Myself and my friend Georgina were on our way back home from the local supermarket when we got the call. Due to COVID19, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab had announced that all Brits abroad should return home immediately as the UK was expected to close its borders within a week. Despite being adamant that we had wanted to stay in Spain, we both knew that our journey had come to an end that and it would be best if we returned home.
Our course’s international director LJ booked us flights home and within the hour, our flights were confirmed – we would be leaving the next afternoon. But then came our next obstacle, how do you pack up and clean a WHOLE flat, say your goodbyes and head to the airport all within 11 HOURS??
After the shock and upset had finally sunk in, we got to work packing up everything we could into the two suitcases we each came with. I think this was the point when I began to wish I had packed a lot lighter coming here! As we were preparing to be in lockdown for a while, Georgina and I had stocked up on a lot of food. Now we were leaving, we didn’t want to waste any of it so decided to cook up a feast for our final night (Pizza, Pasta, Brownies and more!) before giving the remainder of our food to our neighbours.
Stomachs full and hearts heavy, we decided against sleep and to instead spend our last few hours together watching movies with our snacks. Hours flew by and before we knew it, it was nearly time to leave. We headed out to the pharmacy to grab face masks, before grabbing our cases and leaving our flat for the last time. As a result of coronavirus precautions, myself and Georgina couldn’t travel in the same taxi so we split up and made our separate ways to the Airport.
Normally, airports are some of the busiest places I have ever seen. Barcelona Airport on this particular day however, was sparse. Most airlines had already stopped operating due to COVID-19 and most countries had restricted/closed their borders preventing people from travelling there. As Georgina’s flight departed two hours earlier than my flight, we headed to her check in desk first so she could deposit her bag and collect her boarding pass. Many of the people in the queue ahead of us were in tears and we were about to find out why. Due to restrictions placed as a result of Coronavirus, Holland had limited entrance into the country to nationals only. Georgina, despite living there for the last 10 years – had no documentation on her to prove that she was a Dutch citizen and was initially turned away from the flight. As you can imagine, there was a lot of crying, anger, frustration and pleading but in the end Georgina’s dad saved the day and managed to email over her documents so that she could board her flight and return home. A stressful way to end our journey, but thankfully it was sorted and with emotions running high and stress levels on 100, it was time for Georgina and I to say goodbye.
Our time in Spain – although short lived, was filled with memories we shall never forget. I’m so thankful to LSBU for me being able to experience something like this and I’m thankful to Georgina for coming along for the ride – I wouldn’t have wanted to do this with anybody else.