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Journal of a Seaplane Cruise Around The World
Part Two: Europe

Tuesday, October 9

Geneva to Ostia 1023 LAND OSTIA (Flying time 5 hours)

We took a lesson from the Tiber. I should have known from the distance to which the silt was being carried to sea, that there is a strong current in the river, but did not appreciate it until after landing, when we were maneuvering in the narrow channel and trying to get to the buoy, and came down on it tail first, only avoiding a collision by starting the motor in the nick of time.

The best part of today's trip was right at the beginning. The take off was made straight toward the east, for it was still dark and we had only a dim line of light over the mountains. While climbing to altitude, there was the glorious display of changing colors which Bob has so ably described. The most impressive was the soft pink of the snow-capped mountains while the sun was first on them; the same hue as was visible on Mt. Blanc last Sunday. It seems to come with fresh snow, a low sun and just the right haziness of atmosphere. On canvas it always seems to look unreal. . . Within 4500 feet, we started through the pass to Locarno and soon left the lakes to cross the plains of the Po valley. In places the ground was hidden by fog, but we had a glimpse of Milan and then entered the rocky, barren, eroded, badlands behind Genoa. Genoa was really quite interesting, with its artificial harbor, the new straight buildings and the old irregular portion all mixed up. Out to sea, and followed the coast at a distance of five miles or so. The Italian directions for avoiding fortified zones cover ten closely type-written pages, and I have never laid them all out on map, so it is easier to stay away from the shore altogether. At the Island of Elba we brought out Mrs. Klebs' lunch and feasted. Orbetello was interesting; we noticed the town first, an exquisite old place, and then suddenly spied Balbo's fleet lying at anchor in a neat row of thirteen ships, in addition to one that had broken down and was being towed in. There were several more on shore. They are big tandem-motor jobs with twin boats.

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