Our 2020 trip interrupted


A number of people have asked what happened to our 2020 trip, so we’ve put together a very brief summary of what has happened over the past 3 months and where we are now.!!!!! We left Brisbane in early March on our way to Europe and to reunite with Pinot. Our son Christopher and his girl Zoe dropped us to a virtually empty International Airport.

Where the hell was everyone ?

Looks like it’ll be a pretty quiet flight.

Flight took off on time and was surprisingly pretty full. An uneventful flight to Bangkok and we arrived at our beautiful hotel (very well chosen by Amanda) just in time for drinks and dinner. A lovely start for our 2020 adventure. Our loose plans were to spend a few days in Bangkok then overland and boat to Siem Reap in Cambodia. Some very loose plans to spend a week or so in Vietnam and then onto Europe and tour Scandinavia as far as the Arctic Circle over the Summer for around 6 months or so. We were hoping to add another 6 new Countries (by motorhome) to our 34 Countries so far in the past 3 years.

Cheers to a great trip. From the rooftop bar at our Hotel.

We were delighted with Amanda’s Hotel choice. We’d splashed out and taken the Executive Club option which included canapés and drinks from 6 until 9 every evening. As it turned out it was free flow, cocktails, wine, champagne and spirits with full sit down dinner. Happy days 🤣🍷🍹🍺🐷

Would you like another darling ……my shout !
We did indulge in the odd beverage in Reception too ! Nice to watch all the comings and goings…..Amanda loves to people watch.
Within a few days Things were starting to get noticeably quiet around the Hotel.

The dreaded virus was slowly gaining momentum, So after long discussions with the Concierge and travel desk in the Hotel, they convinced us not to travel to Cambodia and suggested we should make plans to travel on to our final destination. Bangkok were definately ahead of the curve at that point in checking everyone for signs of Covid through temp checks at every shop entrance and hand sanitizer on every counter. Obviously SARS and Avian flu had taught them well.

We weren’t sure this tunnel provided any protection but we were encouraged to go through them prior to entering shopping centers etc.

So we extended our Hotel stay for a few more days and proceeded to eat and drink more of their beautiful food. Oh and we did get to their gym every day for a workout…..but probably not enough to counteract what we consumed…..yummy grub ! In the interim we booked a flight from Bangkok to London, still with the intention of picking up Pinot in Alicante. We already booked and paid for a connecting flight in anticipation. So next stop UK.

Our flight was full and we prebioked an overnight stay at a Hotel at Heathrow. In the interim things had started to turn pretty dire around the place and Spain had been shutdown making it impossible to get our connecting flight to Alicante.

At that point things were deteriorating quickly and I didn’t have a face mask for the flight.
Will this help ?

We hastily decided to hire a car for a Month and head down to Devon and Cornwall in the hope things would be quiet down there and we could rent a cottage and ride it out until things settled. The pubs, Restaurants and Hotels etc were all still in full swing at that point. We stopped at a lovely B and B pretty late the first evening in Bideford and were asked which Countries we’d visited and after deeming us no risk we checked in.

The owner recommended we head down to Cornwall as in her opinion it would be quiet and we’d be welcomed with open arms.

So we set off ……again …..in search of safe refuge. We stopped in a number of beautiful villages and eventually ended in The picturesque Port of Gaverne where Doc Martin the series is filmed.

Scene from our Bedroom window. You may note it was very wet and pretty cold.
Apparently this is Doc Martins surgery ?

A lovely old Smugglers Hotel but everyone was starting to get a bit panicky and some deaths were being reported. News was starting to trickle through that Hotels etc May be closed and Amanda was starting to get a little worried. Half way around the World and nowhere to go 😳. Next morning we drove to Padstow, made famous by Rick Stein and still everywhere was open and it appeared business as usual with no social distancing in place unlike Spain and Italy etc. At that point we’d been offered a house near Carlisle (thanks Al)by a friend of ours and we grate fully accepted. So about turn and off we headed from one end of England to the other. We booked into a beautiful quintessentially English Hotel in Sawley Lancashire on the way up. A place we knew well as we’d stayed on previous visits. Spread Eagle Hotel if anyone is around that area.

The lovely little river just outside our bedroom window.

A very cold crisp morning.

So after checking in we had a couple of drinks at the bar and retired for an afternoon nap before dinner. When we went down to the Restaurant , The Manager informed us they would be closing the Hotel at midnight under direction from Boris earlier that evening, the UK PM and not reopening until further notice……oh shit, things were really getting a bit dire. So just to fill you in, we had just sold our house in Fig Tree Pocket and put our furniture and cars in storage. Our motorhome was in storage in Spain and we couldn’t get to it for God knows how long. Our new home was being built in Brisbane and wouldn’t be ready before November…..and we were half way round the World at the start of a Pandemic. Our 2020 adventure was very quickly unravelling.

For Sale
Sold
See ya !

