A Travellerspoint blog

December 2020

Stuck in the UK

So, about a week ago we traveled from Inverness to Bath, England. We had spent our 3 weeks in Inverness planning the next half of our trip. We planned to spend about 10 days in Bath over the Christmas holiday and then head to Portugal on the 29th of December. New years and my birthday would be spent in Lisbon. Well, I don't see that happening now.

I am going to give you the whole story.

Our trip to Bath started a little rocky. We had booked a place through hotels.com and about a week before we were leaving, we got an email saying our booking was cancelled. After several hours on the phone we found out that the people that own the place we booked were just not renting the place anymore. I guess it was a covid thing. However, we still needed a place to stay. After a day and half on the phone and yelling at 6 different people from hotels.com we got another place. It was twice as expensive but we got hotels.com to pick up the additional cost. Problem solved!!!!

We have been here about a week and we like Bath. Cool little town and great for Christmas. We have done some day trips to Stonehenge and Glastonbury. Saw some great history. It has been a nice stay. However, some COVID issues started to come up. First off, London and southeastern England were raised to a tier 4. Which is Lockdown. London is about an hour and half train ride from Bath. It is not that close but also not that far away. Bath is currently in the much lower tier 2. Restaurants and shops are still open with restrictions in place. So, we are still in a pretty safe area.

Then, a few days ago, some news started to come out that there is a new strain of the virus that is 70% more contagious and that is what has caused the lockdown in London. After that news started to come out, EU countries started to close their borders to any travel from the UK. Flights, ferries and trains were all blocked. The country we were traveling to had not yet closed but it looked like they might.

In an effort to get out of England before things got really bad and before Portugal closed their borders, we changed our flight to the 23rd. We moved our flight up a week which cost us about 4 times the original cost. It was really hard for us to do but it seemed like the best choice. At this point I need to give credit to my wife for helping me to see that it was the best choice. Even if our process is a bit bumpy, we balance each other really well.

Now I wish I could say that was it, but at this point 40 countries have now closed their borders to the UK, including Portugal. Our fight was just canceled. We are currently without a plan to leave the UK and not even sure when we would be allowed to leave.

All that sounds bad. However I am going to focus on the positive stuff. (this is not my strong suit, so be patient with me).

  1. 1- Bath is only tier 2. We are currently not in lock down and most things are open.
  2. 2- We have a place to stay. The owner of the apartment we are staying in has been wonderful. He has told us we can stay as long as we need and that he won’t overcharge us. Really nice guy. I met and talk with him today.
  3. 3- Because our flight was canceled, we should get all of our money back. Even the money we spent to move up our flight.
  4. 4- We like Bath. If we have to hunker down here, it is a nice place to be.
  5. 5- Then thought countries are closing their borders, most are only doing it for 48 hours to a week. So things might open back up soon.

All that being said, we currently have no plan. We have no flight and don’t know how long we will be here. We are exploring all options, including coming back to the US. Right now we have to wait and see what happens and what flights out of the UK look like. I was just looking at some flights right after the new year.

I think we are here until after the new year and we will just have to hope that all of England doesn’t go tier 4 in the next few weeks. I am really not sure what is going to happen from here but I want everyone to know that we are safe and we are being very careful. We love you all and we might see you sooner than planned.

(Again, forgive all the mistakes in this entry. It's midnight here and the words are running together.)

JT

Posted by tatehomberg 00:13 Archived in England Comments (0)

Dec 7th update (JT)

Hello all,
I wanted to give everyone an update. It has been a bit since I wrote. When I stated this blog I thought I would write a little bit like every other day. Kind of like a journal that I could look back on 10 years from now, but that just has not happened.

So where to start? First, sorry there has been no recent "Savvy Travels" videos. We were filming one in the Orkney islands at some neolithic sites and we ran into some bad weather. I mean really bad. Rain and about 30 MPH winds. We were also stuck out there in it for about 45 mins with no shelter of any kind. We literal hide behind one of the neolithic standing stones to block the wind and waited for the bus to show up. Anyway, we hope to film sometime new soon.

So we had a great time in the Orkney Island and saw some amazing things, a lot of which dated back to before the Pyramids. We were also hoping to see the Northern Lights but no luck. It was just too cloudy the whole time. Getting to and from the Orkney's was not a lot of fun. One really winding 3 hour bus ride there and back we took a pretty rough 7 hour ferry ride through the North Atlantic. There was some motion sickness from the trips to and from but we survived. We hope most of our travels are by train from here on out.

We picked our place to stay and lay low for a bit and that place is Inverness. We are 2 week into a 3 week stay here at Inverness and then we move on. It has been nice to settle into one place for a bit and Inverness is a cute town and of course the COVID issues here are pretty under control.

As you might have heard that the UK became the 1st country to approve a COVID vaccine and they started giving it out today. Some people have asked us if we will be able to get the vaccine and the short answer is no. We would be too far down the priorities list and we are not planning on being in the UK much longer.

Where to next? Well I am glad you asked. We will be heading to Bath, England for about 2 weeks. Bath is about 2 hours from London and is in the area of Stonehenge and Oxford. After that, on Dec. 29th we fly to Lisbon, Portugal. After Lisbon it is still unclear but the plan is to explore Portugal, Spain, and a bit of Morocco. When go north to Paris for a bit. Then we plan to fly out of Paris back to the US.

So that is your update. I could write so much more but I am trying to keep these somewhat short and it 11:15 pm here and I should go to bed.

Good night all and please forgive all the typos and mistakes that I didn't catch

Miss you all,
JT

Posted by tatehomberg 22:25 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

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