So I found myself in Sardinia the other day, as you do.
I’d been feeling a desperate need to escape all the madness for a while, and had been waiting for August and the school holidays to be over before making my move.
In truth I should have waited a little bit longer; it is still pretty hot and crowded. Italian children are still on holiday, temperatures still hover around 30 degrees and prices are still in summer mode.
However I was worried that if I waited too long we would be back in lockdown and I would lose my opportunity to go anywhere.
Countries have been jumping off of our travel corridor week to week. First Spain disappeared then France, Belgium, Croatia, etc, etc. Portugal went back on the safe list and then two weeks later it was being threatened to come off again. In fact it stayed on the list in England (but not Scotland), even though the rate in Portugal is as high as many places that had come off. Greece stayed on the safe list, except for seven of its islands. Confused? Well it’s not surprising.
This list has more to do with frightening people into thinking it’s not worth the risk to go anywhere, rather than actually preventing an outbreak. Rates in England are now so high again that we wouldn’t get onto our own travel corridor.
Covid in Sardinia
In the five days between when I booked and when I travelled, Sardinia has become the Italian Covid 19 epicentre. From safe haven to Covid hotspot, the Guardian headline screamed.
Hotspot is a bit of an exaggeration; there was a cluster of cases based around a nightclub in upmarket Costa Smeralda (ex Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi of Bunga Bunga fame was one). Still I am a bit jittery that whilst I’m away there will be a rethink and Sardinia will lose its place on the travel corridor, leaving me on house arrest for two weeks after I get back.
A bit of politics…
PM BoJo said we should all be taking a Staycation this year.
Firstly, this proves that BoJo doesn’t know what a Staycation is either (don’t start me; Staycation means you stay overnight in your own home, not just in your home country).
Mostly, though, the aim is to get us to pump our money into the British economy rather than taking it abroad. ‘You should support British businesses because they need the money’, people keep telling/lecturing me.
Like the Italians don’t need it, or are somehow less deserving? I don’t owe the British economy anything.
I’ve already taken a domestic trip this summer; hotels were exploitively expensive, the weather was drizzly and many of the locals were hostile.
Flying during the new normal
Flying is now a somewhat different experience. A day before my flight I received an email telling me that the Italian officials were demanding disposable face masks; my lovingly sewed multicoloured masks were not going to cut it, apparently. So not only do I have to feel guilty about what my flight is doing to the environment but I also have to contribute two disposable masks to a landfill somewhere.
If you have been practising social distancing it is a bit of a shock to they system to find yourself in such close proximity to other humans that you don’t know. It is not possible to social distance people on a plane.
They disembarked our aircraft a row at a time to try and eliminate crowding in the aisle, but then we were herded onto a bus to take us to the terminal building and left crowded into a tiny arrivals hall to be temperature checked and processed.
Since I don’t go to crowded bars or clubs I still contend that the airport and plane are probably the most Covid-risky part of my trip.
Expert advice suggests that window seats are the safest place to be, Covid-wise. I never like being jammed in on a window though and so I stuck to the aisle (the world is divided into window and aisle fans and window people are different people). Other than that, staying in your seat as far as possible helps (rather than walking around the plane), keeping your mask on (obviously) and trying to avoid using the bathroom (we were only on a two-hour flight; who are all these people who can’t manage a two hour flight without needing the loo?)
As for Sardinia itself, I will cover that in another post.