Categoria: quarantine

When will Italy reopen to tourists?

This is a question many of my foreign friends keep on asking me, and sadly, the answer is always the same: I don’t know. As in nobody knows. Summer 2020, together with the pandemic, gave birth so something which is like a big mystery to all of us, from politicians to tour operators, and of course common people. Since tourism in Italy is one of the main resources, and at the same time one of the sectors most affected by covid-19, I can see how everybody is worried and eager to restart, hoping at least to save the summer, since we already lost Easter Holidays and the whole spring. I lost count of the millions of euros wasted, thanx to the pandemic, which doesn’t mean that I find the restrictions unfair, on the contrary. We’ve lost too many lives, but it could’ve been so much worse without the lockdown.

Anyway, the problem still remains that even if the borders are technically open, many companies don’t fly to and from Italy anymore, and hotels and B&B are closed. Also, Italian museums will reopen no sooner that 18 May, restaurants at the beginning of June but it’s not clear how they’ll ensure enough distancing, so even if one can physically come to Italy, what would even be the point? By the way, who knows what will happen on the beach. While I can foresee some sort of ban for foreign tourists, at least for a few months more, I just can’t imagine Italian people not going to the sea in July or August, two months typically plagued by one heat wave after another.

Probably, if you are super rich and you own a luxury yacht you may still be able to visit Capri or Sardinia. Honestly I don’t know if I’d feel at ease in a place so hardly hit by such a tragedy, and so recently, but maybe it’s just me. If you don’t own a boat, anyway, I think the best choice is to enjoy your own country, which surely offers plenty of things to do and see, and deserves to be “saved” too. Given how covid-19 shattered every single country’s economy, we’ll probably turn lemons to lemonade if we travel local for a while, and help small business.

In the meantime we wait, plan and dream, i’s not as if we’ll never travel abroad again.

Paint your quarantine – aka shameless self promotion

I spent a lot of the lockdown cultivating my artistic talent, assuming I have one. I actually had a lot of fun with pencils, brushes, photoshop and so on, and I also learned a lot. The amount of time I spent watching tutorial on youtube is almost alarming. I haven’t really discovered anything new, tho, I have been drawing since I was a child, I’ve worked as a graphic designer and I still do, but I never spent whole days painting just for fun, at least not in the last ten or fifteen years. Who’d have guessed that it would take a pandemic to unleash my somehow repressed will to make art! I suppose before covid-19 I was simply too busy with mundane, daily tasks. From this point of view I can consider myself lucky to have found such a constructive way out, which I hope will also lead me to something more in the immediate future.

Although I am completely sincere when I say that in times of crisis being creative and doing things with your own hands is the best cure ever, both for body and mind, I’m here to do some self-promotion and I won’t even try to hide this sad truth.
Let’s be honest, the lockdown has put a brake on every activity and we all need to reinvent ourselves a bit. Which is not a bad thing at all, in my opinion (but this is a story for another time), I just wish I had to reinvent myself in a lot less tragic circumstance.

Long story short, I’ve got a little shop on Red Bubble where I sell my graphics. I’d be simply delighted if you’d visit it and maybe even share the link.

Thank you so much, and stay safe.

China, I still love you

A few days ago I came across this video made by Chinese students in support of Italy amid the coronavirus outbreak. Maybe I was tired of my quarantine, or just a bit emotional, but after 10 seconds I started to cry. I don’t cry easily, many things move me but to get to the point of actual tears, well let’s just say it takes a lot. Anyway, I reached the end of this video and I felt somehow lighter, more serene, even happier and surely grateful. Probably I just needed an outlet for my worries, bore and so on. Anyway I wanted to share my relief and newly found positivity in the comment section but of course, of course, it was full of vaguely (or not so vaguely) racist comments and I thought, how could I’ve been so naive! How could I possibly forget that while most people, in this period, talk about union and solidarity, the ignorants are still out there, are still the louder, and are still eager to point the finger, anxious to find someone to blame. The fact that this someone is Chinese (or at least not white) is really the icing on the cake. I also thought, then, how it is possible that someone in their right mind could really think of blaming every single Chinese person for this pandemic? Almost two billion people, all of them guilty? Because obviously Chinese citizens have been very happy to get sick with Covid-19, die, close all their commercial activities and so on. So happy to the point that they wanted to make the same gift to us too, perhaps because Italy and China are commercial partners and Italy has a “communist” past which is also quite recent.

For my part, even in the remote hypothesis that covid-19 was actually created by mad scientists I have, thank God, still enough brain to know that the Chinese people have suffered as much as the rest of the world is suffering now. That a whole nation could not, in any case, be held responsible (and therefore punished), for the faults of a few. However, I still believe that this pandemic was just a bad, very bad accident, and since this is still a travel blog, let’s talk a bit about travel too.

As soon as it’ll be safe again, and as soon as I’ll have enough money, I’ll totally go to China. For the awesome landscapes and the ancient culture, but if this also spites the racists, well, it’s even better. Zhangjiajie and Avatar mountains, of course, will be part of the tour, but to see Lí Jiāng on a boat has been one of those things on my to do list since for ever. And what about Suzhou and Hangzhou? I’m literally drooling just thinking about it.

Obviously I want to see the Great Wall as well as the Forbidden City, I’ve never been against main stream attraction anyway, mostly because there’s a reason if they are main stream. Since it’ll be my very first time in China it seems only fair to start from the fundamentals. I have to say my confusion about the exact geography and distance between all those places is great, and of course I have zero idea about the possible connections. At least I’ve still got plenty of time to study a suitable itinerary.

