Okay to write about Corona?
I’ve felt this blog post coming for a few days but been unsure if it was okay to write about the Corona Virus. After all, people are dying, losing their jobs and many live in fear. Is it okay to write about something, that is not all joy? I’ve decided it is, since it is a part of our life, as travelers, too. We are in the middle of it. Affected by the virus every day.
Heading to Spain.
We spent half of January and most of February in Denmark and it was cold I tell you! Rainy, windy, and cold! Mr. Hymer the camper was in Germany for inspection, and we thought we might as well use the opportunity and visit the cold north. As always, it was great to spend time with our friends and family, but after 5 weeks, we couldn’t wait to get back to the south. So in the end of January, we picked up Mr. Hymer and drove towards Spain. We actually had a lot of plans there and were excited about experiencing a lot of new stuff. We were supposed to help with the restoration of an old Spanish house, in an area that we hadn’t visited before and everything seemed bright.
Salt, the bottle lamb.
For those of you who follow us on Instagram, it is no surprise, that we adopted a bottle lamb in November. We stayed a few months at a stud in Spain (we will write about that in another post) and to make a long story short, we raised the most adorable lamb, because her mother died while giving birth. It was absolutely crazy, but during those 5 weeks in Denmark, we missed her so much. That was why we were also eager to get back to the stud. To see our “baby”. She had grown so much, but still came to us to cuddle. All in all, being back in Spain was just what we needed.
First Corona case on Italy.
While being in Denmark, we had of course heard about the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China. So far away, but still awful. A few days before we started our 3000-kilometer drive to Spain, we also heard about the first case in Italy, but we never imagined, that the virus would spread so rapidly! It took us 5 days to get to Spain and every day we heard on the news, how more and more countries were affected. In the beginning, we were like: “It’s just a flu, it’s no big deal”. But as time passed, we began to wonder if it was actually more than that? We could see the countries we drove through take precautions, and it seemed as if the virus spread by the hour.
Calm but cautious.
We arrived safely at the campsite, which is owned by our friend Pepe. It was great to see him and his family again. The next day we went to see Salt and let her out on the field with her own kind. It was a moment with both happiness and sadness. We were going to miss her for sure (we are!), but it was also where she belonged. After that, we spent some hours with our friends at the stud and went back to the campsite.
In the next few days, we were cautious when going shopping, due to the threat that was moving closer in the shape of this strange virus. At no time have we been nervous. We are young and in good health and can withstand getting sick. But we could see others at the campsite moving on little by little. Heading to their home countries. Shortening their holidays and changing their plans. Danish politicians had also begun to advise Danes to head home. Had it really become that bad? Were we supposed to drive back to Denmark too?
First actions in Spain.
Some of the first actions taken in Spain was to close the beaches and public parks on the south coast. At that time Madrid was the place in Spain, with most infected (and still is). People were advised to stay home from work and the people of Madrid saw it as a welcome opportunity, to take a vacation in their holiday homes around Malaga and Alicante. The people there were horrified! No question, that the virus would spread that way, and authorities hurried up shutting down beaches and parks. At that moment, we began to learn about human nature.
Many foreigners live on the south coast of Spain. Either retired, early retired, or working. Understandable, since it is a fantastic area. It’s cheaper than most European countries (most live of their pension from their home country), the weather is great (for arthritis, psoriasis and other infirmities) and Spain is, in general, a calm and peaceful country to live in. Now people began to complain about the beaches being closed down. Many even defied the ban and were horrified, that they were fined by the police. Personally we think, that those first weeks of people not understanding how serious Coronavirus is, was what caused the virus to spread so badly in Spain.
We have no home.
After a few days at the campsite, we were the only ones left, along with a French couple. One day Pepe came to us to talk. Many campsites in Spain had closed down, to avoid the virus and further bans were issued by the government. Most Spaniards were not allowed to go to work, schools were closed, hairdressers, clothing stores, and other unnecessary shops were closed and so were the borders. Pepe had decided to keep the campsite open on one condition.
If new people came in, they had to stay for 14 days, without leaving at all. He would do the shopping for us twice a week and besides that, no one could go outside the fence. He had thought long and hard about it, and to him, it made the most sense, that tourists shouldn’t drive around with no place to go. It was a good sense. But what should we do? What were our options?
- Option 1: We could drive back to Denmark. Or at least to Germany and leave the camper there, with all our belongings. The camper has German license plates and it would cost us a fortune in taxes to cross the border. Besides that, we don’t have a home in Denmark. Our apartment is sublet and all we could do was couch surfing and riding public transportation in between. That would be everything we were advised not to do. Before we would even be in Denmark, we would have to go through several countries and two airports with the risk of being infected. It was a bad plan.
