Travel during CORONAVIRUS

in #covid2 months ago

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Because of some family matters, I needed to travel exactly during the second lockdown that hit the whole Europe continent, and I guess the whole world.

In my opinion the second lockdown was even more violent than the previous one, but I can not be sure about that, and maybe it is just my opinion.
It could be that I feelt like this because the second time I was more in need of "freedom" of movement than the previous one, so that's why it sounds harder for me.

In any ways, something that before, and I mean like 3 or 4 months before was so easy, like take a low cost plane from one EU country to another one, it suddenly became like an adventure harder than crossing the whole world with limited budget!

All the planes were cancelled, and even to create a connection was very hard with the few planes still available.

So the only doable and affordable option forced me to leave the Shenghen area, a decision that later will be decisive in forcing me to travel alone with the consequence to solve just partially the problem I had, and to spend more than 12 hours to cover a trip that normally would have taken me like 3 hours and half in total!
Not to mention that because of this corona nonsense we lost the plane for the trip we planned the first time!

But let' proceed with order.

We needed to pick up my first son, we left with my father in our villa, in order to attend some bureaucratic business for my wife.
I decided to do so, even against my wife opinion, because at the time of the decision the situation in Portugal was better than in Italy coronavirus wise, and exactly at the time of this unlucky decision, all the direct fights between the locations of our interest were largely available.
With these condition it was logical for me to leave him there in a big property with a large backyard, in a situation far away easier than, in Italy where we were going to spend like a moth in a big city locked in a flat with just a small balcony.

Just a few hours before the departure I noticed that the airlines started to cancel few scheduled planes for the incoming future including the ones of our interest.
Ok no problem there is still some availability!

Landed in Italy the truth was quite bad, everything in lockdown, and the plane arrived during the night curfew (curfew for a virus !?!?!?), I was nervous, but actually no one stopped us not in the airport nor during the 1-hour trip to get home, lucky enough!

Not so lucky on the other hand because all the planes, bookable before to get back were suddenly cancelled, and the next availability just long in the future.
No panic I though, first solve a problem than start to think about the others.

About it, I just naively, got in acquaintance, and I mean on my own skin, that Coronavirus is a social problem, and not just a healthy one, because everything, and I mean literally everything come second after the new morbo.
It doesn't matter if you have an important documentation, necessary for your life, first is corona. It doesn't matter if you have a really serious health problem, first corona, and the list can go infinite like this.
This to say that I realized that in order to get the documents we needed we would have spent more time than the one we planned, but even this was sort of ok, and we could manage it.

We started to panic when in Italy the restrictions were getting a bit lighter, and there in Portugal, out of literally the blue, the corona started to spread out like crazy, and I mean from one day to another, and they decided a full lockdown for the whole country regardless of the local epidemic situation, so rational and logical right? So our son was forced in, no school, no extra activity, well still better than in the flat, but now the situation was upside down, from a day to another!

In any case, it was obvious that the plan was starting not to work out as planned!

We waited more than a month to get our documents, and like over another month to find a way to get back to our big son, yeah right, ONE MONTH to plan a plane trip from Italy to Portugal.

The only way was via Dublin in Ireland, and wait 7 hours there of stop over.

Once booked, the airline, in the specific Ryanair, started to bombing us with all the rules, restrictions, and nonsense covid related, we were supposed to comply in order to be able to get on board.

Locator forms, explanations on why we were travel to write in other forms, covid test and the type of mask we were supposed to wear on board, something than a couple of months before was not requested!

We understood that everyone would have checked us, from the very second we would have done the first step out of the flat in Italy until the very last one got in the villa in Portugal!
I felt in prison, I felt not free at all, I felt helpless and powerless, I felt very bad!! But was something that we had to do, for our family, and our son, and there is no virus or whatever that worth more for us!

All of this constant checking and justify every single step was driving us very nervous, so we simply concentrate on the covid documentation and requirements, and we had no time or energy to check anything else!

We left the flat quite early in order to arrive there on time and leave with no problems, or at least less than the one we were facing already!

