Splendid isolation

We have been breathing the fresh country air on our terrace while admireing the view of the Alps. We have been enjoying cold local beer at a local outdoor farmhouse pub while listening to the cows eating. Lockdown? Who is he? Do we know him? Have we met him at all?

While people all over the globe have been complaining over rather hard restrictions, we have been asking ourselves what it has really been about! Nobody has ever tried to stop us from going shopping, exercising on the local pathways or taking our garbage out!

On a more serious note, we are not trying to mock the fact that the corona pandemic has caused a lot of misery the world over, from lost businesses and lost incomes and lost lives. The sad sides of the situation has come rather close to us as well, DH’s aunt died in hospital in May after having spent the last months of her life totally cut off from her loved ones. A lot of people, us included, were not able to go to the funeral to say goodbye. Of our two home countries Norway has been a healthier place to be than Switzerland, but the economy has been hit very hard. Still, an advantage of being a pensioner is that the money arrives every month even if we make no attempt to work for it!

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Civilization, so close, yet so far away. The town of Vitznau, 1000 meters below us, as we see it from our terrace.

What we are actually trying to say is that we have had a lot more luck with our three months of lockdown than most people. After travelling to Switzerland for a winter visit ES broke her arm in March just a couple of days before we were due to return to Norway. As a direct result we were not able to travel at all. As it turned out, our Swiss mountain resort was a much better place to lock ourselves down in, than our official home in Oslo city center. We had more space and more freedom both indoors and outdoors, we had more family close by as we ended up sharing our flat with The Daughter, and we basically had a pretty nice time. The Daughter had been on a long planned tour of the world when the pandemic struck. She had quit her job and her flat, but had to travel back to Switzerland in a hurry to ride out the storm staying with us!

She was not the only traveller who had to stop travelling. Our mountain village is a proper tourist hot spot, but suddenly nobody was allowed to come anymore! This was bad for local business of course, but good for local health. To our knowledge our community have not had one single case of the bug at all.

All in all we have counted the days and our blessings and enjoyed life. As long as the village shop stayed open we could tolerate the restaurants being closed. The local shopkeeper started an improvised net service; we sent him a list in the evening and by 9 am he had prepared our stuff in a cart in the back room. We had to go to there and pick it up, but we did not have to enter the building!

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The cows arrived in May for their annual alpine holidays, and with them came the hope that lockdown might come to an end along with the winter.

One restaurant even handed out free meals every Wednesday for two full months! we vewry much recomend them to anybody passing by, the Kräuterhotel Edelweiss, they even have a Michelin star! Their generous offer was to local residents «in the risk group», and a quick look at our birth certificates revealed that we qualified for the service! The Bug, according to the news, is not so bad for young people but a serious threat to the elderly. The elderly should not take any chances, they should not babysit their grandchildren, they should stay well away from crowds. The elderly has always been somebody else, now it isn’t anymore. It was us, whether we liked it or not. And to be totally honest….we didn’t!

In real life we have had only one worry: we had to sell our Oslo flat during the month of May. It was a process that made us quite nervous. Instead of being hands on in decorating it, marketing it and showing it to potential buyers, we had to sit in another country remote controlling an estate agent via email and telephone. It was rather stressful. We had half a million Euro hanging on the deal without really knowing what was going on. Still, we got there in the end! Like most people who sell a house we wished we had gotten a little bit more, but all in all our man came up with a buyer who paid a price we could live with.

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A ten-minute walk from our house this alpine mountain pub could finally open. In their outdoor area they had no problems with following the two-metre-rule!

And finally, on June 6, it was time to leave. As it happened, it was four months to the day since our arrival in February for a visit that was meant to last five weeks. Flying Corona Airlines from Zurich via Frankfurt to Oslo was an experience in itself. Masks on, keep your distance and wash your hands even more often than usual! No hotel breakfast buffet, no tax free shopping, no pre-flight beer stop! It even gave us a short little lecture in different European regulations! In Zurich airport we had to keep a two meter distance, in Frankfurt it was 1,5 and in Oslo Gardermoen down to 1,0! In Sweden nobody bothers about anything as we all know, but luck had it that we did not have to go there!

We are now posting this from an Oslo apartment that is not really ours anymore. The chap who bought it does not take over until end of July, so we can enjoy our old hometown for another seven weeks. However, to be more exact, right now we have to restrict ourselves to enjoying it from our balcony. Before we can go anywhere other than to the grocery shop we have to serve a 10 day mandatory Norwegian quarantine. We look forward to seeing our Norwegian friends again, but a few days in a self-quarantine is a price we are very much willing to pay!

And before you ask, the answer is yes. We do miss our Swiss mountain walks, but we will do them again come September!

 

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