Strawberry Social 2018
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Douglas Justice - Cherry Trees and Blooms
Wednesday March 4th, 2020 - 7.00 p.m.
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We arrived on Monday and on Friday, March 13th, we had a lovely full-day excursion to the north of the island. Upon returning at dinnertime we were informed that our upcoming excursions would be cancelled due to the size of our group and concerns about the spread of Covid-19. So we thought, okay, we can use transit to take us around the island on our own. But the next five days proved ‘interesting’!

The next day three of us took a local bus along the coast to a charming town with lots of shops and beach-front restaurants where we had lunch. We decided it would be worth going back two or three times more. However, by dinnertime we learned that transit for us was curtailed. This was the day the Spanish Royal Decree came into effect with restricted movement. It meant that our planned trip by bus to the museum in Palma was out of the question, along with anything else interesting to do for the next 13 days.

So the next morning we thought there would be nothing wrong with taking a walk along the beach-front esplanade in our area, which seven of us did. After a nice walk, and a sit in the sun with fresh air coming off the water, we started back to the hotel. At that point a police car was driving along the walkway, stopped us and politely suggested we go back to our hotel and stay there. Our tour manager said she would organize card games, etc. No more walks on the beach-front or anywhere.

The State of Emergency meant that even driving around was being questioned as our front desk clerk found when he had been stopped on his way in to work. Going to and from work was allowed, along with getting food and travelling for medical reasons. Walking your dog apparently was allowable too.

At 3:00 on the following day, Monday, we heard that one of our group had tested positive for the virus and we were all confined to our rooms. Little tables were set up outside our doors where room service would be dropped off. At that point we had 12 days left of our trip and we were hearing all kinds of rumors about airports closing, etc. One disturbing fact emerged that doctors were not allowed to come to our hotel if anyone else thought they might be infected. The next day I was given a digital thermometer by a hotel staff member suitably protected and looking like something from space.

Tuesday and Wednesday passed in complete boredom and anxiety at the same time. We were reassured that our travel company was doing everything possible to get us out. They had 329 people stuck in Spain, Portugal, Malta and Morocco. The news was not good for those in Morocco and we thought we might be next with flights suspended. During the day on Wednesday I learned that some of our group had managed to get on the flight with the other group which had arrived earlier than we did and were scheduled to leave on Thursday. I had no luck getting on that flight that afternoon but was very relieved when in the evening a seat became available, as far as Toronto.

Then on Thursday morning when I went to check out I found that at 11:00 p.m. the night before, our whole group was told to be ready at 8:00 a.m. to escape from the hotel: the tour company had obtained tickets for both groups on a noon flight, through Frankfurt to Toronto. And it happened!

Just thought I’d share with you the five memorable days of my misadventure. Never had a trip like it before; sadly, no lovely Spanish gardens to tell you about.

Sue Menning