  • The first issue was an unexpected traffic jam (during lockdown!?!?!), we lost at least 20 minutes.
  • Second I miss an exit following the GPS navigator other 5 minutes
  • Third I could not find the park for the car I rented to reach the airport other 5 minutes
  • Fourth, there was a crazy line in order to get in the airport because the police was checking the paper of everyone was leaving to register the motivations for their travel. I don't think even Stalin thought something so good for his regime! 20 minutes lost
  • Once done, my wife, because non EU citizen had to pass through the check in for passport control, the computer at the check in was not working and everyone started to get nervous, and we lost another 20 minutes even if for them the covid test and the passport without visa of my wife were good enough to travel
  • Than, and I didn't know that, because Ireland is the only place in the European Union outside the Shenghen area we had to pass through the passport control, so the gate was at the very end of the airport, and another 15 minutes evaporated

You understood already that all the time in advance that we had prepared went lost, and that at the end we lost the plane as well!

We were devastated!

But I don't know how to explain to you, on our way back home after this failure I started to think that too many things all together went bad, as if the universe wanted to prevent us not to go.

I'm a very rational guy, but at that moment I could not, not see this, and in fact once at home I started to research about this passport control and what were the actual requirements for a non EU citizen.

It comes out that my wife could not go there, not even for a stop over, without a valid visa, and of course there is the covid so forget about the visa, I mean no one bother to inform us about this small detail while they were so focused to inform us about every single nonsense linked with of course the only thing that matters now: COVID.

So who cares if the immigration police there would have stopped us and rejected without even a plane to get back in a whole week with a 10 months old boy with us. The main thing was the test and the tracing form and the other stuff I had to comply to fight the flu.

At this point the disappointment was extreme but at least we had the relief that we didn't pass through something that could have been even worse than actually lose the plane.

With this option lost, the only other way was to wait 25 days more and be patient until some sort of direct connection would have returned available, and this was not doable for my wife!

So we decided that for the good of our big son I had to travel there via Dublin by myself.

Ok then, new test, new ticket new nervousness for the whole week until the plane would have departed again, but at least this situation would have been finally unblocked, at least a bit.

This time we wanted to be sure 100% that I would have to catch the plane on time, so I had to take the first bus to the airport at 5:45 AM.

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The funny thing, if we can say like this, is that this time there was no one, no line, no issues no dramas like last time.

No lines for the Italian police that in perfect gestapo style wanted to check why and where I was travelling to.

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After the first check, the airport was absolutely desert, and the normal lines for the security check were simply not there, and no one of course at the duty free area.

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Than the second check, the passport control, if you travel a bit you know about the normal line there, but look at the photo.

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The gates area was not better LOL.

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At the end there is always some beauty in life, and the light of the sunrise, is always beautiful even in an environment like this.

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The waiting time was so long a no plane departed, was just like a desert.

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After a while some people started to arrive, and incredibly the plane was almost full, finally time to depart! Bur first they checked again all the covid related paper this was the 3th time.

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The fight was quick and pleasant.

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Once in Dublin the situation didn't change, checked for the 4th time at the passport control plus now required the new passport: the covid test.
No one around, and even if I had to stay there for 7 hours they suggested me not to visit the city, because of the pandemia.

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NO one around, and almost everything was closed, my plan to enjoy a cold Irish beer was fading.

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But at least I could taste the famous fish and chips for a crazy airport prize LOL, but it was not bad.

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After few hours walking around as a zombie, looking for that damn beer, and recharging the phone, I decided to go to explore the gate area, and of course I passed the new police, covid related check (5th time), and the old school security check (6th time).

Once in the gates area the desert didn't change.

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And maybe here was even worse than in Italy, even if this airport was bigger than the one of my departure.

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A good stuff here is that I found an open Irish pub so my plan of getting a couple of pints of fresh Irish beer could be fulfilled.

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Of course the covid should be mentioned even in this activity, no doubt about that! Each country I noticed has its own degree of nonsense, to "combat" the virus, this one is the Irish one.

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As in the photo I posted before about the sunrise, the sunset as well is always a fantastic spectacle even during these hard times, and in places like this one!

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Just time to wait in front of my gate, and get checked once again (7th time) just to be sure you know!

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I could not believe, I left, I was going to see my son after more than 2 months!
The plane was super empty I guess we were like 20 people inside the aircraft.

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Well not so fast! have to pass trough the last police control, and during this day I saw few people rejected already because of invalid test or any sort of issue.

Landed in Portugal, the story is the same here as well, no one around! As we say: a cathedral in the desert!

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I know that it sounds like a made up story, but at the passport control one guy started to shout quite loudly because the Portuguese border police was arguing with his documents, and the lady in front of me blocked the whole line because the police guy didn't like her covid test and ordered her to perform a new one on spot.

Then me, documents given, no question asked, welcome and good night.

What an adventure!

My son hug repaid everything!

Next round, get my wife here!