- Option 2: We could stay in isolation at the campsite. Without the opportunity to be with our loved ones, if they should get sick. Spain could get fully infected and our campsite in the countryside would stop being a safezone. It was actually also a bad plan.
A huge discision.
We talked about it. A lot. And thought about it. And talked again. So many things to consider. Our soft-spot was our family. What if they got sick? What if they needed us? Could we live with that? Could we take the risk of being infected on the way to Denmark, and potentially infect our loved ones? And others? Would we still be safe here at the campsite if we decided to stay? We could either drive off now or be quarantined. We had to choose between 2 bad options.
We chose to stay. Talked to our family about our considerations, and were met with understanding. We have an amazing family (We love you guys!). Bottom line was, that we felt safer at the campsite, far out in the countryside, locked up but with all we needed. Living day to day in Copenhagen wouldn’t provide us with that safety.
It feels unreal.
Many people are a lot worse off than we are. Either sick or stuck in places around the world, alone with nowhere to go and small funds. I read about a girl this morning, quarantined in a room at a hostel and only a small grocery store and a take-away restaurant nearby. All she had to prepare meals in was an electric kettle. At least we have our camper kitchen, free water, electricity, bath and a shopping deal with Pepe. We are lucky. But it still feels unreal.
We are locked up behind a fence. The area is rather big, and there is also a lake, but we are still behind a fence. Sometimes it feels as if we are in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. The danger lurks right outside the fence. It actually doesn’t. There are only a few infected in this area of Spain. In the nearby village, there are 5-6 with mild symptoms, and they are all in quarantine. Spaniards really take this seriously! We get our real-life updates from Pepe twice a week and the neighbor, when we buy eggs and vegetables. Besides that, we are pretty much on our own. Pepe’s parents and wife also lives on the grounds in a house, but Pepe himself has decided to stay at the stud where we were at, to help out. He stays there full time, to avoid infecting us. After all, he is exposed while working and going to the supermarket.
A few days after the campsite locked down, a Danish and a Swedish couple arrived with their camper. They stayed about a week, but the grip tightened around Europe, more borders were fully closed and the virus got worse in Spain, so they decided to leave again. Go home. Again we thought about doing the same, but again we decided to stay. A few days ago the French couple left too. Now we are 100% alone and only have each other plus the occasionally hello to Pepe’s parents. We are on day 19 of isolation and have a lot of time to think and talk.
Current bans in Spain.
- No one is allowed outside unless they have an essential reason. That is to purchase food or medicine, to visit sick or vulnerable people that you are responsible for, to go to the hospital, to go to the gas station, to walk the dog, or to go to work…
- Only essential work is allowed. Such as healthcare, veterinarians, opticians, food stores and production, pet food stores and production, sale and production of medicine, work in media, fuel and energy production and sale, tobacconists, IT, and telecom services. A few days ago a new ban was issued, and construction workers and craftsmen are no longer allowed to work either.
- You are only allowed to drive one person in a car, and only if you have an essential reason.
- You are only allowed to go to the supermarket etc. alone.
- Beaches, parks, and other public areas are forbidden to enter.
- Gatherings of any kind are forbidden.
- Only three people are allowed at funerals.
- When you walk your dog, you are only allowed to walk it at a diameter of 50 meters from your home.
- Your home address is considered your home base. When you go anywhere, you are only allowed to go to the nearest supermarket, pharmacy, etc. measured from your home.
- If you are infected, you must isolate.
- Fines or jail time will be issued if the bans have not complied.
A human study.
Or a study in humanity? Being in Spain during the Corona outbreak has been amazing. Not in a way, where the virus itself is amazing, but watching the Spaniards act and care for each other. Of course, we can only talk abut the countryside, but it has been amazing here. As I told earlier, Pepe is shopping for us twice a week. Besides that, he is helping out at the stud, a massive amount of hours every day. The neighbor has a big vegetable garden and some chickens. Even though he could hold on to the crops, for him and his family, he gladly shares them with us and Pepe’s parents. We feel so humble.
Denmark is in a much lighter lock-down than Spain, and yet I hear a lot of complaining. In Spain nobody is allowed out on the streets, unless they have some important business.. In Denmark, it is allowed to gather 10 people at a time, and even though people are advised not to, it is okay to take walks, go to stores etc. more than one person at a time. Still I hear people talking about their freedom being taken away, and them wanting to go back to normal.
