Germany to Belgium - Via Portugal Of Course

Because of family matters I had to be in Belgium for a weekend in January. My wife had spent the whole week there and we agreed to meet on Saturday and then head together back home by car on Sunday. So now I had to find a way to get there, most suitably airport was actually Lille Lesquin in France. Of course the most logical way would have been a direct flight with Air France (or rather Hop!) from Strasbourg, but that flight was ridicoulously expensive. Not much other possibilities it seemed, so I even checked out the trains, but well, I would have to change at least twice and it was also quite expensive, no thanks.

After a lot of searching and checking timetables I finally found a suitable and quite cheap easyJet flight to Lille, departing from Faro in Portugal though. Alright, so why not head to the Algarve the day before and enjoy a bit of winter sunshine in the South? A Eurowings flight from Stuttgart to Lisbon fitted perfectly with the train schedule from Lisbon to Faro, so I went for that. Booked a hotel in Faro then and all in all it was still cheaper than the direct Hop! flight.

Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper -copyright © Karl L. Swartz

Stuttgart to Lisbon

 Route  STR - LIS
 Distance  991 nm / 1836 km
 Departure  25.01.2019 09:55 
 Airline  Eurowings Europe 
 Flight No  EW2604
 Equipment  Airbus 319
 Registration     OE-LYV
 Seat  21F

It was a cold and snowy morning, by bus to Stuttgart airport and the first view as usual goes to the FIDS:

That flight to Arvidsjaur sure looks interesting, but today I'd rather go in the opposite direction, especially considering the weather here:

Bus boarding from the downstairs gate area, boarding on time and the driver brought us the waiting and still frost-covered airbus:

OE-LYV had the honours today, it started its flying career as D-AGWT for germanwings around 7 years ago and is now with Eurowings Europe. An interesting one next to us, all-white LY-VEL from Avion Express, probably operating on a charter flight for Condor:

Engines were then started, a short welcome by the Captain and we were on our way, but first only to the deicing pad, this was absolutely necessary this day:

The whole snow plow armada of the airport was ready to get into action on the runway:

Fortunately this didn't delay the departure much and we then took off into the gray skies from runway 25:

Nice view over the white landscape here, but most of the time during the first half of the flight we were over clouds:

Time for a second breakfast, I ordered myself a sandwich-juice-combo from the onboard menu, it was actually quite fresh and tasty, Laugenbrötchen with cheese:

Rest of the flight was a smooth cruise over France, Spain and Portugal, not too much views outside. But the approach into Lisbon airport then was really nice, over the scenery and the coastline, the river Tejo and finally over the city:

On the ground after a flight time of a little more than two and a half hours, and despite the deicing back in Stuttgart only around 10 minutes late at the parking position. Spotted this colorful A330 from TAP on the way:

Goodbye to the crew and out into the lovely sunshine. It was around 20 degrees warmer here than in Stuttgart, very welcomed. Another bus ride to the terminal and then out of the airport:

Lisbon to Faro by Train

Now I had a train to catch, good thing that the station is just a short Metro ride from the airport. The Estação do Oriente is a bit outside of the city center, was built in 1998 for the Expo and looks quite futuristic:

I bought a ticket for the next train to Faro, only 22 Euro for the 3-hour-ride, not bad. And I still had a bit of time for a quick lunch, fastfood though, but when you can eat outside in the sunshine in the middle of january everything tastes great:

Big art and the cable car along the coast of the river:

Into the waiting train then, it was a regular intercity train, not one of the high speed trains, comfortable inside, but quite old-style:

Taking picture out of a moving train is always difficult, still I managed a few at least somewhat acceptable photos on the way:

We arrived in Faro main station just as the sun was about to set behind the bay:

And the trusty engine that took me (and many other passengers) to Faro without any problems:

A few impressions of Faro:

And the cathedral, quite eerie at night with the big empty place in front:

Dinner next, Madeira-style beef skewer with a variety of potatoes and garlic bread, the meat was absolutely tender and delicious, wish I had at least a little bit of sauce with it though:

And one last picture of this nicely lit city street before heading back to the hotel:

Faro to Lille

 Route  FAO - LIL
 Distance  942 nm / 1744 km
 Departure  26.01.2019 09:05 
 Airline  easyJet 
 Flight No  U21695
 Equipment  Airbus 319
 Registration     G-EZIH
 Seat  22F

Next morning after a nice breakfast with one of the famous Pasteis de Nata I took a taxi to the airport. And after just a 15 minute ride I arrived at the terminal:

Inside the building, off-season, so not very busy:

Through security and through the obligatory duty-free-area and finally there were some airplanes to be seen, even though the views on the apron aren't very good here:

To the gate next, where my ride has just arrived:

The A319 as scheduled, registered as G-EZIH, built in 2005 already, so one of the older planes in easyJet's fleet. Boarding started on time, and with a seat in the back of the plane I had to use the rear stairs. Not that I mind, as it gave me the opportunity for an under-the-wing shot:

I then settled down on 22F, luckily I had a whole three-seater all for myself, in total the load factor was about two thirds. Next to us a whole armada of Ryanair planes:

Departure was a few minutes early and on the way to the active runway I saw this old lady:

An old Boeing 727 from 1965, flying for Lufthansa and Condor for a while before ending its career as a plane for the governement of Congo.

Take-off from runway 10 with nice views over the bay and the coast:

Snow covered mountain somewhere in central Spain:

The remainder of the flight was a smooth cruise over the clouds. I just relaxed on board, read a little and didn't bother with onboard service this time. Approach then started into Lille, and back into the nasty winter weather:

Landing on runway 26 after another 2 hours and 30 minutes in the air, and a quick taxi later we arrived at the terminal:

Next to us a little CRJ fromHop!, maybe this was the plane that operated the flight from Strasbourg, well, looks like I had a little more fun on the way to Lille than you:

One last picture of the plane:

And fortunenately only a short walk through the rain into the building:

My wife then picked me up and we went the last few miles to our final destination in Belgium by car. I admit that it was a rather unusual way to get from Germany to Belgium but I had a lot of fun on the way. Two solid flights with Eurowings and easyJet, nothing special but also no problems. And the  sunny and warm weather in Portugal felt sooooo good :-)

Now thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed my humble report, there is more to come of course!