It is time for some real travel! Or so we have been telling ourselves since our last six-month-long 'hard lockdown' ended in Greece a few weeks ago.
As we reported here in the last article, this pair of boomer-aged American expats were packed and on a Greek road (and ferry) trip within hours of the lifting of travel restrictions.
|Neighborhood traffic jam - The Mani|
We know the change of scenery that we experienced on our 'ferry tale' trip to the Dodecanese islands seemed to replenish the souls and the spirits of these two aging vagabonds. Our Peloponnese countryside is stunning, but it is great to be reminded of other stunning landscapes to be found in Greece.
Being fully vaccinated, we didn't have to take pre-travel tests, and because we live here, didn't have to fill out Greece's mandatory PLF, Passenger Locator Form, required for all who enter the country. We had to wear a mask in public areas, which is becoming second nature these days and we continued to use hand sanitizer as if preparing to perform surgery.
|Mani coastline - Greek Peloponnese|
As inspired as we were by that taste of travel, we remain hesitant to book any itinerary for outside Greece. And it isn't based on a fear of travel in time of Covid or of any of the health considerations being bantered around in traditional and social media. It is simply based on the uncertainties of travel.
|One of the many Greek ferry lines - Blue Star Ferries|
Travel - A Game of Chance
Our hesitancy is fueled by the ever changing rules and regulations that countries are imposing and withdrawing as they try to reign in the spread of Covid and get their populations vaccinated. Planning a trip even a few months down the road has become a game of chance.
|Reduced flights to Athens have kept the airport uncrowded|
For example, we have a huge contingent of British citizens who come to Greece as regularly as Americans head to Hawaii, Florida, or Arizona for their vacation getaways. Time and time again in recent days we have read of summer travel plans being dashed when flights between England and Greece were cancelled. Travelers report rebooking as many of two or three times and some have finally given up and are waiting until next year.
(For those of you not following travel news on this side of the pond, England still has Greece on its 'amber' travel list which means a lengthy quarantine when getting back from a trip to Greece or if traveling to England for vacation from here. Therefore numbers of travelers are way down and flights are being cancelled as result.)
|View of Dubai from the plane - we transited there in March|
I am using England as an example but travel rules related to Covid, seem ever-changing everywhere on an almost daily basis. Today's news briefs from the World Health Organization announced that Morocco was soon opening to tourists while the next headline announced Uganda was starting another lockdown. Do you go or do you stay is a very real consideration among travelers.
The uncertainties of rules in countries that one might transit make it difficult for Americans trying to visit Europe as well. A good friend of ours, a seasoned traveler, hasn't given up travel plans - yet - but has delayed booking any flights to come see us this fall until headlines about rampant Covid variants and quarantines and cancelled flights in England have subsided.
|You can't forget you are traveling in a time of Covid|
We have a week to use in France that we rescheduled five times in 2020 and finally just held off booking a specific time for this year. We'd considered using it later this month, but an article a few days ago in the Washington Post was so confusing about the rules for Americans entering that country -- whether from America or another European country -- that we decided just to table those plans for now.
|Canadian Rockies as we approached Seattle|
A return to the States this fall is also in the talking stages at our house. The conversations no longer focus only on dates and prices but also on routings and Covid requirements. While I have been writing this post, The Scout has found several options for flying between Athens and Seattle but as he read them off my responses have been questions not confirmations of a plan:
'But, is Turkey open? Can we fly to Istanbul from Athens?' (Turkey was closed because of Covid two weeks ago - keeping us from visiting it while on our 'ferry tale' trip.
'Vancouver? Vancouver, BC (Canada)? But Americans aren't allowed there are they, yet?' Even if allowed into and out of both countries now, it is difficult to plan a trip several months out when Covid manages to change things within days.
|Celebrity cruise ship docked in Piraeus port|
Tourism headlines here this week did announce that the first cruise ships have sailed from Greece, with a 70 percent occupancy. Forty ships are expected to arrive in coming months. Cruising -- before the pandemic -- created 12,000 jobs in Greece and brought in 500 million euros annually.
So for now our cruising will be aboard Greek ferries. The Scout is putting together another 'ferry tale' itinerary for us. Not quite sure which islands will make the cut but I'll tell you about them next week!
|Greek islands - so many from which to choose|
Travel in the Blogosphere
Our most recent 'trip' into that unknown world of the blogosphere to update the delivery system of TravelnWrite has ended. And hopefully the ending was a successful one - not the double or nothing I pondered as possibilities when that adventure began
We are hoping that those of you who signed up to receive our posts as emails are reading this as such and that it arrived in your inbox only once having been sent from Mailchimp. The email format is a bit different, actually better to our way of thinking, so maybe change is good.
|Planning a trip? If so where and when?|
How about adding a comment or dropping us a note about your travel plans - or lack of them due to Covid? I would also so appreciate a note from those 'subscribers' who have received the new email to let me know it came through loud and clear.
On that note, stay safe and have a good June whether you travel in real life or by armchair. Thanks for the time you spent with us today ~