This was a really exciting (and a little anxiety-inducing) week for me as it culminated in my sister and I travelling to Disneyland Paris for the weekend. You may remember that I had grand plans at the start of the year for lots of Disney trips, but 2020 had other ideas for us all. By a real stroke of fortune and timing, this trip was able to go ahead (the same would not be true at time of writing!) and after carefully weighing up the risks and benefits (not least the fact that I was due to start work again – more on that later), we decided to go. Spoiler alert: I’m glad that I did.
But before the weekend rolled around, there were several days of running, workouts and yoga first:
Monday – 5k + garden workout + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 6 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 5 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + home yoga
Saturday – 1 mile
Sunday – 1 mile
The Monday was one of those days where I felt like I did an awful lot, but none of it was anything where there was something concrete to show for it. A success was that I finally managed to sort out the watch face on my new Garmin to a custom design (the gradual restart of Garmin services after the outage slowed things down there). I guess nobody will be surprised with my choice!
And since the weather was reasonable, I was able to take my morning coffee in the garden. I wish I could do that more often!
I then spent a good chunk of the day faffing about and going through some old stuff. First I went in search of all my Disney badges/buttons to see what I had. Most of them are the more recent celebration ones you get at WDW, but there are a few older gems in there too, including from the character meal we had at the Disneyland hotel on my one trip there (with my family) in 1996! This led to me browsing through some old photo albums form the “old days” when you could go places. Good times!
I also looked more closely at the box of old books my sister had delivered and found some old favourites. I wonder if you remember any of these from your childhood?
Then finished my afternoon with a Disney drawing tutorial. This one was tricky in places, but I think it turned out ok.
My Tuesday run was another of those soaking wet ones where I didn’t bother taking a picture until after I was showered. I then had the “pleasure” of taking the kitties to the vet for their booster vaccinations. They had really good systems in place to protect everyone – I had to phone reception from the car park to say I had arrived then wait in my car. The vet called me to discuss the kitties’ health then I delivered them to the front door (they opened up and I put the baskets inside the door for the waiting vet to pick up) and returned to my car to await a second call after they had been vaccinated and checked over to bring me up to date. It was then a reverse of the delivery as I collected them from the front door. Had there been anything to pay, that would have been done over the phone but I have them on a health plan so everything that was done at this visit was covered. I was a little worried about my fur babies going in by themselves, but they were fine and the drive home was much quieter than the journey there – who knew kitties could harmonise!
The rest of the day was fairly quiet, but I did manage another drawing tutorial:
The Wednesday was also eventful…I went to a cafe! Other than the supermarket and my parents’ house, I hadn’t actually been anywhere but Steve needed a couple of things at the farm shop and suggested a visit to the cafe there (we used to go fairly often) since they were part of the Eat Out To Help Out scheme. I thought it would be ok since it was a familiar location, and actually it felt very safe. They had altered the layout so there were separate entrances to the shop and the cafe (ordinarily you can walk through the shop to get to the cafe), distancing markers while you waited to be seated and hand sanitiser available. Since the tables had been distanced from each other, I think I would probably have felt ok with an inside table, but as it happened an outside one was available first so we took that. They were encouraging everyone to use the QR code on the table to order online rather than have someone come to the table, so we did that. I had a slice of their delicious Malteser cake and a pot of tea.
We also had to give our details for contact tracing, but that is very much the norm anywhere you go now. Overall it was a nice, gentle step back into “normal” activities.
But if you think that was an exciting excursion, we topped it on Thursday with a visit to Steve’s brother and his family. Other than crossing paths in the supermarket car park, I hadn’t seen them since pre-lockdown times (Steve has continued to have coffee with his brother every Saturday, initially via video call and more recently in person) but nice as it was to see them, I was more interested in meeting their new Maltipoo puppy. She was only about 8/9 weeks old at this point and just a wee sausage!
So adorable! She had only arrived home on the Monday so was really still settling in and I can’t wait to see her again and see her gain confidence and personality as she grows.
I began the Friday with some reading in bed and not only did I finish my book (this one – I really enjoyed it):
I also reached another of my 2020 goals by hitting the target I set on Goodreads for the year. Definitely way ahead of schedule as my goal was in line with previous years and usually I just manage to reach it!
The rest of the day, however, I found quite hard. I definitely had mixed feelings about going to DLP (I suspect I would have felt quite relieved if it was cancelled) and this was the week when the news was beginning to report rising Covid cases in France. The idea of flying troubled me a little, but I knew it was a short flight and having read reports from others who had visited DLP (and felt similar anxieties to me) had been comforted to hear that they felt very safe once they were at Disney. I knew the measures that were in place and was confident that I would be fine in the parks, but the threat of quarantine when I returned was a big worry, particularly since I had to go straight back to work the following week (actually I was going to miss the inset days but this was approved since my trip was booked prior to the new school year being brought forward by a week. I felt a little weird about it, but all my colleagues were encouraging me to go on the trip). The last thing I wanted was to be working from home rather than back in the school building with everyone else, plus I knew I would go crazy stuck at home and not allowed out for 14 days if I had to quarantine! I felt a little better when France was not included on the list of countries quarantine would be required from at the announcement on the Thursday of that week (the restrictions for those countries would be in place from the Saturday) and while I fully expected that to change by the following weekend, felt as confident as I could reasonably be that I could be safely home before anything changed. I definitely wouldn’t have gone if a quarantine announcement had been made before we left.
