Flying to Les Landes, France

Making the most of the Virgen del Pilar feast day, which is a national holiday in Spain, we finally got to visit the lovely estate owned by my friends Juan Manuel Cremades and his wife, Miriam Sánchez Ocaña, in Les Landes, France, not far from Biarritz. They had invited us previously on numerous occasions, but I simply have not had the chance to get away and see it sooner.

We got there in Iñigo’s Push-Pull, a twin-engine Cessna that first won fame for its safety and stamina during the Vietnam War, and which has since become one of the safest planes in the sky for civil aviation. It had been a while since I’d flown a plane, but it was a pleasure to do so again, especially in a plane like this, which really provides some very special sensations.

It was a really short trip. We left on Thursday morning and were back by Friday afternoon. We made a stop in Pamplona, because San Sebastian was closed for the day as was Biarritz, but that did give us time to sample some incredible piquillo peppers in Pamplona. We had dinner at Juan Manuel’s home in France, I took a long pre-dawn walk around the countryside to see and hear the deer calling, both in some recently harvested sunflower fields and, later, hidden in the kind of woods we’d die for in Spain, before finally taking off from Pamplona again, to fly over and admire Segovia, its Cathedral and Alcazar from the air, before getting home in time for bed on Friday evening.

I also came home with a cargo of cheese, foie, and paté, as it’s worth remembering that Les Landes is particularly well known for making the best foie and paté in France.

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