Vespa to head 40 mins out of town through the picturesque countryside in the 38 degree heat. The breeze was a welcome delight.
My friend @wolfiekutner, an absolute genius when it comes to anything cars had pointed me in the direction of super-car heaven and I was only too delighted to take a few photos for his Instagram page.
The guided tour of the Lamborghini museum was incredible – made even more unique by the fact I was the only one on the tour on a Saturday afternoon believe it or not
This experience absolutely sits at the top of my Bologna to do list and only cost 20 euros.
They also run tours on the factory floor Monday to Friday. Note to self: Another visit to Bologna plugged into the roster in the next couple of months.
Check this beauty out: The Reventon.
It has a V12 engine with scissor action doors and 668 Hp.
An F22 fighter jet inspired look with its forward-thrusted air intakes up front, hungry-looking scoops on the side and the 4 glass louvers offering a view of the racious V12 engine.
Only 20 were ever made and were over a million euros to buy in 2007…
Any guesses how much they go for today?
I’ll keep saving…
With a heavy heart I headed back to the Royal Carlton crew hotel in the centre of town to prepare for the serious job of flying an Airbus 320 for British Airways from Bologna (BLQ) to London Heathrow (LHR)
We took off, headed west and chased the setting sun for two hours over the Alps and across Switzerland and France up to the UK.
The transfer to the airport was quick and easy only taking 20 mins.
Arriving back into Heathrow we disembarked the passengers before programming the aircraft for our next flight and deciding on how much fuel to load. Meanwhile the bags were being loaded and the catering replaced. Did you know we now offer a Marks and Spencer inflight service? I love Percy Pigs and Pals.
It was a quick turnaround and 50 mins later we were ready to go. Time to swap the glamour of Bologna for the grittiness of Glasgow (GLA). Flight time time: 1hr 5mins
Joking aside I love visiting Glasgow, its one of my favourite destinations. Always a friendly welcome, a great hotel and a curry to die for!
Have you been to Glasgow? I often travel to Scotland’s second city and would be delighted to welcome you aboard next time I’m flying up. Keep checking my tweets for the next time I am scheduled there. Maybe even a selfie in the flight deck.
Lots of people ask about pilot training. The job, stresses and tensions in the cockpit.
It’s so important to be able to manage your stress levels and state of arousal at work in such a busy and dynamic environment.
There can be many challenging factors throughout the day such as no fuel tanker arriving at the aircraft on a 45 min turnaround, a missing passenger, adverse weather – be it thunderstorms activity causing delays and diversions or cold weather requiring de-icing, the list goes on but the most important thing to remember is that safety comes first. Making time to compose yourself and stay relaxed is paramount.
The time to relax is when you don’t have the time for it
– Sidney Harris
Another overnight stay and then next morning we returned the A320 to Heathrow (LHR) and swapped it for a slightly smaller A319 aircraft. You may not notice the difference as a passenger. It’s a tiny bit smaller!
To finish the day we flew to Belfast City and back – ‘a link’ in pilot parlance. A quick flight but nevertheless an enjoyable one.
A short runway and beautiful views of the the Irish coastline and of the docks where the Titanic set sail.
If you’re planning a visit I highly recommend the Titanic museum and the dock tour, just a stone’s throw from BHD City Airport.
I hear the tour of the old prison in the centre of town is also a popular attraction and of course the ‘perch’ bar in town is a trendy place to try a cocktail or two.
So, there you go, that’s my week.
How was yours? See you next time. Happy flying.