We all know by now about the new COVID-19 virus that originated in China but has spread to it seems every region of the globe. The virus that has grown into a global pandemic has seemed to stop the world in its tracks.
Go back to early January when I booked a trip to Europe for my boyfriend and I. I wanted to do something really nice and plan something fun for both of us. Three days in Amsterdam and three days in Berlin. But then I had no idea how bad it will be. Looking back, I should have done it in February before it got crazy as shit.
Boarding our flight from New York to Amsterdam seemed routine enough. Security was pretty quick and we made both flights on time. But little did we know, while we were flying across the Atlantic Ocean the president was announcing a travel ban. A travel ban for people traveling in and out of Europe. And at first, the president said that all travelers would be stuck where they are for 30 days. So when we landed at about 4:45 am we were flooded with texts and missed calls. We thought we were going to be stuck there for 30 days as soon as we arrived. I didn’t believe it, so I researched. And of course it was wrong and left out the fact that U.S. citizens could still enter the U.S. Which was a relief but at the same time left us nervous since we were supposed to be there for a week.
As the cases grew in Germany we felt it was best to cancel seeing Berlin. I was super disappointed but knew that it would put us at more risk of either catching it or not being able to re-enter the U.S. So we decided to just stay in Amsterdam for the whole week.
For the next few days, we were able to sightsee and explore the city. I’m so glad that we actually had time to do and see things in Amsterdam because we were worried the whole time that we might have to leave early. Since most of the museums were closed we weren’t able to go to any of those popular places. Check out the photo below of the famous Rijksmuseum with a banner across it that reads, “temporarily closed “. While there were still crowds of people outside of this museum and others like it no one was allowed to go in. There were plenty of people there when we first arrived, it was after about 3 or 4 days that the number of people out and about started to dwindle. Eventually, by Monday it felt like we were the only tourists left. There were signs everywhere about the virus throughout the city.
The restaurants and shops were thankfully open. I shopped way too much, but that’s normal. Well, they were open until the night before we left. All restaurants, shops, coffee shops, etc had to close at 6 pm on our last day there. At least good timing was on our side right?? If we would have stayed another day we wouldn’t have been able to get food or go to big attractions. We spent most of the time walking around and eating lol.
We were supposed to leave Amsterdam on a Wednesday, a week after we arrived. But Sunday we found out that one of our flights for Wednesday had been cancelled….ugh. Searching for alternative flights wasn’t easy because it seemed the country was trying to push us out sooner than we wished. The only flight with our airline we could find was unfortunately the next day, Monday. After crying for a few hours we accepted our fate lol. It sucked but we had to suck it up and leave on Monday to assure that we would be able to enter the U.S.
Amsterdam is without a doubt one of the most gorgeous cities I have been to. The city is great for any age with museums, shopping, sightseeing, and nightlife. I was extremely sad to cut our trip short and not be able to go to Berlin or see any more of Amsterdam. Coronavirus definitely shook up my trip and took it over. As we left the city Monday morning I knew that it wouldn’t be the last time I would see this beautiful place.
Leaving Amsterdam was I felt a range of emotions. I was sad to be leaving such an amazing place that I had spent months planning for. Because of the global pandemic, my trip I so carefully planned out within budget was now over. And who knows if I will get any refunds for places or flights that I had to cancel. Here’s hoping I do. Another emotion I felt was fear. Fear of the unknown. Will we be able to return home? What will happen once we get there? Am I going to somehow catch the virus? We had heard on the news that flying back into the states was a pain including 6+ hours waiting to get through customs. So I was expecting the worse for going home.
Flying into JFK turned out to be one of the simplest parts of our trip. Once we landed we were told to exit in a single file line. We filled out a form about where we had been and if we felt sick. Then a few guys with masks and huge face guards took our temperatures. If your temp was ok they would let you go on to customs. Not sure what happens if you have a high fever but you would probably get checked out. As we made our way to customs I was shocked at how bare it was. I had been expecting tons of people trying to get into the country but I guess we missed the rush lol. It took about 20 minutes to complete customs which seemed pretty routine as normally.
Our last leg was New York to Charlotte and we didn’t have any issues with that fight. Once I finally got home I knew that my “self-quarantine” was now beginning. I worked remote from home while waiting to see if I develop any symptoms. Well two weeks later and neither of us have had any symptoms show up. So….I guess it’s safe to say that we are in the clear!
This trip got fucked up so bad that all of my careful budgeting and planning went out the window. Now, I am waiting to hear back from one airline and two AirBnb’s on any refunds I might get. Fingers crossed that they see the cancellations I made were completely out of my control and they give me at least partial refunds. Well, I can’t wait until the next trip folks!