I had only one week in the Netherlands to meet as many people as I could and to spend enough time with my parents. I think I managed, but my schedule was pretty much fully booked from the moment I arrived until right before the moment I left again.

I didn’t mind, because I knew that returning to Italy meant having fewer social activities. Not because we have no friends in Italy, but because it’s still uncomfortable to hang out a lot with other people. And actually, the problem is that also in Italy numbers are increasing again. Before I go into that, I’d like to quickly address the week I had in the Netherlands.

All in all, I had a very good time, and I wish I could have had another week (preferably together with Davide, who was unable to join me). I needed to get used to a certain lack of rules, but I have to say that my friends and family really did, and are probably still doing, their best to behave according to the few rules that have been set. They made me feel safe. Sometimes I was shocked by parties of young people in apartment buildings (which I know are also filled with old people), who were almost on top of each other, hugging one another on the balcony (at least, the room was being ventilated), but I was never mocked for putting on a mask every time I felt like it. And I was very happy to notice that my friends and family weren’t involved in the kind of gatherings I’ve described above.

I stayed only a week, because I thought two weeks would have been too risky. You never know when they’re going to decide to refuse flights from certain countries and since the Netherlands wasn’t doing amazingly before I went and while I was there, it didn’t feel good to risk being able to return. They would always have to accept me back into Italy, because I have an Italian ID, but I didn’t want to have the mess. Two weeks of quarantine would not have been nice, but it wouldn’t have bothered me much either. It was just the uncertainty of it all that made me uncomfortable.

To get back to the topic previously mentioned. One of the reasons we are getting more cases in Italy at the moment is the flux of tourists. That’s something I was afraid would happen eventually. The problem is that the tourists are not the ones paying the bill. We are. We’ve already been threatened with another entire lockdown (which could happen within two months, I read), if the new amount of cases don’t decrease rapidly. I understand it. Hospitals need to be able to take care of people and they can’t if they’re overwhelmed. But I would like to see more quarantines for tourists who come to visit Italy. This is already the case for some countries, especially outside of Europe, but also some within Europe. I hope that they’ll include Germany and the Netherlands soon as well and if Belgium hasn’t already got the quarantine obligation (they might have, I’m not sure) I suppose it would be really time for them as well. I know that this would hit the country’s economy hard and that’s why the government is reluctant, but an entire lockdown would hit its economy hard too.

Having travelled to the Netherlands, has made me realise that flying is not a good idea. I think the airports in both Italy and the Netherlands and also the airline I was using, tried to use as many means and rules as they could to avoid the spread of infections, but I think it’s practically impossible. So, this is why I’m limiting my own movements in Italy as much as possible for the time being, until I’m certain I don’t pose a threat (I’m pretty sure I don’t have an infection, but you can never know).

I can’t wait for the Covid mess to be over, but I think we’ll just have to be a little bit patient.

From Italy with love,

Merel