Here it is! The annual summer list of my favourite fabulous non-touristy bars & restaurants in Sevilla that will be open during August. Enjoy!
Mixed messages from several governments has led to confusion over whether it is safe or appropriate for people to travel abroad to an amber list country for a holiday. So let me answer that for you: No and No. Spain is still on the UK amber list, and as of yesterday, hey so is Portugal. So all the people presently holidaying in Portugal have to get back home lickety-split, or else face expensive testing and quarantine. Some are having to now pay quadruple for their brief holiday in the sun, rebooking flights etc.
Meanwhile, Spain very stupidly and selfishly (gotta get those tourist bucks, who cares if we die?) opened its borders to all UK travellers on May 24th, allowing them to come here without any sort of testing or proof of vaccination, while the “Indian variant” (now known as Delta) makes up more than 75% of the new cases in the UK, and has been shown to be far more contagious and more resistant to the vaccines we have been using. Meanwhile we require EU travellers to show proof of vaccination. WTF?
I’m hoping that the prospect of having to get tested twice and also quarantine upon arriving back in the UK will discourage most from coming. But it still floors me that anyone would even consider going to another country without being tested and vaccinated first. You’d almost think they don’t give a shit about possibly transmitting the virus to us. Here’s hoping that by September we will have a clearer idea of what’s what. Until then I’m staying put.
Those of you who know me also know that there are probably not many other people you know who LOVE the Christmas season as much as I do. This isn’t because of all the happy memories of Christmases past… in fact it’s the opposite. It’s because I never had any nice Christmas memories growing up, so when I left home at the ripe old age of 15 I decided to start making my own traditions. And Christmas became MY THING. And OMG I love it, not as a religious holiday but kind of based on the concept of the birth of Jesus being a metaphor for the birth of compassion in the world. Not a GOD, but just a person like us. So I always made sure to make a big fuss over everything about celebrating the birth of compassion, and yeah, also love the lights, the songs, the movies, the everything. Don’t care too much about gifts, but again, that is another expression of appreciating the people we love, and letting them know, so that’s cool too.
Thing is, this year is different. Really different. We have constantly seen catastrophes happening around us because people will JUST NOT LET GO of the idea that they can’t do things like they have always done. First it was that they NEEDED their summer holidays (who the fuck travels abroad ON HOLIDAY during a global pandemic??) and as a result of people not staying put we are experiencing a killer second wave of this fucking virus. And don’t even get me started on non-maskers and “herd immunity” assholes and people who have still had big weddings, birthdays, etc. Anyhow, now it’s coming up to Christmas and my Twitter feed is full of people talking about getting home for the holidays and I am like WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK??
Have people learned NOTHING?? Here we are in Spain not allowed to travel outside our own municipalities, with a curfew from 10pm to 7am, and yet they are still allowing tourists in and out?? This also goes for people who live here and have family elsewhere (or vice versa), somehow thinking that their family gathering is worth more than the safety and lives of others, that THEIR situation is the exception. This is the exact opposite of what Christmas should be about because this isn’t about giving or sharing or caring, it’s about selfish personal desire, and then just doing what you want at the possibly horrific expense of others. Honestly, I despair.
This photo popped up in my azahar Instagram Memories today, and I actually got a bit weepy. It had been such a great day, checking out the Guggenheim in Bilbao, walking around town, looking for tapas bars that were open (top tip: do not visit Bilbao the week after their Semana Grande in August), later having cocktails on the rooftop of the Gran Hotel Domine at sunset overlooking the Guggenheim and the river. It was part of my first Basque Getaway, visiting Bilbao and San Sebastián.
I guess what got me choked up was the feeling of not knowing if or when this will ever be possible again. I still can’t even get on a train to go to Jerez or Cádiz on a day trip. But today I was whisked back to Bilbao, to the streets, the crazy architecture, the fab pintxo bars, the market, the river, getting lost in a dodgy part of town late at night, the museum of columns. What also got me choked up was that back then, just two years ago, there was no way of knowing what would happen to us in 2020. Hell, same goes for last December, but…
I dunno. Today I saw tweet by the regional government boasting that Andalucía had received the highest volume of travellers and hotel overnight stays in the country during the month of July and had established itself as a preferred destination for Spanish tourists. Meanwhile Andalucía has also registered the highest numbers of the pandemic with 909 cases in 24 hours, including 4 deaths. Coincidence?
I’m just so sad these days. Nobody seems to be in charge. People are doing WHATEVER because there is no direction. And my life… I honestly don’t know. Back in April I was doing okay by not thinking too far ahead, just getting by day by day. But the truth is that I could lose my home and that’s terrifying to me. So seeing these Bilbao pics was so bittersweet. Back when things were good we never thought things could ever change so much, or so quickly.