When the Lockdown happened back in March, and we were all glued to our television screens and like being in a movie saw Boris state that Covid-19 had come to take over the World…. I thought that travelling abroad in 2020 was off limits……. That was up until August when a few countries still had their borders open for us British people……. Our first trip since lock down. We were anxious, excited, curious, scared, nervous…… all the emotions put into one. But one thing we definitely were was ‘Ready’. Having gone through the Covid-19 we felt invincible….. like we had superpowers….. I know, I know, we can catch it again, but I also know that we can fight it too….. so we are now ready to conquer the World again…. or maybe just Istanbul for the time being…..
We decided on Istanbul because it was the only place which doesn’t require us to Quarantine after the trip, so we could potentially go straight back into work on return. Having already lost out on days off whilst we were unwell, this was a priority when booking.
I thought it would be important to talk about our experience whilst travelling because I know a lot of people are really anxious about travelling, and I have got to admit that the world and travelling has definitely changed to a ‘new normal’. It actually is a bizarre and surreal experience, yet we felt safe throughout, so rest assured….. its not all bad.
We were flying from Stansted and the flight being at silly’o’clock in the morning we decided to book one night in with parking at the Hamptons by Hilton which is actually on the grounds of Stansted Airport- so that the morning is easier for us all. The stay also includes airport parking for the duration of our trip. It really is a no brainer as we now don’t need to rely on anyone to pick or drop us off or even arrange Taxi runs- especially because it was at Silly’o’clock.
The reality of the fast and Changing ‘Covid’ world hit us on entrance to the Hamptons….. where we were met by a platform advising us to sanitise our hands and a dude with a temperature gun pointing at our foreheads….. do keep in mind we have not even got to the airport yet. The Hotel felt empty and there were direction signs around the reception area. The reception desk was blocked by a perplex glass with a tiny cut out for any transaction being made. The receptionist had the Perspex mask on, and we were directed to put our masks on, on entrance.
The bar was empty, no people, no buzz, no feeling of being in a hotel…. Once we got our keys we entered the lifts, once again we had a little guest in the lift encouraging us yet again to ‘Sanitise’
The rooms had a sticker which broke apart on entrance- clearly used for our purpose to acknowledge that it was last cleaned and since then no one else has entered the room.
If you guys have been reading and following me you will know that one thing I love is breakfast in every hotel, its a bonus of the stay and I love the whole experience…..well once again….. Covid just took the fun out of breakfast! Firstly we had to give a time we will turn up for breakfast so that they can manage the amount of people at the breakfast hall. Secondly we were given this…..
A tray full of breakfast. No choices. Just this. Plastic plates, plastic cutlery, no moving around…. I was so disappointed….. I understand that its not the hotels fault….. but I also know now that I will not be paying the extra for breakfast. This was not worth waking up for…….
Now the Airport……… My god I have never in my life seen such an empty airport, it was quiet and eerie. Masks are mandatory inside the airport and their was surveillance team walking around making sure that we all were social distancing and adhering to the ‘new normal’ as well as hundreds of signs all over the place, on the floor and the walls, and the famous Sanitising stations at every point…… In all honesty….. apart from the mask thing I actually enjoyed it. The queues were short, check in was quick and easy, getting a seat was easy, and everyone around was also considerate, everyone played there part to make it an easy experience to travel in the ‘new normal’…. it really was the best trip in terms of going through the whole getting into departures.
Sanitisers are everywhere and in every corner in the airport, cafes and restaurants are sticking to ‘social distancing’ within their confines, the chairs that we sit on in the lounges are limited and spread apart or have ‘X’ stickers on them so that we do not use them….. so all in all, in whatever manner possible the airports are adhering to the ‘new normal’ and although its a new ‘wake’ for us, its also quite reassuring to know that matters are put into place for our safety.
Next up the flight……Boarding the plane was yet another experience, nobody seemed in a hurry or a rush to get in, it was all done calmly and maintaining the social distance rules. On entrance to the flight, once again we are pointed with a temp gun to our forehead- I am assuming this is the last one before we jet off.
The seating is done according to the bookings, a seat is always free if a new booking ‘bubble’ comes in. We were reassured that the plane was cleaned and sanitised between every flight. Meals are not permitted on the flight, if we did want to purchase, cold foods- like sandwiches cakes and drinks are available all with contactless payment. We were advised to stay in our seat at all times, unless its really necessary, and to try not to queue up outside the toilets, but rather go in when there is space. All in all I think everyone adhered very well to the rules…… and…… You have to wear a mask throughout the WHOLE flight, and when I say Mask, they want a mask- not a scarf pulled over the face- which is what I did! (Oooops)
In all honesty this was the hardest part of the whole journey, keeping a mask on for 4 hours straight is not a joke, especially because I have a reflux problem, so I forever felt like I needed to breathe. I did fall asleep whilst on the flight, but I was woken up by the flight attendant to advised me that my mask had dropped, so this is just to advise you that the ‘Mask’ on a flight is taken extremely seriously!
Leaving the Plane was another ‘new normal’. No one seemed in a hurry to get off the plane either. Usually as soon as the ‘belt sign’ goes off- everyone jumps. No jumping off today, people patiently waited for the plane to stop, and were waiting on each other to get up and leave. It really made the travelling experience enjoyable.
So All in All. Yes!! ‘Travelling’ now has a new normal which we all need to adjust to, but it was not as bad as I thought it would be. In fact I enjoyed it better than the ‘Normal’….. checking in was Quick and Easy, people are more considerate, staff are there to ensure our safety….. the only thing that I found hard was the wearing of the mask on the aeroplane the whole way……
Next up: We landed in Istanbul….
Stay tuned for my days in Istanbul
Love and Regards
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