So we trundled through the last few days in Prague – mostly cold (to the point of putting the heating on some days!) rainy, and feeling that, yet again, we were living through ongoing Ground-Hog days, and then, having done everything that we wanted to do, seen most of the people that we wanted to see, and found ourselves at home wondering how to keep ourselves occupied, we said ‘you know what… let’s head back to Spain while we can’. So off we went to the Ryanair website, and return tickets duly bought for the princely sum of Kc 850 each (about Euro 35), and, yes, you guessed it, here we are again!
I wrote some text for a client last week (a hotel) which listed ‘ten reasons why now is the time to travel’ and I must say I agreed with them all as, as I have been saying, if you can cope with taking a test either before you leave or after you return (I am talking about European countries, not including the UK of course, and depending on where you are going to/coming from) then everything else is pretty damned easy – the airports are deserted, the planes are only half full (on a good day), which means you sit with lots of space around you, prices are ridiculous (as above) and those hotels that are open are doing their very best to make everything as safe and as comfortable as ever, for much less cost. So if you are worried….I would say don’t be. (Frankly I feel a lot safer on a plane than in, say, a crowded restaurant (last week) shopping mall or other ‘busy’ area in Prague!)
Incidentally, and talking about ‘safe and comfortable’ (and shopping malls!), I saw an article in the Czech media about a shopping mall in Prague that has installed ‘head to foot body spraying’ at its main entrance, whereby some new-fangled machine treats everyone that enters with a full-on, top to toe squirting of disinfectant (and, presumably, again on departure, if it is motion activated?). Well I don’t know. For sure our Alicante lady friends would love it (I can imagine that they may be looking to install something similar in their homes as we speak….!). But really??? Has everyone’s common-sense completely disappeared? I just hope they are using different disinfectant to the horrible sticky stuff that is on offer for our hands, otherwise people’s clothes are going to get into a right old mess….(And I must say I am glad I am not doing the marketing for this particular mall as I suspect that this whole idea could backfire horribly!).
So back to flying; Prague airport, as usual, was nearly deserted when we left, but the flight had about 80 people on it, which we were very happy to see, since the more people that are flying, the more likely it is that Ryanair will keep on going. If only the media would stop talking about Spain as if it is riddled with virus and instead told the truth (i.e. that the bulk of the cases are in Madrid, that Andalusia, with a population of nearly 9 million has just a handful of people in hospital and very few cases, and that the chances of catching the virus here, where it is so well organised and safe (and, sadly, empty), are about as likely as Donald Trump becoming the Pope, then the Spanish economy (at the least) could start to get going again as people would want to visit as much as we do – 28 degrees today, deserted beaches (talk about taking social-distancing to an extreme… everyone visiting gets their own beach!), cafes, shops and restaurants all open, and not a full-on body spray in sight.
We’re now into our third day here, and needless to say we got straight back into our Spanish routine – me monitoring the social and regular media every morning (and, as usual, getting very over-excited about the UK and the US, in particular), exercising (Jan running to the beach and so on, me on the old bike and, yesterday, trying out my leg with a few short jogs on the sand, marvellous!), a bit of work, a lot of tennis-watching, and various of our old favourites – just now we are draining the pool in readiness for cleaning it and then finding a way to cover it over for the ‘winter’ (haven’t talked about that for a while, but how we have missed it!) and soon we will be taking a walk to Aldi (despite having a car now, we are still enjoying those walks!). Quite honestly, I have just about forgotten what our old life was really like…
However, whilst I do try to see the funny side of most things (well, I have to, living with Jan!) and stay mostly ‘positive’ (in attitude, not health!!) I do see that we are all getting very fed up with the whole Covid-19 situation. Down here, who could blame people? Most of the hotels are closed, obviously, but the majority of shops, restaurants and bars are open… it’s just that there is no-one actually going there. The Spanish are doing their best, I think (definitely there are signs of life at the weekend (on the beaches, in restaurants)) but it is nowhere near enough to keep everything going, and it is only October. Meantime the media continue to make it sound like the whole country is a disaster, so there is just no way that things are going to pick up once we get into the winter. I did see an article that talked about some negotiation going on between Andalusia and the UK to open (again) a ‘travel corridor’ – the Spanish are even offering free testing for all arrivals and departures… but will it happen? And will they actually come? Perhaps the answer, after all, is to go back to the beginning, open everything up again, tell everyone to shove on a mask and keep their distance, and see what happens. After all, it’s the same virus wherever you get it….