In the meantime I hope everybody in the whole world is holding on. This will pass, we’ll travel again 🙂

The bubble

First of all, hello everyone, I hope you are doing well, whoever you are and wherever you are. Secondly, I’m going to let the steam out a little bit, sorry. 

Here in Italy Covid-19 is a little less violent, lately, and I’m pretty fine, all things considered. Somehow I’m even hopeful, at least on good days, yet the last time I left home was on March 3rd (I can order my groceries on line and have it delivered at home in a reasonable time) and I admit I’m starting to feel a bit claustrophobic. Also, uncertainty about the future has never been stronger, which of course doesn’t help, especially in a country were future was uncertain even before. Since the pandemic started Italy lives in a sort of bubble within which we wait, wait and see, then wait some more and during all that waiting it’s like floating in mid hair, not knowing if we’ll fly to the sky or crush to the ground. Although it’s common opinion that we will end up falling, but I am not yet so pessimistic

What exactly are we waiting for, then? I’m not sure anybody knows. An happy ending, probably, but we know it’s too soon for that. A cure? Maybe, that would be good but a cure doeasn’t stop you from getting sick in the first place. The most reasonable answer would be a vaccine anti coronavirus, of course, but there’s a lot of water that needs to be under the bridge before we reach that point. Between now and then there’s a big nothing. Personally, I know I’m waiting for something to happen, for what, exactly, it’s a tricky question. Until a certain point the highlight of the day was the 18:00 news where we’d know how many people got sick, how many healed and so on. Statistic on Tv are not so significant anymore, though, they don’t tell us what will happen tomorrow or the next month, they don’t give us a much needed deadline because of course a pandemic doesn’t really have an expiring date. It’s of course good to know it’s slowing down but it’s a fact that it slows down really slowly and there are no real guarantees that it won’t accelerate again as soon as the lockdown becomes less strict.

I can say my own personal bubble is pretty comfortable, though, also family and friends are ok so I really shouldn’t complain, not when we still see mass graves on TV and covid-19 in Italy still kills people by the undred. I try to keep myself busy, I eat healthy food, I exercise a bit every day and I’m learning a lot about watercolor, which is quite relaxing and one of those things I always wanted to learn, so this is at least a good thing. Same goes for paper mache, which is actually kinda tricky but still fun to do and learn. What I miss the most, though, is an actual motivation, a real purprose. Hobbies are a lot of fun and free time is a good learning chance, but I don’t have a job anymore and God knows when I’ll find another one.

Let’s say I can force myself out of a bed for a limited amount of days, and after 47 days I can congratulate myself for my own resiliency, but I’m starting to run out of ideas, creative energy and enthusiasm. I have always kept a high mood and a smile for everyone, even when other people didn’t have one for me, but now I’m a little tired. Needless to say, I am also very sad and disappointed because all my travel and working projects for the summer have gone up in smoke. Again, I know that I can’t really complain, and I swear to God I still have the capability to focus on what I have, not what I miss, but I’ve never, NEVER got along with any kind of constraints and feeling caged is one of the worst feelings I know. Also I have a controlling family, which totally doeasn’t help. In my small way I’m a traveller and every now and then I simply need to leave the nest, or at least to know that I will, soon.

I will always stick to the rules, of course, but I feel like the real fight starts now, and it’s all in my head.

P.S. There’s something I need to say about China too, and I will, very soon, so at least I’ll be slightly more in topic with the main theme of this blog.

P.P.S. The one above is my last watercolor, I shamelessly copied the subject from pinterest just to try my hand and I’m quite happy with the results 🙂 If by any chance you’re curious to check my creative experiments, please visit Art Scraps

Will coronavirus stop the travellers?

Well, not to be blunt, but apparently yes, especially if you’re italian. Like me. 18 countries have restricted access to people from Italy due to the infamous coronavirus, some of them forbid the access entirely. Others are telling people not to come here because it’s (supposedly) too dangerous. Cancelled planes, forced quarantene and other similar amenities are the very first consequences after just one week from the first outbreak of the virus. My guess is that it’ll get worse before getting better.

It’s not that easy to move around Italy itself as well. Milan was like a zombie town at the beginning of the week and this saddens me a lot. It’s not my city, but it’s still a place I hold dear, besides it has been proven by people much smarter than me that to panic about Covid-19 is completely useless.

Btw I had scheduled a trip to Milan right in the middle of March and I don’t know if I’ll be able to go. Probably not if nothing drastically changes in the next two weeks. Let alone the waste of money, I should’ve gone to the Lake of Garda, which is absolutely lovely and I was looking forward to see it again after, more or less, 15 years since the last time. I’m officially disappointed, now, mostly because I really don’t know when I’ll get another chance!

I won’t even start about Venice and the Carnival, one of the most beautiful events in one of the most charming cities in Italy. They had to cancel it and people up there who live on tourism lost tons and tons of money. Now, I know this will pass and I know there’re places in the world where people get it much worse on a daily basis, but Italy is my country, it really saddens me a lot to see it going down like that, especially because too many people in Italy or not basically overreacted. I hope we’ll all be fine soon, and I mean all of us, Italian, Chinese, Iranian, Japanese and so on.

In the meantime be strong, be smart, don’t panic and keep your finger crossed just in case, everything will be fine!