While the whole country was shut down and figuring out creative places where to escape your own house (and family) – we were heading out of the country. That is if you asked me on Monday and Wednesday – rest of the week was either no or I have no idea. May and June were stressful. Literally my flight would be cancelled or changed weekly, the rules of travel changed daily and I de facto became an investigator and policy decipher expert for 3 countries, airports and airlines. To backtrack, we bought a trip to Prague for myself, Mia and Brian in November. They boys were to go to their sleepaway camp in NC for 5 weeks, while Mia and I were to spend the whole month of July in Prague and Brian would come to visit us and we would head out to Ireland for a quick getaway.
All that fell apart as you can imagine. Boys’ camp got cancelled which triggered Brian staying home. Well, as of July 1, Mia and I were heading to the airport, backpacks full of sanitizing wipes, masks, food and every government document both countries ever issued for both of us to prove that we are worth visiting and healthy. This was preceded by Atlanta-based covid test 4 days before our departure with the hope that will be enough to prove our health. As the wings of Delta were rising, our hopes for ever receiving the results were diminishing. Night before, the Czech government issued a guidance that you have to get tested there anyway – and we were free to spread anything on the plane or overseas. Hello chaos.
The flights were surprisingly enjoyable. Masks on all the time, yes. Empty plane with each of us having the 4 seaters for ourselves yes, incredibly enjoyable stewards, yes – food, yes! 12 hours with mask on – manageable. Sanitizers and disinfection everywhere – yet I was still cleaning everything we touched. I have no idea why the flights are going with ¼ of the people but I was thrilled they were! The Dutch government made us fill out some form that no one ever wanted so I threw it away in Prague. The Czech passport control, while very organized on paper and freaking me out for weeks, nonchalantly asked “where are you coming from” – upon my answer, I heard “ha, you may want to get tested, have a nice vacation”. What?! Hello, I am ready to show you all the papers, all the test results I didn’t really get, get temperature measured – all the hours of work and studying up had to be worth something. Mum, ever so ready to immediately drive us to the testing center and register us at the main hygiene office until results were in, was almost disappointed given all the hours spent researching what/where/how. We, however, did go to the airport testing center voluntarily where this time around everyone looked as they stepped out of the movie Outbreak, we paid ~$80 each and got stick up to our forehead with the promise we will know in 12 hours. No address, no name, nothing. I, trying to somehow capitalize on the hours and hours of acquired knowledge of all the policies, was eager to call the hygiene to proudly announce that we were negative. For 3 days, no one picked up the phone there, so I emailed it to generic ID. Another 3 days later, I got an email that my quarantine is over and that we are good – what? I was in quarantine? When? Holy moly, if both countries are this disorganized, we will be in this mess for months or years.
I still didn’t get the results of my US test, month later. So, my fellow travelers, it is not as bad as it sounds if you stick to the ever changing rules. Mask for 12 hours is absolutely doable, the air on the plane is fresh and cold. Empty airports are refreshing, getting on the plane in 5 mins is amazing. I can’t complain and big kudos to #delta for flying in these conditions.
However, don’t ask me about my thoughts on the government’s actions – lots of publicity hoopla for very little to show for it.