COVID situation in Germany in April 2021

This is where I usually write about my travels. The last trip to take place was in February 2020, just before the first lockdown began in mid-March.

We have been in lockdown mode for quite some time. With 16 German states, and each carrying its own set of regulations, it gets rather confusing at times. You might have heard Germans can fly to the Spanish island of Mallorca, but can’t rent a vacation home on the German shore.

In Germany, we can’t travel yet, because hotels, B&Bs, and the likes are closed to the public. We can’t eat in restaurants yet, but we can get deliveries.

We can’t get vaccinated yet, because there isn’t enough vaccine to go around. Priority groups go first, and just this past weekend, my husband was able to register for his vaccination (now all teachers get their turn). Of course, this was only the registration. Who knows how long it will take to actually get notified for an appointment.

We have adjusted, of course. We have also discovered new likes, such as going on picnics. This is in regulation with the keep-distance rule, and we can be outdoors.

With more time on my hands, I printed out a slew of British Tea Time sandwich recipes. White wine, which I usually do not care for, does find its purpose at picnic time.

My idea of Outdoor Isolation works really well. It takes one minute on foot to get to the park. Passersby smiled, and a bit of wine made my own smile even bigger. I plan on having picnics from now on whenever I can.

Picnic Time and Outdoor Isolation in Germany

Heathrow Airport London Long Immigration Line

Having left the quiet Frankfurt Airport, our son encountered the opposite situation at Heathrow Airport, where the immigration queue was manned by only two people. This left people waiting in line without food or water for up to seven hours. It took our son six hours in the queue. We will have a chat with him this evening and we will surely hear some more details as well.

More about this here from the BBC News Business with the headline: “Heathrow Airport seven-hour queues ‘inhumane’, say passengers”

This was the immigration queue at Heathrow Airport on 28 Feb 2021 around 9pm.

Thomas had to be at the Frankfurt Airport by 2pm, no snacks are being served on flights, and yes, one can go without food or water until midnight. That is when he got back to his flat in London.

Some of the hold-up was caused by passengers not fully prepared for entry with the new regulations. One of them being having booked the two COVID-19 tests beforehand, and showing proof of it.

His two COVID-19 tests for entering the U.K. came to a total of £ 210 after some comparison shopping. Some test centers charge as much as £250 per test. All this, among other required entry forms, was done well before his flight.

His airport taxi reservation, which is usually around £40, tacked on another £5 for each additional 15 minutes. I’m sure he will let us know what his total bill came to.

He also had to miss his TESCO food delivery as none of his flatmates were home.

He made it back to London. That’s all that matters for right now.

Biergarten Time Again in Oberursel

As of 15 May, 2020, restrictions have been eased on pubs and restaurants in Germany. These new rules for pub- and restaurant owners are not easy to comply with, so some continue with only take-out or delivery service, and some have reopened.

This Biergarten on Hohemarkstrasse in Oberursel has enough space to accommodate everyone’s updated social distancing rules.

Biergarten 16 May 2020

When we left the Biergarten, we noticed this fairly new sign right by the U-3 tracks. It is posted in all kinds of languages, but not the local one. 🙂

I imagine though after a few beers at the Biergarten, the word STOP is enough for Germans to clear the tracks before crossing.

The same crossing is used by refugees housed in one of the buildings near the Biergarten. That explains it.

I’m so glad it is Biergarten time again. After almost two months of self-isolation, this is a real blessing.

If you want to know more about this Biergarten, visit Sommergarten am Urselbach.

Notes from London on an April Day in 2020

This guest post is written by Thomas Shipley, who is riding out the time of COVID-19 in London.

A fog shrouds the world outside my window. There is no one outside and all is quiet except for the chirping of the birds. Inside, I find myself in a haze of unreality. I am not in a Stephen King novel. I am not in a Quentin Tarantino film. I am in the year 2020. Wildfires ravaged the Australian bush, Trump almost started World War III, and now humanity is facing a global pandemic. Worldwide shutdowns of travel and business. London is under lockdown. I am, though, allowed to leave the house to go grocery shopping.

I step outside into the cool British spring. As I breath uneasily under my face mask, the condensation causes my glasses to repeatedly fog up. I am in the heart of London – a city of millions – and it is eerily still except for the occasional passerby. I get to the local supermarket. I see a frail old woman in an aisle that was once was fully stocked with items such as laundry detergent. The store clerk sadly tells her there is none. Panic buying. We are scared, so we forage like squirrels do acorns in order to survive the winter. No toilet paper or hand sanitizer anywhere to be seen. Many basic necessities lacking. Is it selfishness? Perhaps. Yet, it is hard to undo thousands of years of human evolution. The pandemic eats away at the polite façade of our social order. I discover that crises such as this bring out the worst and best in people.

Staying inside for days on end, I lose my sense of place and time. I catch up with old friends that I haven’t spoken to in a long time. We have long conversations and we laugh. We talk about the virus. It infects our conversations. I wonder how long the pandemic’s grip on our daily lives will last. How long it will be until I am again able to hug my family and friends, dance, commute, and travel. I scroll through my social media feeds. Everyone is posting memes to relieve themselves of the anxieties that we feel in these unprecedented times. And yet – they are not so unprecedented. I remind myself that such plagues have regularly upended our sense of normality for thousands of years. The Antonine plague in ancient Rome killed many around the stoic emperor Marcus Aurelius, and yet he persevered. None of this is new. This too, shall pass.

I am grateful that I have the luxury to remain inside and isolate. Grateful, that I live in a developed country with a robust health system. Grateful for each day that I get to experience on this earth. I do not wish for easy times, but that I am strong enough to brave them. This pandemic has exposed our vulnerabilities. We had forgotten how fragile our existence is. We must learn from this and prevent it from happening again.

Sun setting in London on 03 April 2020

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