29 May 2020

Corona-Lockdown Spanish Edition - D78 - Good times!

Definitely a much more cheerful weekend than last week! YAY for "Fase 1" and restaurants / bars / cafés having opened up their terraces and being able to get together with friends (up to 10) for a drink / snack / meal! 🥳

27 May 2020

Corona-Lockdown Spanish Edition - D76 - Flags at half mast

The government announced a 10-day period of mourning for the lives lost to Covid-19. It started with a minute of silence at noon and flags in all official buildings and monuments lowered to half mast.

I only heard about it on the news at lunch... but already a couple of weeks ago when I went into town there was a giant black ribbon at City Hall. And a minute of silence while at the supermarket on Saturday.

As we see the light at the end of the Covid-tunnel (this stretch of it at least), as we start breathing a sigh of relief as business reopen, we get to see our friends and families again, it feels right to take a moment to think of those who have succumbed to this virus. So often alone. To their families who couldn't say proper farewells. 

26 May 2020

Corona-Lockdown Spanish Edition - D75 - Dipping my toes

AT LAST! Finally dipped my toes in the Mediterranean... summer is inching closer and the sea has been looking more and more enticing each time I go out for my evening walk. 

I just hope by the time the days heat up and we're begging to get in the water, that we'll be allowed to get in the water. Supposedly Phase 2 is when full beach access will be allowed around here (and not just for walking or water sports athletes), and if all goes well in Alicante that would start next Monday. They just have to figure out the social distancing recommendations, and how to monitor their implementation.

I'll have to admit though... Once the crowds start, I'm going to miss walking along almost empty beaches.

Playa de San Juan

23 May 2020

Corona-Lockdown Spanish Edition - D73 - Heartbreak & Nostalgia

The past few days have been really hard. Not because of the lockdown (although that hasn't helped), but because Friday would have been my Dad's birthday (were it not for that bloody Glioblastoma multiforme). A date that wouldn't have passed unremarked, even if Facebook hadn't provided me with photo memories of the past 10 years worth of crazy birthday celebrations...

The whole week leading up to this has been hard, I don't think I went to bed a single night with dry eyes (which continued some mornings as well). Overflowed to the weekend... and we'll see how the next few days go considering the 28th would be my parents' 48th wedding anniversary.

I know it would have helped my mom if we could have gone to the cemetery to take flowers... but he's buried in her hometown 45' north of us, and because of the lockdown it's only open a couple of hours in the mornings, when I have to work. And they've limited the number of people who can be in there at a time, meaning we could drive up all the way up there on a weekend day and not be allowed in. So we have to wait for the next phase of the "desconfinamiento" and hope they increase the access...

One thing that did soothe my soul this evening at least, I decided to take some flowers to my dad's beach on the Cape (2 blocks from their apartment), and spent a long while sitting on the rocks, looking out at sea, listening to Yo Yo Ma give a live concert of Bach's cello concerto's on YouTube...

20 May 2020

Corona-Lockdown Spanish Edition - D69 - Thankful for Nature

Went for a lovely walk along the Cape this evening... was hoping there would be fewer people out than usual what with the possibility to meet up with friends at cafés or homes (there weren't).

Calm waters. Lovely sunset. Has been wonderful being able to come out for a walk in the evenings since the desconfinamiento started and they've been slowly letting up on the lockdown restrictions.

My happy place!

19 May 2020

Corona-Lockdown Spanish Edition - D68 - FRIENDS!!!

The absolutely most wonderful thing about progressing to Fase 1 of the de-escalation? Getting to finally meet up with FRIENDS!!! Also family 😉 Basically someone you don't live with! Maximum groups of 10 people (ideally maintaining social distance recommendations). Either in someone's house, or in a restaurant/café terrace (allowed to open now at 50% capacity, indoors waits until next phase).

I didn't head out anywhere yesterday, decided to let the people who were a bit more desperate go out and get it out of their system (we've seen a pattern here, first day in the rule change people tend to go nuts and just ignore the rules!). But tonight was a lovely little dinner party with friends overlooking the Med! 🥳 So nice to be able to just hang out for a few hours... 

Although the whole "keeping our distance" thing lasted all of 2 minutes...

18 May 2020

Corona-Lockdown Spanish Edition - D66 - Fase 1, hola!

Day 1 of Fase 1 in Alicante. So far no change! But because I decided not to go out and try it... I figure being the first day there would be too many people out and about (has been the pattern so far), and people are still confused about the dos and don'ts. Alicante City Hall has circulated helpful infographics on social media channels (ditto various sports clubs, cultural websites etc.) , and yet the comments in them show people with still lots of very basic questions. And it's not really that complicated!!! *sigh* The main things that have changed (that people care about) is (1) you can go to a small business without having to have made an appointment previously, (2) restaurants/bars/cafés can open up their terraces for sit-down service (take away is also an option), (3) churches can open to 30% occupancy level, (4) gatherings in private homes of up to 10 people are allowed. All that with social distancing recommendations. Oh, and a few more people get to go back to work...

