The airport wasn’t crowded (no queues at Pret for the in-flight sandwich) though that may have had something to do with the hour – it was 5 a.m.. That’s the downside of my Ryanair flight to Jerez, the only flight available. There’s no public transport at that time in the morning either, but Pepe, my cabbie from Congo, was fun to talk to on the way. The cab from south London wasn’t cheap, but then the flight tickets were, so… My flight, on time and comfortable, was far from full.
The bureaucracy was a pain, but not too much of one. A Spanish Document Control complete with QR Code was the result of my completing the required online form and, given that I am doubly vaccinated, that was the limit of it going out. There was a little additional business at the Spanish airport, but not much. Once there, the sun shone, friends whom I hadn’t seen for ten months awaited and my little flat was as lovely as it ever was.
The State of Alarm in Spain was ended sometime before the Emergency COVID measures were lifted in England, so the wearing of face masks isn’t obligatory in either country and nor is social distancing, though it is strongly encouraged in Spain. Most Spaniards choose to wear face masks, outdoors and in, except when eating and drinking. People without them are oddities and looked at as such. I was, however, pleased to see they were no longer worn on the beach.
Returning to the UK is more problematical, with much more documentation needed e.g. the Vaccination Passport, certification of an authorised and negative test taken 48 hours or later before returning and evidence that a PCR test has been booked for one’s return. I had organised these last two before I’d left the UK and the arrangements worked well, especially the Antigen Test with Zoom, which I did when there in collaboration with a nurse who was online, somewhere else in the world. This method was considerably cheaper than any other that I’d found and entirely acceptable to the UK authorities.
I didn’t think I’d caught COVID, I had no symptoms and I was staying in my own home, mixing with people whom I knew. Nonetheless I was, I confess, a little anxious while I waited the twenty minutes or so for the test to work. So what, I reasoned, even if I have it, I just have to stay in this beautiful place for a couple more weeks, but, of course, self-isolation isn’t that much fun anywhere, so I was pleased when the test result was negative.
I needed to complete a Passenger Locator form too ( that took rather longer than I’d anticipated ), at least I received the code which successful submission generated on my phone. Rather more than a fellow traveller on the return journey had managed. He was in transit only through Stansted and hadn’t completed the Form but the Ryanair people insisted. They turned another woman away, who had failed to take a test. Her excuse was that she had planned to take one at the airport – it didn’t work, Jerez airport is very small, without any testing facilities. Other airports may offer this service, but she really should have checked.
So, my advice to a voyager is, take this seriously, ensure everything is arranged before you go and then do what you have arranged. If you do, it’s relatively plain sailing.
Ditch your coat and get your hat, leave your worries on the doorstep and direct your sandaled feet, to the sunny side of the street. Can you hear a pitter pat, that’s the rain in dear old London, a double vax is so neat, on the sunny side of the street. Why not walk in the shade, when the town’s on parade, no need to be afraid, this rover’s crossed over. A Day Two test and all that, will await until you’re home and, don’t forget it’s sweet, on the sunny, sunny side of the street.
With apologies to Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields. Here’s Dinah Washington singing the real thing.