Travelling in the Covid era

Destination: United Kingdom departing from Brisbane, Queensland

Reason for travel: Family visit, 3 years in the interval

The covid pandemic has affected so many worldwide with the loss of so many lives that one can hardly complain about the curtailment of travel. Nevertheless, we were delighted at last to be able to visit our daughter and her family in the UK.

The Brisbane airport was quite deserted at the time of our departure, one thinks the days of the Australian airports as shopping malls may be at an end. Proof of vaccination is required for airline travel so the International vaccine certificate is best added to one's mobile device.

Masks are mandatory and we added antiseptic wipes to carry on luggage. It is also a requirement to add the Australian Digital Passenger Declaration app to a mobile device before travelling overseas. This app from Department of Home Affairs, Border Force can only be completed 24 hours before one's return journey.

All necessary preparations in hand, we arrived in the UK about midday Saturday 2nd April after a relatively painless flight. The train from Gatwick to St Albans took a little longer than expected as it was held up for 10 mins along the way. 

What a delight to see the kids again! The now six year old grandson soon recovered from an initial bout of shyness to his usual exuberant self.
On the Sunday we went to Berkhamstead, to view the remains of the Norman castle and motte.
The steep ascent to the top provided some much needed exercise along with a great view.

At Berkhamsted

By Monday we had both picked up a nasty cold, all that isolation over the previous months not preparing us for the exposure to crowds and chilly weather Not a good start to our visit. 
An activity search for children enhanced our visit to the de Havilland Museum on Tuesday 5th. This is situated only a short drive from St Albans.

What fascinating history there was to explore. The story of the development of the Mosquito and subsequent de Havilland aircraft. We also had the chance to climb aboard a Comet, the world's first jet airliner.

Our visit to Greenwich later in the week via train then riverboat was not so successful. It was a freezing cold day and the wind along the river was very strong. 

The interior of the Cutty Sark was most  interesting with tales of days gone by. Most of the grounds and buildings at Greenwich were closed due to filming of a follow up to the Bridgerton series. 

Film crews, wagons and horses, folks in period costumes with the filming of a funeral scene took up all of the forecourt so we limited our time there. Lunch in the cosy pub seemed the best option.

Ferry to Greenwich and child on Cutty Sark
A visit to Greenwich

Later in the week at Knebworth House we walked through the impressive grounds and the dinosaur trail. The attraction of the large adventure playground with its fort and long slide was welcomed by the grandson.

At Knebworth

A weekend exploration of Marlow with our daughter's husband and in-laws saw us enjoying a drink in the grounds of The Compleat Angler pub next to the Thames.

In the second week of our stay, our son-in-law had taken leave, so on Monday we enjoyed a walk with him and our daughter through the Roman ruins at Verulanium. This is situated in St Albans not far from our accomodation. We then visited one of the many nearby pubs for lunch. 

Tuesday12th April : Alex drove us out to Saffron Walden in Essex through expansive fields and many cute villages along the way. We walked through the town and large gardens before settling in the Cafe Cou Cou tea house for the world's best sandwich. 

I had salmon and cream cheese absolutely overloaded on thick granary loaf with added lettuce and cucumber. We all agreed it was an excellent meal followed by a scone with raspberry jam and clotted cream. Needless to say we did not need an evening meal.

Buildings - Saffron Walden, Essex

Easter in Kent

Good Friday - off to Whitstable. We had a pleasant journey south to Kent and arrived at about 11.30 am along with huge Easter crowds. The very narrow footpaths and alleyways required much manoeuvering past folks, but we were pleased with the warmer weather.

Whitstable, Kent - Easter 2022

After exploring the foreshore  along with the in-laws dog,  we checked into the small cottage for the next two nights.
6 adults - parents and both sets of grandparents and grandson Nightmare stairs awaited our ascent to the bedrooms complete with gates to prevent accident falls.

Up top to the attic assisted by a rope handrail were located 3 single beds. The two double rooms were on the first floor. Here both sets of grandparents found refuge. Much ducking of heads for the men in the stairwell. Chris decided the only safe way to descend was by going down backwards.

Whitstable cottage

On the ground floor a cosy small lounge, kitchen with dining table and at the back of the building the bathroom. All settled and nibbles, tea and coffee were enjoyed in the back courtyard garden.
Fish and chips were on the menu for the evening meal.

On Easter Saturday we had a feast of seafood at the famous Whitstable Oyster Restaurant, delicious! We travelled back to St Albans on Easter Sunday after a feast of chocolate.We were sad to say farewell to our family on Easter Monday and arrived home tired but happy by Wednesday afternoon 19th April.