After our (everyone's) weird year, it feels pretty amazing to say that we managed to move to Spain before 2020 ended. Here's a bit more about how our pandemic journey started and what happened from there. When I last wrote, I was excited but filled with anxiety about the trip to Spain. Certainly, traveling in a pandemic, let alone moving countries, is nerve-racking. We had essentially been relegated to the house with brief trips outdoors for the previous eight or so months.
So, it was truly surreal to be heading to the airport. Our entire lives (what was left after leaving most things behind in China) were packed into the max # of suitcases we were allowed and we were off to the next adventure!
The Actual Moving Process
Fortunately, the trip itself went quite smoothly. We had chosen TAP, the Portuguese airline, from Dulles to Lisbon and directly on to Valencia. It is tough to know what's the smart decision in these crazy times and we'd heard plenty of complaints about TAP. But, we decided to take the risk, given the much preferable route and the fact that we could afford Business Class which we felt would expose us to fewer people. It also came with extra baggage, since we were moving all our belongings with us. Of course, since we left behind a good chunk of our belongings, this was quite doable. But, many airlines charged crazy fees if we wanted to just add one piece of luggage, so in the end, we could travel TAP's Business Class for a similar price and be much more comfortable.
TAP's staff at Dulles were friendly and helpful. We worried about strict baggage sizes and weights, and the logistics of travel during this time with the ever-changing rules. But, no need to worry. The airport was ghostly silent and we made our way to the Business lounge at Dulles and briefly took off our masks for a soda and snack. When you haven't been around other people in months, it is disarming to suddenly be in a travel situation, but this first leg sort of eased us into the experience. The flight itself was wonderful. Though we were feeling paranoid and getting used to flying with our N95 masks on, it actually felt somewhat exciting to be back into the world of travel, if by necessity.
We had a stop in Lisbon, which was really weird as the airport there was pretty packed. 100% mask usage, but not easy to stay distant. But, once we made it through immigration and security, we found a quiet spot to wait for our next flight. The small plane to Valencia was far from the luxurious feel of the overseas flight, but it was relatively quick.
Arriving in Valencia
|Evening view from our terrace
|Our outdoor dining space, all dressed up for Halloween
It's Been A Dream
Valencia is as gorgeous as we remember it. The first evening, we sat outside at one of our favorite spots eating the most delicious clóchinas (local mejillones/mussels) feeling like we were in a dream.
|A remake of a similar photo taken almost 10 years ago near Denia, when we first arrived in Spain
|"We don't have the vaccine but we have homemade vermouth"