As the rise in coronavirus cases continues to swell throughout all of Europe, many countries are responding with sudden lockdowns, closures, states of emergency, and many new travel restrictions. European governments reopened their borders over the summer months this year, but following the relaxation of measures, much of Europe is now experiencing a brutal second wave.
Here in England where I am, the British Prime Minister has announced tough nationwide measures in the battle against the pandemic, and the country will enter a one-month national lockdown starting tomorrow. Everything except essential shops and education settings will be closed under these new measures, which see my UK travel plans go up in smoke. I had planned a trip to Edinburgh to explore and discover Scotland (well, it’s capital) in all its glory.
I had planned a trip to Cardiff, hoping to delve deep into Welsh culture and make the most of the compact capital city of Wales. And finally, I had planned a trip to Belfast, the small capital city of Northern Ireland that I’ve heard is big on excitement. It is no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has been wreaking havoc on holidaymakers’ travel plans all year, and I am no exception.
I’ve taken a literal and figurative “adapt or die” attitude to this virus because I feel it’s the only way I’ll come out the other end and get to travel irrespective of whether the virus throws a spanner in the works or not. The weather in London is miserable at the moment but I have made the most of the chilly but sunny autumn days in Nottinghill where I reside. Pernod Ricard Namibia has come on this trip with me and this week saw my partner and I enjoy the world’s best-selling gin, Beefeater London Dry, which has won more awards than any other brand.
I found it quite appealing to be in London, enjoying a product that I have been consuming for a number of years that is made in the heart of London. We had actually planned a trip to the Beafeater Gin Distillery (dubbed the home of gin) where the iconic gin remains handcrafted. I was more interested in the area of London it’s located, to be honest. Kensington is an extremely affluent area and is home to many outstanding restaurants and bars, as well as boasting a rich cultural heritage, thanks to some of the biggest and best museums in London.
We’ve gone ice skating, an activity that works nearly every muscle group in the body. Ice skating is something I’ve found to be a fun way to workout but sadly, some of London’s ice rinks have been cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last but not least, I’ve spent most of my time in Portobello Road, which is home to the most exciting and best known street market in the world. Portobello is one of London’s oldest markets and provided the setting for the 1999 hit movie Notting Hill (a personal favourite) starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant.
Renowned for its antique stalls, the market is in full swing on Saturdays with more than 1500 stalls compete for your attention. The market stalls sell everything from vintage clothes to jewellery, street food to artwork. It is quite remarkable. Today, I will be staying up to watch the United States election and will keep an eye on what’s going on in that country as it’s the one I might head to next. Until next week.