We have booked our plane tickets to São Tomé e Príncipe. True to our attempt to turn this into a journey that will promote not simply astronomy but also the local economy and tourism potential, we are going with STP Airways, the country’s only airline that operates a single flight between Lisbon and S.Tomé once a week. Fingers crossed, STP Airways will continue to be in business until May. We’ve heard good things about it, but it had to stop its flights intermittently once before. (By the way, for the ordinary traveller a cheaper option during the summer holiday season may be the Portuguese Pestana group, which offers a package tour that includes charter flight and accommodation).
Before heading out to STP, we will spend two days in Lisbon where we’ve been invited to participate in a celebration of the 1919 Eclipse Expedition organised by the Portuguese Geographical Society. Their enthusiasm and effort is really quite impressive. The celebration will include an opening ceremony on Thursday, 21st of May, and on the following day, a symposium with several speakers including the President of Príncipe (José Cassandra) which is an autonomous region of this small island state, the Portuguese Minister of Science and, from our team, Pedro Gil Ferreira. A truly grand opening to this exciting trip!