Tuesday, 18 August 2020

The Summer of UK Staycations & Road Trips: Cornwall & Devon

surfing in cornwall

With the current pandemic and restrictions on international travel, "staycation" has become the latest trend to travel and stay safe this summer. Staying close to home or - better - exploring our beautiful country is as equally exciting as going abroad.

A couple of summers ago, I spent an entire month road tripping around the South of England, in particular Devon and Cornwall. Instead of spending a few days here and there, I decided to rent a private room in Exeter and made the charming city my base from which I would go out exploring the beaches, the breath-taking coastal walks and countless historic sights.  

Make Exeter Your Base For Your Road Trip


Renting a private room in Exeter did not only mean some savings on accommodation, but I stayed with a lovely couple and got local insights, recommendations and felt like a true Exeter resident which made my stay even more memorable.

Exeter itself is a charming town which can be explored easily by foot. The area around the Cathedral is seamed with little cafes and nearby shops which is inviting for traditional cream tea and perfect for a relaxed Sunday afternoon. But there’s more. 

Being one of the oldest settlements in Britain, Exeter has seen William the Conqueror and has kept many remains of its Norman Conquest past including a very well preserved city wall. More than 70% of the ancient wall is still intact spanning a history of more than 2000 years. There are 9 historical spots to discover if you decide to go on a self-guided walking tour which will take you across the majority of the inner city past lush gardens and medieval townhouses. 

If you have some more time, I can also recommend seeing the Underground Passages, a medieval subterranean system to transport water deep below the city centre. The passages are well preserved and narrow which makes exploring even more adventurous. Exeter is also the only city in the UK to have these underground passages so make sure you don't miss out on them. 
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Friday, 14 August 2020

What To Expect When You Fly During The Corona Virus Pandemic

airplane waiting in an empty airport lounge

Crazy times we're living in. 

Who would have thought that only eight months into 2020, the airline that took me to Australia went completely bust and now no longer exists?  

Or that 90% of air travel, domestic as well international, is completely cancelled bringing even the all-mighty Heathrow airport to a standstill? 

Whilst travelling around Australia, the Corona Virus pandemic hit and after a first round of lockdown in Down Under I had to make the decision to cancel my trip and instead plan to get back home to London. It wasn't an easy decision given the fact that there were (and still are) limited flights going in and out as travel restrictions have and continue to tighten. The other concern was how to safely travel back across the globe in the middle of an ongoing deadly pandemic.  

Domestic Flights in Australia During Covid-19


Between March and June, I took two domestic flights in Australia. 

One, when Covid hit back in March, going from Townsville to Brisbane. My second one was towards the end of June when restrictions got eased and I made a move home. 

My first flight was a spontaneous decision as I had to be flexible and drop all of my other plans when the situation peaked at the end of March. I had taken the risk to go to Magnetic Island, a remote island just off the Queensland coast from Townsville. Luckily I was able to get a ticket for a flight to Brisbane though I didn't see myself covering the 1000km and returning safely to Brisbane that day. I actually thought I would be stuck in Townsville. 

When I arrived at Townsville airport, all flights were either suspended, cancelled or taken off the board. Only a few flights to Sydney were scheduled and my mid-afternoon Virgin flight to Brisbane. 

Back then, Social Distancing was only enforced during boarding and queuing, but completely waived at when inside the plane. All seats were fully booked so I would sit shoulder to shoulder to other passengers but wearing a face covering was mandatory. At Brisbane airport, I wasn't checked for any temperature or symptoms and everyone just continued their normal routine as if nothing was happening. In general, Australians behaved very relaxed and unbothered about the pandemic because of their remote location in the world. 
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