Oh and we only had a small suitcase each with Summer clothes……and it was cold. Our Winter gear was safely tucked up in either storage in Australia or in Pinot in Spain. So a quick detour to a charity shop and Amanda had a lovely warm winter coat and a new pair of Winter boots she bought in Padstowe…….so all was good 🤣

A quick stop in The Lakes before lockdown….nice Boots eh 😜ps Amanda left the coat in your wardrobe in Carlisle Kerri 🤣

The TV news was now all 24 hour Covid in UK and tragically the deaths were escalating at a frightening pace. Supermarkets were selling out of rice, flour, pasta, dry goods and ……toilet paper. So we stopped enroute at a couple of supermarkets to get what we could

Note the toilet rolls….monkey see monkey do

We arrived a wee bit overwhelmed and unloaded the car ready for our isolation. We watched the news that night in disbelief as we struggled to get our act together and decide what to do. The obvious initial thought was to hunker down and ride it out in the comfort and relative safety of Alistairs place near Carlisle.

Guinness and sunshine….happy days !

We were allowed to go for a walk or bike ride as long as it was from your home and you had to follow strict social distancing. Boris o’clock….5.00pm each evening, the PM and his advisors would hold a press conference telling the UK public what was going on and what you could and couldn’t do. Each evening the news became more and more disturbing and at one point their was 700 then 800 poorbuggers dying from Covid every 24 hours. It was all so surreal. Only one person from a household could go shopping.

So we did our best and borrowed Al and Kerrie’s bikes alternating between walks and rides through the gorgeous Eden Valley

And barely a soul anywhere.
Lovely area for cycling.
Nice coat Amanda 🤣 and cheap !
And sharing a doorstep drink and natter with our gorgeous next door neighbours.

So after 4 weeks proper lockdown and no change to the situation Amanda made the decision that we’d be better off in Australia near family and at that point they were fairing much better than most other Countries. We hastily found a flight and 3 days later we were driving South again to Heathrow Airport. We checked in to a Hotel and hid in our room overnight, ready for the early morning flight home via Doha. I could write another complete post about that trip but suffice to say the flight was packed and we had 65 people on board who had just disembarked a ship the previous morning and were heading home to Oz. It was nothing short of madness.

We were fortunate to have a spare seat between us.
Absolute chaos in Doha Airport and my blood pressure was sky high.

24 hours later we were welcomed at Brisbane Airport by Police, Army, Social workers and just all round helpful, welcoming Aussies.

After filling in some official paperwork we were herded into buses and escorted to Rydges Hotel in Brisbane.

Thankfully we were allocated a room with sliding door to a small balcony……woohoo fresh air.

Our room for the next 14 nights
With a great view of Brissie from our window.

We were given 3 meals per day. The staff would place a paper bag by your door and knock. You had to then wait 2 minutes before opening the door to retrieve your lucky bag. All in all the food was fine and the end result of 14 days with little exercise and dessert every night resulted in 2 fat feckers waddling out into daylight and relative freedom 🤣

We are very fortunate to have lovely friends who dropped little care packages with some much appreciated wine.

Things did get a little strange by day 10 though 😳
We struggled to eat the 4 pieces of fruit we got each day. Boredom did lead to some strange antics.
Agh bonus …..some more extra calories 🐷
So guess where we are now !

After 14 very long nights we decided we’d rent an apartment up in Noosa until our new house was ready or they opened the borders and allowed us to consider so many other options

A glorious sunset taken from our balcony on Noosa Sound……and this has not been filtered. Just spectacular.
Home for now

And so that’s a very short story of how we didn’t do our 2020 trip……but oh boy, it was still some adventure 😘

Categories: Uncategorized

12 comments

  1. Bloody hell Al – that is some story !!! What an interesting start to 2020 – glad to hear you’re back here for the time – seems we have made the best of the situation compared to other countries – sold your house ? Building another ? Bloody hell – when do you get time to breathe – where are you building ? Lisa and I are are moving to the Sunshine Coast – our start to quietening down a bit – our oldest daughter is up there and due in December so we are keen to offer support – it really is a beautiful place ( Mooloolaba, Cotton Tree, Maroochydore ) – can’t wait to be there actually. Good to hear from you – Stephen and Lisa Strelitz

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  2. Great story…..you won’t forget this one!

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  3. If I’d known you could have had our empty holiday rental house in Combe Martin, Devon … but pleased you were sorted. We spent 12 weeks on a campsite in Turkey … had much better weather than you … gloat! Still here, but think the Greek border may open on 15.06. Where were you during Covid 19 is going to be one of those dinner party conversations!

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    • Well there you go. We were in Combe Martin and had a coffee there. It’s a beautiful spot.
      We spent a month in Turkey pre Pinot 5 or 6 years ago and loved it. Good luck with Greece and take care

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      • Given up waiting for Greek border to open … now in Serbia! Being tourists finally.

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      • Great to see you are at least moving and hopefully edging closer to home. Apparently UK gov has changed rules on MOT extension and ours is due in August. Pinot is in Spain and we can’t leave Aus do we are pretty screwed on that one…..plan B ? Don’t have one 😳
        Keep safe and keep moving you two….eh four 😜

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  4. Alan and Amanda, you guys certainly can’t be blamed for having a boring life…more like a roller coaster of a life. Great to know that you are well. Our travel plans are also on hold, we should have been touring Italy with our motorhome now, but here we are in good ol Blighty. Keep well guys:)

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  5. Always LOVE reading your posts. So entertaining! Can’t wait to get back to Europe next year. I was just looking at booking a trip to Noosa yesterday! Too cold in Melbourne in winter! Maybe we’ll see you there! That is if and when the QLD borders open up! 🙂

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