It’s been two years since I visited the country my heart chose as its second home. Travel undaunted has always been my motto and when Gov.uk’s travel traffic lights status turned to green for go on 7th May 2021, I couldn’t wait to book my flight.
72 hours before my flight, I was paying a not inconsiderable amount of money, after having my pre-travel COVID-19 test done… just about at the same time Gov.uk announced they were changing the Portuguese travel traffic lights back to amber from 8th June 2021 – I was due to fly on 5th.
- My heart sank when the breaking news appeared on my iPhone 😟, but I’ve since met others who were already on their flight to Faro when the news broke.
I considered my options. If the Portuguese status had changed to red, I would have been inconsolable, but amber, for me, was okay. I wouldn’t have to rush back to self-isolate before going back to work, because I am fortunate enough to have received both my jabs and, provided I have my trusty Mac with me, I can work from anywhere, but what swung it for me was, at the time I flew to Faro there were 68 cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant in Portugal, compared to 12000 in the UK. So, I decided to take my chances. It was green for go for me.
At the time of booking my flights, information was scanty about all the necessary pre-travel requirements in a COVID-19 world. Bearing in mind I was travelling, Jersey-Heathrow-Faro, I was transiting in the UK,
The best information I found was in an article by Hannah Brandler in Business Traveller on 18th May 2021, which included information on:
- The compulsory pre-departure PCR test
- The rapid antigen test to take with you on the trip (for returning back to the UK)
- And filling out the Travel Locator form for Portugal
The flight from Jersey to Heathrow wasn’t quite full, but on arrival at Heathrow, it was evident that many people, who had waited for so long to go on holiday, had decided to stay at home.
Our flight to Faro was half full, having been fully booked prior to the Gov.uk’s announcement.
On arrival at Faro we waltzed through Passport Control, which was an emotional moment for me, in many respects.
Being back in the country that claimed my heart 30 years ago was one thing, but it was the first time travelling since B COVID-19 and B BREXIT, so a heartbreaking moment, for me, not to be able to go through the EU channel.
During out first few days here we saw a mass exodus of Brits who, up to the COVID-19 pandemic, were topping the Portuguese annual visitor charts, with over 2 million of us visiting every year.
I really felt for those who had to cut their long-awaited holiday short to make it back to the UK prior to the 8th June 2021 to self-isolate before they had to go back to work, while I count my blessings that I am able to stay for a while longer, provided the traffic lights system stays as it is.
Sad reflections of living in our new uncertain post COVID-19 world.