We also hear from our families, that not everybody is obeying the bans in Denmark. If that happened in Spain, a fine would be given on the spot! It’s like people in more well-off countries act more spoiled. Making up their own rules and telling themselves that they do no harm. Easter is coming up and even though the government advises Danes not to, a lot of people will be going to their vacation homes to spend the holiday. I’ve heard several people say, that they are not sick and can’t see the problem in going. Not seeing the danger in being a healthy carrier of the virus and infecting elderly or vulnerable on their way. In Spain, people just stay home and try to get the best out of it. Protecting the weak is more important than anything else.
And why is that?
We have no answer to that question, only thoughts, and speculations. It could be, that Spaniards are used to helping each other. They don’t have the same economical safety net as in Denmark. Whenever someone gets sick or unemployed, the government normally only offers a little or no compensation. During the Corona outbreak, they have made special aid for their citizens though. Such things as postponing of mortgages and taxes. A bill that obviously has to be paid later. Opposite Denmark, where the taxes are high, but the safety net catches almost everyone if needed. With no refund. It could also be, that the Spaniards (and other similar countries) are used to work together in times of need. Earthquakes, droughts, wildfires, and floods. Things that especially Danes are spared. The wildest disaster I remember from Denmark is 15 years back when a fireworks factory blew up and the nearby houses as well. Besides that, there are only a few minor storms every year.
The last possibility is, that it is normal for people in Spain, Greece, Italy, etc. to spend a lot of time together. Be there for each other in times of joy and sadness. Take the time to be together in a way that is not custom in Denmark. That way, it is also natural to care for and protect each other in times like this, with a virus raging. Many Danes usually care most about themselves and their inner circle. It’s sad but true.
We are fine.
So how are we in the middle of this chaos? We are fine. We worry about our families. A lot! But we stay in contact with them as much as we can, without it being too overwhelming. Besides that we are good. We have everything we need and are in safety. We are better off than many others. Luckily we are each other’s best friends and used to being together 24/7. Killing time is not that hard either. There’s a lot to be done at the campsite. We are painting, repairing stuff, planting flowers and much more. We are beautifying the area, so it is ready to whenever people are allowed here again. We even have a very pregnant cat, to keep us company. Kittens too soon supposedly.
We also have a lot of work to be done on our social media platforms. Things that we found it hard to find time for, a few months back. Now we have all the time we need. Even to educate ourselves through educational videos on youtube and blog posts written by experts. We’ve even set up a webshop, ready to launch when we are able to get to the post office again. A webshop full of unique jewelry and my new eBook. We are also updating and translating all of our old blog posts from Danish to English. A lot of work, but we can see it pays off.
On that note, I have to give a shoutout to two of the most inspiring specialists out there in my opinion. First, there is the Instagram guru Vanessa Lau. She makes amazing videos on how to get more (serious) followers on Instagram. I have seen a bunch of her videos, have implemented a lot of her advice and it is actually working. I still have a long way to go, but learning through her is a lot of fun.
The second guru is Ferdy Korpershoek. He makes tutorials on WordPress, Divi, Elementor, and WooCommerse (plus so much more). So great and easy to follow videos. I set up an entire webshop in a day, following his instructions.
So if you are interested in social media, do check them out.
What happens next?
The future is uncertain. As you may know, Spain is right now the third most infected country in Europe and nobody knows how the disease will evolve. When that is said, it sounds as if Covid-19 is raging like a tsunami over Spain. In some sense it is, but only en certain parts and cities. For now, that is. Everybody hopes it stays that way and gets better quickly. That all the bans work, and the death toll will drop. A death toll that really needs to drop very soon. We saw a devastating video the other day, of a doctor with tears in his eyes. He explained how the hospitals in Madrid, had to choose who lived and who died. That all persons older than 65 years of age, was taken off the respirators, so the younger patients could have them. Instead, they sat with the elderly persons, comforting them and giving them morphine to ease their pain, until they passed away. It was a horrible video. So hard to watch.
We still chose to stay though. The area we are in is not affected by the virus, and hopefully, it stays that way. We follow the news closely every day and act after that. If we were to go to Denmark, because one of our loved ones should go to the hospital, we are not allowed to go and see them. Not even if we go into 14 days of quarantine first. The thought is devastating, and we hope it will not be the case, and what good would it do for, us to go to Denmark now then? Of course, we will leave Spain, if the situation gets much worse. If we no longer feel safe. A friend of mine sent me a link yesterday, telling me that the government had chosen to override the tax-on-foreign-cars claim, as long as Covid-19 is in play. That gives us the opportunity to actually drive into Denmark and use the camper as our home there. If we need it. We hope it will not be necessary.
We will continue to monitor the situation, enjoy the sun, update our SoMe platforms and the campsite and hope for this apocalypse to be over soon. How bizar it may sound, this is a part of our journey too. A part we didn’t expect, but still a part of it.
– Text and photos: Eva // Adding, photos and photo editing: Malthe
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