So I got organised. I nipped out for a few things I needed to a take with me (mainly travel sized packs of anti-bac wipes and a small box of disposable gloves!), got petrol for the drive to the airport and packed my bag (we were flying with hand luggage only). It was clear to Steve that I was feeling on edge and anxious, but he wisely pointed out that a lot of my anxieties were bound up with my impending return to work and being surrounded by lots of people again after months at home sheltered from the world. He basically insisted that I NEEDED to go on the trip in order to feel better about everything and told me there was no point in worrying about things outside of my control, like possible quarantine. He took me out for a walk to calm me down before bed and I did manage to get some sleep.
My sister and I were booked on a 7am flight out of Glasgow so it was an early start whatever way you sliced it. I had already given some consideration to my run streak and what I wanted to do. I wasn’t ready to end it, but also wasn’t sure how sustainable it would be once I was back at work. Steve and I discussed it and I decided it was time to invoke my emergency rule change – rather than a 30 minute/5k run each day, it would be ok in exceptional circumstances to run just 1 mile to keep the streak going. This allows me to slot in a really quick run if time is an issue during the school term, but sustain a run streak which has become central to my wellbeing. It was also a solution to how I would fit in a run on the Saturday as we travelled to DLP and spent the day in the parks. I left some kit out and got up slightly earlier so I could get straight out the door (in the dark!) to run laps around the block right outside my front door until I reached a mile. I then got myself organised and was in my parents’ driveway to collect my sister a couple of minutes early! In actual fact, it was probably quite a good idea to run then as it settled me down but also made me feel much more alert for a long day.
It actually felt really strange being in such an empty airport. It also felt weird because it was my first experience of travelling without a checked bag so the fact that we didn’t have to go to a check-in desk but instead went right through security was odd to me. I felt perfectly safe in the airport (everyone in masks, loads of space and distanced tables in the place we went for breakfast) and although there were a good number of people on our flight, the only other people in your row were those in your party so everyone was spaced out and had to wear masks unless they were actively eating/drinking. I wouldn’t fancy a longer flight right now, but the short hop to France was ok.
To stop this post being too long (and photo heavy!) I plan to write a separate post with more of the details of the weekend, but the short version is that after a flight, quick TGV transfer and even quicker RER ride to our hotel (which was right by the station) we were in the main park just after 12:30 and looking at this:
Yes, I was welling up already!
We spent the rest of the day in the park, going on as many rides as we could and taking lots of pictures.
On the Sunday, I opted for another 1 mile run since I had been up so early the day before and been busy all day. It was interesting to head out and start to get my bearings in Val d’Europe where we were staying. I then joined my sister (who had headed in ahead of me thanks to the 1 hour of Extra Magic Time she gets with her annual pass) and we spent the day in the Walt Disney Studios. The whole day! I had previously thought of this as a half day park, but this trip offered a unique opportunity to do some different things and go on some rides I had never done before, so we stayed there notching up experiences.
One of the reasons for staying was that we had managed to get a booking for a restaurant we both really wanted to try – Bistrot chez Rémy which is based on Ratatouille – and were considering this a birthday treat since we both have August birthdays.
We were in fairly early at 5pm so it was really quiet, the tables were distanced (although there really wasn’t anyone else near us) and the staff were attentive enough without having to come near us very often. The food was great too so I would love to eat there again with Steve.
By this point I was definitely feeling much more settled and much less anxious. The measures in place made me feel confident that my health and safety was important and I knew how to take responsibility for myself by washing/sanitising my hands, maintaining social distance and avoiding touching any surfaces – all without significant detraction from the magic of Disney. We also, apart from Chez Rémy, had all of our meals outside in order to further mitigate any risks. Right now everyone has their own opinions and boundaries around safety and whether or not to venture far from home, but having been VERY risk averse for months, I quickly found that being around people in the “Disney bubble” was ok for me and although I was conscious of Covid, I also felt more removed from the constant news checking and updates which have plagued me for most of the year. Clearly a break I needed and it really did make a difference to my mindset about returning to school.
With the parks closing early, our day pretty much ended after the meal as we left the park to quickly nip to a couple of shops in the Disney Village before heading back to our hotel to shower, relax and get some sleep. After all the days of feeling tense about travelling, I was definitely happy to be back in the magic – it could be a while before I get there again!
Have you been out and about to cafes/restaurants/on trips now that some of the restrictions have eased?
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done to fit in a run?