July 14, 2016

Day Nine – Epic Odyssey

This morning, the hotel opened their breakfast service early just for us, so we could eat, hold our flight briefing, and load for a 7 am transfer back to Genoa Airport. It is a perfect day, clear and calm – ideal boating weather, just one day too late! Sadly, we say farewell to the amazing hotel staff and depart from our Italian paradise. The good news is we are en route to another paradise: Prague! The flight to Prague (LKPR) is just under 90 minutes, but today the route is full of weather challenges. Fortunately, the capabilities of the Epic, in terms of range and climb rate, give us the confidence to move ahead with our scheduled departure. We were able to climb quickly above the uncertain weather and continue to our destination, knowing we had the range capability to divert, if necessary. We arrive at Prague Airport (LKPR) and wait in the FBO as the planes are unloaded and paperwork processed. Once through immigration, we are greeted by Katarina from Blanik Aircraft, who arranged for our transportation to the lovely Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Lunch is waiting, along with our colleagues from Blanik and the Epic Board of Directors, who scheduled their quarterly meeting to coincide with the World Tour.

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel staff are ready with early check-ins for everyone. In fact, their service and attention to detail throughout our stay is quite impressive. The hotel, which was once a monastery dating back to the 14th century, is a perfect blend of traditional and modern design. After lunch, we take a walking tour of Prague. One of the most beautiful cities on earth, Prague is truly magical, with its combination of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architecture. Fortunately, it has remained relatively untouched, surviving various wars and political upheavals. The tour takes us across the famous Charles Bridge, to the Stare Mesto (Old Town), the Astronomical Clock and Old Town Hall, St. Vitus Cathedral, and of course, Prague Castle, which stands guard majestically above the town. A sudden storm causes us to break out the rain gear but doesn’t deter the group from further explorations.

This evening’s celebration holds special significance. We thank our hosts from Blanik Aircraft, as well as the Epic Board members, for their support, but we must also say our farewells to Curtis and Barb, who depart for home tomorrow. At the same time, we enthusiastically welcome Ryan, owner of N900RB, and his colleague, Eric, who will join us for the rest of the tour. Finally, we toast to Alan & Wendy’s 32nd anniversary! It was a night of shared stories and much laughter, as we embark on the second half of our Odyssey adventure.