VAEGABOND - Our impressions after the lockdown
Some european borders were opened back up for normal tourism. In the frame of one month we had the oppurtunity to cycle from Germany over Austria, to Italy Slovenia and to Croatia. Meanwhile we had the oppurtunity to watch, how our neighbourhood countries cope with the corona virus.
May/June 2020 Bavaria: The awareness for the virus was felt everywhere. All the people around us wore a mask and gloves. A safety distance was kept as much as it was possible. Many people wanted to go outside and we saw many people walking and cycling on the way. Around the Rosenheimer region we realized, that nobody really cared anymore, if the other guy in the pedestrian zone walked right next to them. We tried avoiding bigger crouds as much as possible and unconsciously held (depending on the amount of people) our breath, when someone crossed our path.
The border to Austria went unspectacularly and we almost didn't even notice, that we're already on outlandish ground. Near Bad Reichenhall we chose a path for both walkers and cyclers, that led us directly into the neighbor country. Only a sign, that was fully grown by green tendrils, told you, that you're now in Austria. There, it felt like the poeple were rather shy. Though, it was now possible to eat with multiple people in a restaurant again – not outside, even inside.
June 2020, Italy: Not even planned, but regarding the many suggestions, that we get in terms of the route, we just had to take the path to Italy. We came to the border, saw some police officers sitting on their cars - and nothing happened. So we just cycled to Italy. When we had barely arrived on the other side, we got greeted by multiple elderly people applauding, that sat in a comfortable round sipping wine. We athmosphere was really good here even despite Italy having been hit especially hard with the numbers of death and illness. For the first time in Italy, getting groceries without a mask, was possible again.
Because of the short distance we only stayed in Slovenia for almost a day and cycled straight to the croatian border. Here, we were asked for our passports and where we were headed for the first time. In Croatia we felt like, nobody was really thinking about protecting themselves from getting infected by the virus anymore. Only the staff in the shops wore masks, for the rest the everyday life seemed to be as always here. No, not quite. What was very suspicious, was the absence of the usually high amount of tourists. In Porec, for example, the coastal mile seemed to be prepared for about 30.000 visitors. According to the locals, there were only around 2.000 tourists when we were there.
Atleast the traffic was by far more calm and less cars raced past us. So besides the virus a very beautiful traveling time for the bike. We are very excited, how it'll go on, where it takes us and how long it'll be until there are no more restrictions and safety precautions necessary in terms of covid.
Until then we'll watch out for us and others and roll further along the coast.