One of my colleagues sent a message to our office WhatsApp group this afternoon. She lives downtown and goes out for a walk with her daughters every day. She said it had a pre-quarantine feel to it. Terraces full of people, with tables too close to each other. A lot more people milling on the streets, man of them taking advantage of the fact that the police can't check up on everyone so they could be out for a walk with friends and just say "oh I was going to the café"...  Hopefully lessons will be learnt, people will follow the guidelines, and we don't get an increase in infections because of rule-breakers.

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to hanging out on a friend's balcony tomorrow evening, enjoying a nice glass of wine with some good company while overlooking the sea!

#stayhome, #quedateencasa, #restecheztoi

17 May 2020

Corona-Lockdown Spanish Edition - D65 - Farewell sunset, Fase 0 adiós!

We did it! Whatever it is we were supposed to do... but the entirety of the province of Alicante will be in "Fase 1" of the lockdown de-escalation tomorrow.  🥳 

To celebrate, I decided to head out for a walk to the Cape and enjoy the sunset...

So privileged to live near such a beautiful spot! 🥰

14 May 2020

Corona-Lockdown Spanish Edition - D62 - By the sea

Depending on wether you support the government or are in the opposition, the take on this whole 4-step "desconfinamiento" (de-escalation of the lockdown) process has been something between "they're making it up as they go" to "they set out their instructions, then listen to the criticism, and amend it where they think the criticism made sense".

Some of that shifting among the restrictions has been lifted by the national government, but others by regional or local governments. And the changes that have caught the most attention in Alicante are those related to use of the coastline. Namely the beaches. Which makes sense considering we're a beach city and all!

Playa de la Albufereta (our small beach)

12 May 2020

Corona-Lockdown Spanish Edition - D60 - Adiós Hogueras

Well that's it... no Hogueras this year! 😢

After postponing the June holiday to September, today the mayor announced that the 2020 edition was canceled. So no giant sculptures will be burnt to a crisp with firecrackers until June 2021. *sob*

I've been expecting this announcement ever since the city of Munich announced the cancelation of Oktoberfest a few weeks ago. I figured if an event that big (with the economic impact it entails), and that was set for a month after the Hogueras new dates, was canceled, then our holiday was heading for the chopping block.

9 May 2020

Coronavirus Lockdown Spanish Edition - D57 - Downtown!

My first visit downtown in 2 months... wow! So weird to see empty streets, solitary bus stops, that would otherwise be bustling with Saturday morning shoppers... Well, not completely empty. When I went into town it coincided with the "over-70" exercise time, so there were a few elderly couples out for a stroll. You could tell they weren't used to dealing with traffic anymore, plenty sauntering along in the middle of the street! 😝

8 May 2020

Coronavirus Lockdown Spanish Edition - D56 - Confusion

There's a lot of that going around. People are confused about what they can and can't do as they move from one phase of the de-escalation to another, regional and local governments are confused as to the criteria the national government is using to decide which areas get to pass from one phase to another... some of us are just permanently confused! 😉

For a while there yesterday and today I thought I'd be heading into the office to work Friday next week, and Thur/Fri the following week, as we assured a "minimum presence" (1 person) during Phase 1. There was a bit of confusion as those of us designated for the office babysitting job switched days with each other. Then there was confusion because it wasn't clear if we actually needed to be there, and a couple of hours ago it was finally confirmed that we don't. And then a few hours after that the announcement came in of which provinces moved from Phase o into Phase 1 (allowing bars and restaurants to open up terraces at 50% occupation, social gatherings of max. 10 people - including in private homes, etc), and the Valencia Community was highly confused when half of us didn't make the cut! Including Alicante city and neighboring areas dependent on our two public hospitals...

Confusion all around! Oh well... hopefully clarity will come with more info from the government on Monday. Or not.

At least I got to head out and stretch my legs for a few hours and smell the sea. I'm good! 🥰

#stayhome, #quedateencasa, #restecheztoi

4 May 2020

Coronavirus Lockdown Spanish Edition - Day 52 - Star Wars Social Distancing

I just want to take a few minutes to share some laughs in the form of more Covid-19 memes, in honor of Star Wars Day. 😉 (once again I know not the source, these have circulated on social media)

3 May 2020

Coronavirus Lockdown Spanish Edition - Day 51 - Celebrating apart

I think I've said it before, and I'll say it again... I don't know how we'd be getting through this lockdown without video conferences!!! Especially when there's something to celebrate.

Today is Mothers' Day here in Spain, and my mom is all alone at her place! Due to the quarantine rules she can't come here and I can't go there (other than to take her groceries, but since today is Sunday and shops are closed - if I get stopped by the police on my way over to her house it's a 600€ fine!). And my sisters are in Sweden and the UK!

2 May 2020

Coronavirus Lockdown Spanish Edition - Day 50 - A taste of freedom!

50 days locked in. 50 days at home, only going out to take the trash to the bin up the street, or to do the grocery shopping (usually both the same day).

Today we were finally allowed OUT! 🥳