A short service announcement: As the Paliparan editorial team is set to depart on a much-needed holiday, there will only be limited website updates in the next 12 days.
With international flights having resumed and borders having reopened, I will be off grid for 12 days somewhere on a few remote Greek islands. This means that in the course of the next two weeks, only a minimum amount of articles will be uploaded.
Time permitting, I will try to upload a few more chapters of the ongoing trip reports of Panama and the Balkans in the next weeks. However, the posts featuring airline deals and news stories will be temporarily cut back – unless a deal is really too good not to post or news too important not to share.
Probably everyone feels the same at this point after months of lockdown and self-isolation: I’m badly in need of a proper holiday. This means that I will use my laptop as little as possible and spend most of the time catching up on some books and enjoying the culture, food, sun and sea.
Of course, a trip report featuring this Greek holiday will follow as well – although that will only happen in a few weeks when I will be back home.
As a quick note, I cannot state how weird it feels again to sit in an empty airport terminal. My Aegean flight to Athens is the only one departing this time of the day.
Although there were some other passengers at the check-in desk, there were absolutely no queues at security or passport control and the terminal is completely empty – a situation not dissimilar from my domestic flight during the corona crisis a month ago.
Some of the normal travel life is however slowly getting back to normal. For example, the TAROM Business Lounge here at Bucharest Airport has reopened. Even though a face mask is compulsory throughout the airport, it is not needed in the lounge as food and drinks are served here.
Instead of the normal lounge buffet, there is now a waiter service with a lounge attendant bringing you the food item or drink you want in order to minimise contact and to prevent dozens of passengers all touching the same objects.
The lounge attendants so far could not have been more friendly and really seemed cheerful – probably being as happy that they have reopened as I am.
Although some parts of international travel are certainly still not close to normal, this is an encouraging sign. I’m however highly curious how it will be on arrival in Greece – especially whether or not I will be selected for an on-the-spot COVID-19 test (Greece does sample testing) and how the Greek corona summer will feel like.
Normally I tend to avoid summers in Greece (too hot, too touristy!) and visit the country in spring or autumn. What I’ve heard so far from friends is that cities, towns and beaches are all still devoid of tourists. Let’s see how it compares to holidaying in normal times!
Stay tuned, as during or after the holiday I will definitely share my experiences and thoughts about this all. For now, take care and stay safe – and enjoy the summer months!