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Published: August 9th 2020
It has been nearly 10 years since our last blog. We have done some travelling but did not blog for many reasons. Getting on a plane during a pandemic and seeing how differently countries are handling the situation felt worth sharing. I know that many people would not feel safe to travel and I respect everybody's decisions and feelings about the situation. As we were visiting one of our home countries, it felt right for us to go. Flights were cancelled and rebooked more than once and it felt uncertain if we actually would be able to make it. In the end we travelled on a Ryanair flight from Stansted to Bari. We needed a minicab and were surprised that our driver did not wear a mask. Em, Frankie and the 2 boys, who we will call ED and FD in blog were wearing a mask. FD, who is only 5, managed to keep it over his nose for the whole time.
Stansted was eerily empty, there were some hand sanitisers available but no masks given out or enforced. I have lost track if you need to wear one in the airport but as a family we are
trying to wear one, when we are indoor with other people, who might be vulnerable. Very little social distancing when we queued at security or getting on the plane. No social distancing in the Ryanair plane with middle seats taken. Most people were wearing their masks as did the crew. You could buy limited foor and drinks. I was surprised that passport checks did not require you to remove your masks – I think they asked me once to take my glasses off but that was it.
On arrival in Italy, temperature checks were done and social distancing was enforced inside the airport. Every single person in Italy was and is wearing masks inside and they were them properly. We rented a car with Maggiore and would not recommend it – they did not have enough cars and we had to wait for 2 hours in the sun with a lot of other people for the car. It was beautiful to arrive in Monopoli but also sad to see how empty it was. You could feel that less tourists were there this year and our favourite breakfast spot was closed in the mornings now. It
is soo impressive how disciplined the Italians are with masks and santising their hand etc. The boys learnt much faster than us and after a couple of days, they always had their mask with them whilst we sometimes had to walk back to get it. A few ways to carry mask with you are having it around your neck and pull it up when going inside, have the ear one pulled under your chin, have the mask on your arm or some kids seemed to have it as a hairband to pull down. Em preferred the around the neck method, whilst FD liked the hairband version and oddly enough ED liked the under the chin version. Nobody had a big enough arm for the around the arm method and Frankie did not like the suggestion to bulk up.
Most restaurants were open and many places, who normally have no outdoor seating had outdoor seating available. We really recommend Trattoria Il Brigants for dinner and like to have a quick pizza in Ai Portici. Beaches are certainly still crowded but less full than normal. There were extra sunbeds in Porto Chiacciolo, which is one of our favourite lidos
and there was space in Due Onde as well. The free beaches such as Tre Buchi were pretty crowded. Sadly, Em could not visit Santa Stefano this year as they are charging EUR 125 for 4 people and one sunbed – not even 2. Santa Stefano always was pricey but worth it but that was just too much and pretty unreasonable. WE love visiting Torre Guaceto and it was fabe as always and no issue with social distancing. They boys struggled to socially disatnce from grandma and grandpa but all the other older relatives we only saw waving from the balcony.
I was soo happy that we made it to Monopoli and Italy felt very safe and the AlItalia flight was socially distanced with the middle seat left empty. Not sure if it was because it was not fully booked or done on purpose. There also was no board service – you only could ask for bottled water. Landing in Heathrow was similar to Stansted, limited social distancing and some folks without masks on the train. It probably takes some time to change the behaviour but Italy seemed to have achieved some sort of 'new
normal'. One last thing, there are forms to fill in to enter and leave Puglia and a form to fill in to enter the UK.
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