The New Zealand Government has finally given the go ahead for the “Hermit Kingdom” to open up. This will happen in stages, dependent on which country you are from and your vaccination status. The border having being closed for 2 years. More importantly it means one can get back into the country. The problem has been trying to get a place in the mandatory quarantine lottery to enable you to return. Very difficult and which has caused much heart ache to Kiwis stranded overseas unable to get home.
We are booked to travel at the end of April and to return mid October. Our destination will be the UK, although we will spend some time in San Francisco on the way over and in Vancouver/Whistler on our return journey. Visits to children/grandchildren are long overdue.
Last August I had booked us on a tour of Central America, departing from the U.K. leaving this April. I hoped by 2022 things would be back to normal. Flying in to Panama, the itinerary took us from Panama, through Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and finishing in Guatemala. The idea being to visit the countries we missed out, after being forced to abandon our journey in Guatemala in May 2020, when it became obvious Covid 19 wasn’t going to go away.
As we could not drive through Nicaragua or Costa Rica in a right-hand drive vehicle, nor cross the Darien Gap, the plan had been to ship from Puerto Barios in Guatemala to Cartagena, Colombia. We plan to return to Columbia next year, when we hope all Covid regulations will have been lifted and travel will be easier again.
Last month, Journey Latin America, the tour operator organising the Central American tour, advised me the tour could not go ahead, due to lack of support. We were the only two people booked, so it wasn’t viable. We were extremely disappointed, especially as all the land borders in Central America are open and all those countries can be visited again.
So, what will we do in Europe this summer? Obviously catching up with family and friends after so long, will be a priority. No firm decisions have yet been made, but we would like to go to Abenteuer und Allrad in Bad Kissingen in Germany. It’s the largest 4 wheel drive/Overlanding show in Europe. To do some cycling in France and visit friends and family in Normandy and Brittany. Also to do a trip in Poki, maybe to Eastern Europe to Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Romania.
Hopefully we do not have another issue with travel, due to the outbreak of war in Ukraine. This makes me so angry. So completely unnecessary. The waste of life, disruption to people’s lives and livings. For what? The whim of a megalomaniacal little man. I hope a resolution can come soon and Putin is not planning to take over other ex soviet satellite states.
What have we been doing since our last blog? Summer has been amazing. Long and hot. This is the last weekend of summer but temperatures are still around 23 – 25 degrees here in Rotorua and warmer in other parts of the country. Rain has been scarce here too. The exception being a couple of heavy rain storms when we caught the edge of tropical cyclones coming down from the Pacific.
The rental house, we spent 2 months renovating, has now been sold. (Dennis is dreaming of buying an Ineos Grenadier! And getting it professionally converted into a camper.) I have carried on organising monthly local car club events, but our Northland trip hasn’t happened due to Covid restrictions.
A couple of weekends ago we flew down to Christchurch. I was getting withdrawal symptoms not having been on a plane. It is more than 50 years since I have spent a whole year without going on an aircraft.
Christchurch was unbelievably quiet. We were the only guests at our hotel. Fortunately there was a lively bar/restaurant or it might have felt rather grim. We hadn’t spent any time in Christchurch since the earthquake of 2011. Interesting to see restoration work still going on and the changes to the city. Neither of us had visited the nearby French enclave of Akaroa, so booked a day tour by bus. A mini-bus picked us up and we made a total of 5 passengers. On the return journey it was just us. Tourism businesses in NZ are on their knees. Some have gone out of business, others hang on by a thread, desperate for borders to reopen and for tourists to be allowed into the country again.
All being well, our next blog will be from another continent 😊