Just returned after two weeks in four countries, and lots of people have been asking me, “what is it like traveling in Europe right now?”
It’s Europe the way it used to be, before over-tourism and tour buses and cheap flights. Bruges was practically deserted at night. On a Saturday morning, we walked into Monet’s Garden almost alone (though when we left, there was a small line).
Most of what you read in the US press is overblown or incorrect or fear-mongering. On the day I left for Paris, the headlines in the U.S. were “EU bans American Travelers!” What nonsense! Anyone with a double vaccination card can travel easily.
American handwritten vaccination cards were accepted everywhere, and I was only asked to show them at museums and castles. Holland has no requirements anywhere and no one is wearing a mask. In Belgium, France and Luxembourg, you wear a mask in shops and museums and perhaps while walking to your table in a restaurant. There are no crowds anywhere. No umbrellas were held up followed by massive tour groups. Waitstaff wear masks, even outdoors, and store employees do as well.
My brother lives there and we traveled in his car and he noticed that 95 percent of the license plates in each country were of drivers from that country, so there is very little inter-country tourism, at least by car.
It’s a pain, but to get back in the U.S. you have to have a COVID test within 72 hours of your return flight. You can “google” it to find a pharmacy close by that will do it for $25 euros. It takes 20 minutes to get the results. Strangely, no one asked to see proof of my test! To get on the flight, you simply sign a statement that you took the test and got a negative result.
The airport in Paris was empty and I had three empty seats both ways on a direct flight to Paris on Air France. Europe is great right now. Just don’t bring up nuclear submarines in a conversation in France. 😊