My previous Confessions were rather gloomy. I wrote it with the prospect of not being able to travel and ‘celebrate’ a staycation instead. Luckily that didn’t happen. I was able to travel and I took great advantage of that privilege. I went to Copenhagen as planned. I went to a wedding as planned. I went to Versailles (and Paris), as a last-minute decision.
Other than the hoops the Man and I had to jump through when travelling to Denmark (one test home, one test in Copenhagen, as we were still a week away from being fully vaccinated), it was a close to normal experience to cross European borders. Luckily, I’m of the generation that still remembers border controls, so I wasn’t taken by surprise by the border control on our way to Denmark. I can imagine that for younger people, who were born within EU after the borders opened up, it might feel very weird to encounter custom officers on the high way.
In Denmark, most regulations were already loosened. Danish distance keeping was at a different level than I was used back home so the first few days I felt very uncomfortable with people entering my personal space. Masks were not necessary, so I sometimes felt a bit bare when walking in shops ‘unprotected’. However, as I biked and walked around town more, I started to relax. Knowing that I was (at last) fully vaccinated as well, it felt good to experience a city where covid-19 wasn’t in the foreground any more. Of course there were places where my covid-pass was scanned, but as the weather was mostly nice we just sat somewhere outside and didn’t even need a pass.
How different that was when visiting Paris. Parisian waiters made sure to ask for and scan your covid-pass as soon as you asked to be seated, either outside or inside. Even for entering Galleries Lafayette, you needed a pass. While the Danish government announced to let go of all regulations, France made the covid-pass compulsory and extends its restrictions. What I found most notable was that Copenhagen seemed busy, and Paris seemed empty. Shopping streets in Copenhagen were full of life and at some places I sometimes felt uneasy with the amount of people standing close to me, like I would have felt pre-covid. In Paris, walking about and using the metro felt very relaxed. Something I had not experienced before in Paris. The Man and I had no issue finding seats to have lunch. There was always a table available, even at the more popular (filled with locals) restaurants. The metro platforms were never crowded, instead they were mostly empty. I got a glimpse of what Paris would be without mass tourism. I liked it. I do realize that it’s an economic nightmare for a city like Paris. Still, I would visit Paris more often if it stays like this. That might compensate a little bit 😉
I’m really happy I spent Summer holidays partly abroad. It was good to experience a few weeks of carefree life. I needed that after spending every minute of the day as efficiently as possible during the first half of 2021.
With Daughter back in school, regulated life commences. And that feels good too.