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Post International Travel from Venezuela in Covid Times
Created by John Eipper on 05/08/21 7:44 AM

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International Travel from Venezuela in Covid Times (José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela, 05/08/21 7:44 am)

In my last post, John E asked me about the experiences I have had on my travel to Spain, due to international restrictions in these pandemic times.

To begin with, it was difficult to leave Venezuela since there are no regular flights abroad, except for Turkish Airlines, and other occasional flights.  Turkish Airlines took me to the fascinating city of Istanbul, in transit to our first destination, Berlin.

Second, in Caracas it was difficult to obtain the PCR test required to travel, since there were few places, as it is usual there where everything is scarce, I had to queue for seven hours to get it.

To travel to Germany or Spain, or to any other country in the European Union, it is necessary to make a prior registration with personal and travel data, without which you are not allowed to enter, in order to control possible contagion once you arrive. This process is quite simple and can can be done online. When you arrive at the destination airport, both are strictly required.

More difficult were the restrictions to go to Oslo, where they require you, in addition to the 12-hour PCR before leaving and a second test once when you arrive, you must do a quarantine of 10 days in a hotel, which can be reduced to seven if you do a PCR with negative results. Fortunately, this quarantine can be avoided if you can convincingly argue force majeure to the airport officials.

In Berlin the mobility restrictions were lax. Masks were not mandatory outside, except on public transport and in shops and restaurants, which were partially open with controls to enter. However, many non-essentials business and shops remained closed. There was a lot of movement of people in the streets, but one could sense a certain boredom, disgust, tiredness and discomfort in them.

In Madrid, we went through similar controls at the airport. In this city, masks are mandatory and on the street everyone wears them, with no apparent exceptions. Shops and restaurants were open, and although there were restrictions on capacity and hours, life in general seemed quite normal. Without ruling out, of course, some excesses of young people who organize parties and illegal meetings, called "botellones." As is quite natural due to the character of Spaniards, here people seemed more relaxed and less oppressed, unlike what we observed in Berlin or Oslo.

We observed the same in our final destination, Alicante in Valencia, where people appear to be much more relaxed and adapted to limitations; all shops and public offices are open and functioning normally, complying with the norm of using masks, protection and social distancing. In fact, this region barely has an incidence of infections of 40 per 100,000 inhabitants, the lowest in Spain.

In summary, the procedures to be able to travel, the queues, delays and controls at the airports, the discomfort of traveling by plane, the precarious services on board, having to wear a mask during the entire flight and other inconveniences and nuisances, makes traveling very cumbersome and unpleasant. I would recommend that if it is not strictly necessary, that you wait a few more months to do it, unless of course you have the privilege of traveling in business class or by private plane.

JE comments:  Appreciate the report, Nacho.  How many knew that Turkish Airlines is the only Translatlantic carrier presently serving Venezuela?  Only on WAIS!

We are contemplating a European trip this summer (Poland, as usual), but don't know if it's worth the hassle.  What is the latest on allowing vaccinated Gringos into the EU?

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