If you are reading this it means you survived 2020. I am glad you did and wish you all the best for 2021! I hope it brings you happiness, health and some of your freedom back. There is some hope it might be, at least.
In 2020 I visited my favorite island only for three days. In fact, I left the island with one of the last flights in March. Before flying to Madeira we checked with the local authorities both in Austria and in Madeira and everybody told us we could visit the island, the virus is in Italy but both Austria (right next to Italy!) and Portugal have it under control. So we arrived in Madeira and for a strange reason believed everything is going to be normal.
Madeira during the pandemic
It was everything but normal. Usually when we arrive we visit all our local friends – this time nobody really had time to meet, everybody had some work to do. We felt like Chinese people did in Austria. Our local friend who runs a guest house told us she had started texting visitors who were due to arrive in the next few days, asking them not to come – the cost would be fully reimbursed.
The second day on the island started with us still thinking we were going to have a normal stay. Nevertheless, we decided not to go diving – just to make sure not to be around too many different people. The day ended however with a bad mood, when one of our friends told us they are likely to close the airport.
Corona virus arrived in Madeira
Now this would not have been a big problem, if there wasn’t a very important meeting I had to attend in Vienna ten days later (which due to the pandemic had to be postponed anyway – but I could not have known that at this point) and the absolute lack of knowledge what this virus was about. Nobody knew what was going to happen, so it felt safer to be in Austria close to family rather than in the middle of the Atlantic. If such a situation was to occur a second time, I would probably stay in Madeira.
As the next day was Friday the 13th we decided to book the next best flight which was on Sunday. On Friday we met our local friend and she, who had some insight into local politics, told us that if she was in our position she would leave immediately. So we booked another flight, for Saturday. With a strange feeling, some masks and four flight tickets in our pockets we left Paul do Mar early in the morning at 5 am. A few days later I found out that the first infected person was in Madeira already before we left.
Corona situation in Madeira 2021
At the moment the situation in Madeira is not the best, but not as bad as in most of Europe. They have a really good screening program upon arrival at the airport. I will not go into details here, but just want to say that I am confident that we will be back soon. And start building our house! This is my New Year’s resolution.
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