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My Covid-19 Diary - March 2020 to date

The Coronavirus pandemic has hit the world hard, with over 120 million global victims. I am British, married to a German and we live in Andalucía in the Serranía de Ronda. This blog contains articles I've written over the last 14 months which are about a weird life of curfews, lockdowns, masks, hand gel, rules and regulations and, for those of us who have been affected directly, the vicious after-effects of the virus, long-Covid, bereavement and financial ruin.

First Flight Post-Covid
Sunday, November 14, 2021 @ 10:51 AM

Since February 2020 Pablo de Ronda had not stepped onto an aeroplane. He wasn’t convinced it was safe to do so, despite the public protestations by airline chiefs like Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary. However, at the end of October 2021, he has just taken his first flight in 20 months. Here are his observations…

First of all, it was not certain that I’d be able to fly. Five days prior to takeoff I had no passport!

Mine had expired and my new one had not arrived. What to do?

I went online and applied for an Emergency Travel Document (ETD). They only need 48 hours’ notice. It’s for one return journey only and costs a mouthwatering £100.

I collected my very pretty sky blue ETD from the British Consulate in Malaga the day before I was due to travel. Phew!

Departure Day

Malaga Airport was way too crowded for my liking. True, everyone was wearing a mask, as we are required to do, but very few seemed to notice the red circular markings on the floor instructing us to keep 1.5 metres apart.

Security was quite orderly as we passed our belongings through the x-ray machines, but once we got to the gate, yet again nobody seemed to think social distancing was important.

At the gate I offered my TIE as ID which the ground hostess said was fine, but could she please see my passport also. I presented my sky blue emergency travel document and asked her what the current regulations were. She said TIE’s were perfectly fine but she always asked to see the passport anyway. Hmm!

Once we boarded the plane, it was just like the old days pre-pandemic; a veritable scrum!

I was somewhat taken aback that the Boeing 737 was virtually fully booked with 180 of 189 available seats taken.

I’d assumed that middle seats would be left free to keep strangers apart.

What with having to breathe recycled air as well, it’s a wonder anyone survives a journey by air without catching the Coronavirus!

Maybe we were all double-jabbed? Although I doubt it. There are no checks when you book online and nobody ground or airside asked to see our vaccination certificates.

During the flight there were a few Covid-19 protocols in place, eg seat belt signs remained on throughout and you could only purchase things by card, but there were no gels or disinfectant wipes available.

When we landed in Germany there was the same chaos as always as we disembarked the plane and walked to the terminal building to pass through border control and to collect our luggage.

As we entered the baggage reclaim area, the border police were randomly checking ID cards and passports. I was selected to identify myself. I asked the nice policewoman if my TIE would do and she said Ja. I couldn’t lay my hand on it quickly so I proffered my sky-blue (yes, skyblue!) ETD (Emergency Travel Document).

She wasn’t impressed! She took me into a side room. Uh, oh! I thought.

But I needn’t have worried. She’d never seen a sky blue British ETD before and wanted to check things out. She looked in her computer, asked me few questions about why I needed such a travel document and quizzed me on my travel plans (the ETD is only valid for one return journey) and that was that! I was good to go.

“Don’t you want to check our vaccination certificates before you let us enter Germany?”

“Nein!” was her reply.


After that we collected our luggage, caught a bus, a train, another train and an S-bahn to our destination. The public transport was crowded but everyone was masked-up, though 1.5 metre gaps to strangers were impossible to maintain.

To observe the way the Germans are currently dealing with Covid-19 was interesting.

Very few wear a mask on the street but they do so in shops, bars, cafes and restaurants and on public transport.

You have to show a vaccination certificate, or proof of having had Covid-19 or an up-to-date negative test to do certain things, such as check into an hotel or enter a restaurant. We even had to show our vac certs at a motorway services!

Returning to Spain

The day before departure we completed our locator forms on our mobiles in order to re-enter Spain.

At Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden airport baggage drop they wouldn’t accept my TIE and insisted on seeing my passport. The nice Frau got to see my sky-blue emergency document and we were good to go. She didn’t want to see our vaccination certificates.

The flight back, Ryanair again, was as chaotic as it had been on the outward journey 10 days before.

At Málaga there was a hold-up as they checked our locator forms, but no ID check and no vac cert required.

So, I survived my first flight post-Covid-19. I think …..

We got our flu jabs and pneumonia jabs this week. Our third anti-Covid injection will be within the next two weeks.

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