Just wrapping up a 9 week trip. Thought there might be som interest in the oddities we encountered.
- We could fly into Germany with proof-of-vaccination…but Italy would have forced us (at the time in late August) to quarantine for 5 days.
- Switzerland allowed us in as vaccinated persons so we stayed there for almost 5 weeks. After 14 days in another bloc country, Italy would allow us to visit without quarantine…but no one ever checked to see that we had actually spent the required time before entering.
- Switzerland demanded we complete a pre-arrival questionnaire online that dispensed an approval code…but no one asked to see it. Ever. Ditto Italy.
- The canton of Valais in Switzerland provided us with a QR code proving we were fully vaccinated, the so-called “Green Pass” for the EU…but the actual scanning of the pass was erratic in Switzerland though mostly compliant in Italy and France.
- Swiss trains do not require the Green Pass…but taking a EuroCity train from Switzerland to Italy did require it. An official came through the train before the border to check that we had the credentials.
- High-speed Swiss, German, and French trains sell food and drinks on board…but the Italian fast trains do not for COVID safety reasons. This was startlingly inconvenient on our 8:18 AM three-and-a-half-hour trip from Venice to Torino.
- Parisians are very mask compliant on public transportation (and I love that they do not talk on trains or the Metro)…but in Italy and Switzerland there are a lot of exposed noses.
- In Italy and France, one does not need proof of vaccination to check into a hotel, nor to eat breakfast in a common area…but one has to show a Green Pass to even have a coffee inside a café. Restaurants checked proof-of-vaccination assiduously. I was a wee bit worried about the breakfast room situation. In Switzerland, a Green Pass was required check-in to a hotel because of the dining/breakfast room situation.
- The UK requires vaccination and a negative test result and masking is enforced on the EuroStar from Paris to London…but once in England there are no restrictions to go into a museum, restaurant, take a train, etc. And masking is a free-for-all . Kind of disquieting after all the time feeling relatively safe in Italy and France.
When I wanted coffee on the TGV from Torino to Paris, the bistro was not open even at 11:00 AM. However I had seen someone carrying coffee cups. I stuck my head in the door where a woman was preparing the service area and asked, politely, in Italian if it was possible to get coffee. “Certamente, Signora!” I think I bought under-the-counter coffee as the services were not opened until we crossed the French border.
Hotels in Switzerland, Italy, France, and Germany are still serving breakfast, on a buffet, requiring a mask to approach the food. They are also servicing rooms daily, unlike in the US where COVID-19 has become an excuse to cut services. It was wonderful to have our bed made on the rare occasions we stayed in hotels, and to have someone tidy up, not to mention laying out breakfast. We have only stayed in hotels 12 nights in 9+ weeks. YMMV as evidenced by recent posts from other travelers.
Why-oh-why can’t people talk on a phone without pulling down their mask? And what is the need for a lengthy conversation on a crowded cable car going up a mountain? That would annoy me even if there wasn’t a nasty disease circulating.
Negative BinaxNOW tests mean we are cleared for travel home. We’ll avoid other people and self-administer another test in a few days just to be certain, but we seem to have safely navigated in these strange times!
No one in any country is able to measure one meter, much less two, for distancing. We are wearing masks. Everywhere.