When I started writing this ‘Covid’ blog, right at the start of the lockdown in Spain (sorry to be repeating myself), I did it partly to cheer myself up and to have something to do, partly to keep our friends and family up-to-date with what we were up to (everyone being worried that we were in Spain, the ‘hotbed’ of the virus) and partly as I thought that it would be nice to have a record of living through a ‘one-off’ experience that we might never go through again. At the end of that 100 day lockdown, when we first headed back to Prague, therefore, I expected that it would fizzle out (the blog, I mean, not the virus, although I hoped that too!). Sadly, from the way things are going now, it looks as if I will soon be getting started with ‘Covid-second wave – Part 11’, so here I am with a quick update, before things really get going (well.. I hope they won’t, but I suspect they will).
We’ve been back in Prague (since our last trip to Spain) for just over a week now, and after the 40 degree heat of Marbella, I have to say that it was nice to be able to cool down a bit. It feels, too, as if we have been quite busy; I’ve been continuing my new trend of taking a walk every morning in lieu of any ‘proper’ exercise, and then, of course, visiting various doctors with my leg (which is an ongoing and very boring story) as well as catching up with friends/clients and doing a bit of work, whilst Jan has been continuing much as usual – running every morning, working, and meeting up with his Czech cronies; all in all, the days just seem to whiz past and everything has seemed to be very ‘normal’…..
‘Normal’, that is, until I headed into the centre last week, really for the first time since the whole thing started, and saw just how many shops have been closed down, the sad state of some of the big hotels (many of which I did some work for at some point… that isn’t going to be happening again any time soon), and the lack of tourists, generally – in Marbella and its surroundings during our last two trips, we were amazed at just how many people there were on the beaches, as well as in the shops and restaurants, but that is definitely not the case in Prague – I suppose that those Europeans that can/are still prepared to travel have preferred to head for the beaches rather than the cities, so despite the CR being one of the least affected by the virus, I can’t help but think that from an economic, long-term point of view, it may yet suffer one of the most (tourism being, at least for Prague, a huge contributor to the country’s GDP). Clearly the end of the year is going to be key, since the Christmas markets and the fairy-tale city of Prague generally are usually huge tourist magnets… we shall see.
What has surprised us though (me not so happily, Jan delightedly) is just how relaxed everyone in Prague is about the virus at the moment – in Spain, as I have tried to describe on numerous occasions, we would walk along, automatically giving each other a lot of distance, wearing masks most of the time, and even with our friends we would stand a good distance apart (and God forbid anyone going in for a quick peck on the cheek or a hug), plus the shops and supermarkets have hand-wash on all entrances, and, of course, we had our ‘mask feds’ who keep an eye on everything on the beach, including the social distancing that is laid out specially. Here in Prague, though, it has seemed to be pretty much back to normal – no social distancing to speak of, no masks, no handwashing…. and plenty of kissing and hugging, which is great in a way (especially for Jan, who does love to hug everyone!), but, as we are seeing today with the masks arriving back on public transport, we suspect it is all about to change.
Anyway, moving on for now as I am sure that I will bang on about the Covid situation a lot in the coming weeks: despite my leg (I have now seen four different surgeons and had four different opinions.. but two are similar, so I am going with them (particularly as they err towards the ‘no operation route!’) I am enjoying my morning walks around Prague and seeing so many things that I haven’t noticed before, due, of course, to being either running or driving – actually I am shocked by how blinkered I am usually. Despite the fact that just about every road around us is being dug up, closed, diverted or whatever (and I can’t decide if that is a good or bad thing… I think I just about veer towards good, since it must make sense to get all of this work done when there are so few people about…) I have managed to do a different route every morning so far, and amused myself quite a lot along the way.
I noticed the sign above this door the other morning, which made me giggle (and I have passed it millions of times without noticing), then one morning (actually the only morning) when it was really hot I walked through one of the nearby parks and saw quite a few young ladies sunbathing topless (I still find that pretty bizarre, since I just feel that these small town parks are a bit too public. It seems to me a bit like walking topless down the road, which I doubt they would do (although you never know…) – and no, I don’t have any photos for this bit…). Also in the same park I stopped to take a photo of the amazing view (which I had noticed before when running, but then I never had my phone with me – and, again, you need to enlarge it), and another in the park near our apartment, where I spotted a statue that has been there for hundreds of years, and which I have run past for a similar amount of time but never seen… and so it goes on!
Then, in addition to my walks, I have started a lot of physio and weight training which, after all this time, is ensuring that I am in even more pain than usual each morning, but at least my leg is improving! I will see how it all goes, but all in all I am feeling a lot better (I say this as a few people have said to me that, reading between the lines of my last blog, they felt that I was not quite myself – which was probably true, and thank you for the nice words – but now I am MUCH BETTER!). Well enough, in fact, to attend a seminar this morning (a public event with real people… haven”t done one of those for a long time!) and, as you can see, to get writing again!
The seminar and the blog took up most of the day, but I still managed to fit in a couple of hours of watching the Tour de France, before settling down for an evening of US Open tennis…and, really, I can’t even begin to say how fantastic it is to have some sport to watch on the TV again – the cycling is losing nothing from having a reduced number of spectators (at least for the TV watchers, although I understand it is a bit problematic for the teams (plus a couple of riders have already fallen by the wayside, so to speak, with the virus)). The tennis….well… I don’t know… without spectators, and without Roger or Nadal, it is not quite the same for me, but I will try to get into it (although Jan is loving being able to see his ‘friend’ Nole in action again!)…
Just on Roger, though… those of you that have read my blog for a while now will remember me showing a video of two girls playing tennis on their Italian rooftops, right in the middle of the very worst time of lockdown. Well… here is a very cheering update (worth a watch, even if you don’t like tennis or Roger – make sure to click on the video called ‘the rooftop match’)!
More from me again soon!