December 20, 2022 | Posted by misfitwanders | Adventure, Memories, Story, Travel, Uncategorized
The beginnings of the virus had started in March 2020, when we had our one day in Catania. We weren’t sure how big of an issue it would be to travel there. Boy, were we wrong thinking it would be easy peasy! Our thoughts of staying in Italy would soon turn into one day in Catania. When we tried to get a refund before flying, we were told that everything was normal and okay to fly. So, we couldn’t get our tickets refunded for our flight to Catania, Italy. With that info. my mom and I decided to go to Italy instead of losing out on the money. Anyway, we get there, and I was so excited to check out the city and the nature! But the street where our hotel was seemed bare. It felt a little eerie. I got ahold of the guy that had the Akemi hotel and he was super nice and helpful.
Once we walked into the gate and up the stairs, it felt like the room was cut out from an ice cream shop. It had vibrant colors of light blue, cookies, and many pastries on a table next to a picturesque circular table and chairs. We were told that we can help ourselves to whatever we want! The sweets, coffee, and other food items were up for grabs.
Then, it was time for my mom and I to see our room. It was labeled Queen on the outside. As we went in, we saw vaulted ceilings and two towels folded into swans kissing on the bed. It was really cute and would be perfect for a couple. I giggled about it, as it seemed weird for me and my mom.
I messaged the TBEX survivor group to see if anyone wanted to meet up for dinner. Plans were made and several of us met up at Be Quiet Restaurant. My mom and I hadn’t had much time to explore since we just got into Sicily a couple of hours earlier. But we had a chance to walk around before food and excitement washed over me as I saw the old buildings tower high above. Tomorrow would be a good day, I thought.
We arrived at the restaurant and found that our group was inside at a long table. People that had never met before were mingling and once we walked in, it was introduction time! Everyone was friendly and some had already been in Sicily for days. My mom and I were a bit exhausted from our 2 flights. No direct flight for us, even though we flew from Sweden.
Since I’m a vegetarian, I asked for food without meat and I shortly found out that food would be brought to us. It turned out to be an appetizer, main course, and the food just kept coming! I was blown away! I don’t know if this was usual or because of all the problems they’ve been having in Italy with the virus. But it was a first time for me!
Suddenly, we got the news. We were in a red zone now! All of Italy is a red zone, and it happened within an instant at the dinner. Several of us had to hurriedly plan our next move. I discussed it with my mom, and we wanted to make sure we could at least get back to my home in Sweden. My mom’s from USA but came to visit me and go on this short lived trip.
It took several hours to find a flight, and everyone was frantically planning or deciding what to do next. We eventually got back to our hotel around 11pm, both of us feeling haggard and disappointed that we barely had one day in Catania.
Check out tours in Catania here!
The next day, we were quickly out of there and on our way to Amsterdam. There were no direct flights to Sweden, and my mom and I agreed that we didn’t want to be on several flights with the virus going on. I’ve traveled to Amsterdam before and have some friends there, so I knew how busy it would be. This time felt crazy. The streets that are normally covered with tourists had half the amount it usually has! We ventured around after a day of rest and met up with two ladies, Cindy and Penny from the TBEX dinner, on our one day in Catania.
Check out tours in Amsterdam here!
We did a hop on hop off canal tour and rode down the canals. It was an amazing way to take in the beauty of the city The four of us wandered the streets around Dam Square and enjoyed a wonderful view at Blue restaurant since Cindy had been there before, she knew about this restaurant with an impeccable view.
We stayed in Amsterdam for 2 nights and rented a car since my mom and I were not thrilled about being on any flights with the chaos happening. We said our goodbyes to Cindy and Penny with one last meal and then we were on our way to visit my friends in Eindhoven. Our visit was short with them, but it was nice to see a familiar face with all the uncertainty going on.
My mom and I decided we needed to start heading on the road. So, I drove until we made it to Germany. The darkness overtook the sky, but I felt an urgency to make it closer to Sweden. We stayed the night in Munster, Germany and the next day took a ferry to Rodby, Denmark. As we wandered on the ferry, I noticed that one of their restaurants was closed and it was maybe around 30 people, which didn’t seem like much considering how big the ferry is!
Once we made it to Copenhagen, Denmark, we stopped for a bite to eat. Then it was time to go on the road once again! My eyes were starting to become heavy as I stared at the road. Soon we would be on a ferry to Sweden. A calmness washed over me as we drove onto the ferry. At last, we’re soon in Sweden! My hubby got a hold of me and I could sense he was nervous. He quickly wanted to know where we were, and he explained that Denmark is closing its borders! We would have been stuck in Denmark! But luckily, we were already on the ferry to Sweden.
The weather was completely different in Jonkoping from where we were earlier that day and from our one day in Catania. Icicles hung down from trees and a cold biting chill was in the breeze. Vox hotel was a nice place for us to rest and try to relax from the stress of driving like a bat out of hell! Since we had time to spare before returning the car, we drove to some castles and beautiful churches in Jonkoping and Linkoping. Our destination for the car was Stockholm and we had a lot of time to spare there. So, before dropping off the car, we visited the FAMOUS Vasa ship in a museum in Stockholm. Everything felt unchanged here, as if there wasn’t a virus overtaking the world. It was a little strange to see but relieving at the same time.
Learn more about Vasa Museum!
Our next journey was by train to the Värmland county. I live in a small town surrounded by nature. Which in these times, seems like the best place to be! Now, everyday I get to wander through the forests behind my home with my fur babies. Our two weeks in self quarantine has ended, but it doesn’t feel any different. We’re still staying away from people and keeping to ourselves. My mom has decided to stay longer than she had expected since the virus is growing rampant in USA. We both feel that it’s safer here than what’s happening in many places throughout America. That one day in Catania was short lived, but it was nice to see so now once this chaos is over, I plan on visiting that beautiful place!
Swedes are known as keeping social distancing, even before this virus had happened. So, a lot of them are pros at keeping their distance. But there are still a lot of people seeing this virus as a joke. The peak hasn’t hit Sweden yet, and I think that this month will let us know how the future will be here. Soon everyone will learn if it was a good idea to do it as the Swedes have done with their lax ways or if it actually didn’t’ help with these unknown times. Many of the countries surrounding Sweden have closed their borders and have made it stricter on staying home and for businesses to close. But for Sweden, it has only closed schools for 16-25-year olds. Many people are still acting like it’s a regular day and several businesses are still open. I wonder what will happen next…
My name is Dani James, and I’m a kooky American lady who enjoys wandering to new countries and exploring the outdoors. I have lived in Sweden for 5 years and I enjoy taking people on hiking trails in my writings on my travel blog. Check it out on Hiking in Sweden. Or if you want to learn more about me, learn more on my About me page.
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