We entered Phase 3 this week. In plain English this means we can sit indoors in restaurants and cafes (previously sitting outside was our only option). Museums, galleries, swimming pools and cinemas are now open to us, with social distancing measures.
Crucially we can spend the night somewhere other than our own bed; hotels have opened and it is now permitted to spend the night at someone else home.
Foreign travel has been put back on the menu, but only 12 countries have been green listed (meaning no quarantine on return).
When you take off the countries where we’re not allowed in (the list is not reciprocal; Australia and Singapore still won’t have us) and the places we can’t actually get to (South Sandwich Islands anyone?) Then you are left with four places: Iceland, Israel, Gibraltar and Portugal. For Iceland you need to be fully vaxed to get in (I’m still waiting for my final dose) and at time of writing Israel seem to be edging towards war. So Portugal or Gibraltar.
I had an inclination to book a short trip to Portugal (my fingers were itching over the book now button), but short trips really aren’t worth it with all the expense of tests we need to get back in the UK (I would need a test to get into Portugal, a test to leave and re-enter the UK and a third test two days after getting back).
I’ll wait and bide my time until there are some more options. It’s killing me though.
So meanwhile I spent a few days in London. Hotels have good deals on if you look around (mostly because they’re virtually empty, due to the absence of international guests). I found three nights for the price of two near the South Bank.
London is empty of tourists. Places like The South Bank and Covent Garden would normally be teeming with people, to the extent that you’re endlessly pivoting around people stopping to take their seventh identical photo. Even the London Eye, normally overwhelmed with people queuing in haphazard fashion and blocking off the entire street, had no queue (so much so that even I thought about doing it. However, queue or no queue, it is still £32, so I didn’t).
I mostly spent my time visiting galleries and theatres. It felt quite emotional being back in these places after all this time and watching them cut the cord to let people in once more.
One day I had to get the tube early, at rush hour time, which I’d been dreading. However it wasn’t busy; I even got a seat (at 8.30 on a morning), which is unheard of.
It would be nice if we could take something positive out of the pandemic and not go back to the vast numbers of people needing to travel around London every day.
Bojo is keen to drive everyone back to the office but clearly it is possible to keep huge swathes of people from needing to commute every morning.
My Blog Birthday
My blog just turned seven years old. Mostly it’s a challenge for me to keep focused on something for seven minutes without becoming distracted, so this is something of an achievement.
I haven’t used the blog that much over the past year, but mainly because I haven’t been doing much. I put up the odd update from time to time (like this one) to keep the Algorithm Gods happy, but I have little interest in writing about staying in.
Even though I have piles of unused travel content, I don’t want to keep churning out travel posts to a world that can’t travel (I’m not interested in reading them so why would I assume that anybody else is?)
The most popular posts on the blog over the past year have been:
Driving Perth to Kalgoorlie is one of my top search terms for people coming to my blog. Other common searches that have brought people here include Turkish gigolos (I have a post here; really I could write a book on that topic) and where does Paul Weller live (I have no idea but I mentioned him in this piece about London’s Little Venice.
Well, onwards and upwards. My next project is a short UK based road trip, and after that I should have the space in my life (and the vaccination status) for a jaunt into Europe.