I dropped in at this year´s Danish Breakdancing Championship, held at GAME StreetMekka. If anything, months of quarantine and Corona havoc has only sharpened everyone´s game. This was also the first time that the women´s championship has been held in Denmark – landmark stuff!
The times we live in are surreal – for all of us. In a world in which mobility became something we took for granted, the fact that we are, by all accounts, severely limited when it comes to our travel plans, is something that takes some getting used to.
Anyhow, after the first major wave of global infections had been somewhat curtailed via detailed lockdowns, it is now possible to fly again, albeit with carriers operating routes at a fraction of their normal capacity and with a raft of health restrictions in place to ensure the safety of all travellers and curb the spread of COVID-19 as far as possible.
My little family flew just over a week ago – a short domestic flight from Aalborg to Copenhagen as we returned from our surf holiday in Jutland and I´d like to share some of the experiences of doing so, for anyone wondering if it´s safe to fly currently.
This is a flight we´ve taken numerous times but this experience was unique in every sense. Here are some of the answers to questions a lot of people may be asking themselves right now.
- Where can I fly to?
The answer to this question changes every day. However, KAYAK have made a useful page on which you can keep track of travel restrictions per country – with a regularly updated map that shows whether a country´s borders are completely closed, partially open, set to re-open soon or completely closed.
Similarly, in the interest of keeping you informed, momondo has made this hub with all the info you need about COVID-19 and flying at the moment.
- Is it safe to fly?
The short answer is yes – if you wear a mask at all times from just before you enter the airport to when you reach your final destination – i.e. in our case, our home in Copenhagen. This includes wearing the mask on public transportation – not yet a requirement in Denmark, but honestly, it should be common sense in the middle of a pandemic by now to wear a mask at all times in public transport – peak and off-peak.
At the airport – you need a mask and won´t be allowed past airport security without one (we saw a chap with a makeshift scarf who was instructed to buy a mask before proceeding.) Don´t be that guy!
This said, how safe it is to fly also depends where you´re going. In our case, a short internal flight in a country that at the time of writing has its COVID-19 outbreak under control, is low-risk, you could argue.
- What sort of mask should I get?
I recommend a standard medical mask (see below) as they don´t slip off your nose that easily (compared to synthetic masks, for example.) You need to change your mask every 2-3 hours (as soon as you can feel it getting moist,) otherwise it´s not effective. Synthetic masks last longer but my personal opinion is that they don´t protect as well.
- Does my child need a face mask?
Children under the age of 6 are not required to wear a face mask
- Can I take my mask off to eat?
Obviously, yes. Try to distance yourself from others when doing so, however.
- What else can I do to fly safely ?
Sanitize your hands as often as possible and keep your distance. Our flight was more filled than I expected it to be but people were good at staying apart, with the exception of a select few who decided to block the aisle once the plane came to a standstill and they felt the urge to clamber out (some things will never change.)
- I forgot to buy a mask before arriving at the airport – can I still make my flight?
Depending on the airport, you will probably be able to purchase masks either in one of the terminal buildings or just before the security check. Come prepared though so you don´t make a fool of yourself, or worse, contract COVID-19. It goes without saying – if you have a fever or other COVID-19 symptoms, it´s probably best to stay home or at the very least, get tested.
This is the second installation of the series on the island of Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia.
This article focuses specifically on Dream Beach – a wonderful sandy beach on the south of the island. Read part I of the article here.
As with many things, the best time ton visit Dream Beach is either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Nusa Lembongan´s population tends to multiply by a factor of 8 at noon every day when hordes of tourists on day trips from Bali flock to it, which takes the shine off what is otherwise a peaceful island that is home to some very friendly locals.
While on Nusa Lembongan, be sure to explore the nearby islands of Ceningan (accessible by bridge) and Nusa Penida (a 10-min ferry ride will get you there.) Read my article on the island of Nusa Penida here.
You´ll find Nusa Lembongan just off Bali. If Bali is the raucous upstairs neighbour, Nusa Lembongan is the quiet old man who lives down the street. I love this island and I hope it remains as it is – relatively liberated from the pitfalls of mass tourism. You can easily walk around Nusa Lembongan (or take a scooter or taxi at night) and there are some great surf spots by Jungut Batu Beach!
In this article, you´ll find visual inspiration from Jungut Batu Beach, Mushroom Bay, Devil´s Tear and Sandy Bay. Part II of this article focuses exclusively on Dream Beach.
Scroll to the bottom of this article for tips on where to stay and where to eat.
Jungut Batu Beach
The main beach on the island, more touristy than the rest of it but it´s also where the surf breaks are and you´ll find no shortage of accomodation options + restaurants.
A much quieter alternative to Jungut Batu. Walk 3 minutes away from the beach and you´ll find yourself in jungle-like confines.
Sheer nature at its best. Go there either really early in the morning or late in the afternoon when all the day tourists are done flocking here in their hundreds.
A lovely little bay north of Devil´s Tear (walk here from the former – the seaside here is a story in itself.)
Where to stay
Naturale Villas – Basic but very charming. Read my Tripadvisor review here.
Where to eat
Hai Bar & Grill: Try the tuna steak! Read my review here.
Hai Ri Zen: Right alongside the aforementioned Hai Bar & Grill: It´s more upscale but I prefer the former.
Thai Pantry: Waterfont bliss – try one of their juices! Read my review here.
The Deck Cafe and Bar: Also by the water (on the quiet side of Jungut Batu Beach – a great place for morning juice / brunch. Read my review here.
Mola Mola Coffee Shop: A quiet cafe by Mushroom Bay – perfect for watching the sun go down. Read my review here.
Sandy Bay Beach Club: Amazing setting (right by the epic Sandy Bay,) average vibes. Read my review here.
Where to Surf
*The main breaks are all along the long stretch of beach called Jungut Batu.
* Of these, Playgrounds is the easiest but also the most crowded (get there early.) It´s also the southernmost break of the 4 main breaks here (excluding Tamarind which is further south but poor if you ask me
* Further up, you will find the breaks called “Lacerations,” “No-man´s land,” “Razors” and “Shipwrecks.” – in this order as you go up the coast. As the names suggest, these are not for beginners or intermediates so only paddle out there if you know what you´re doing.
* There are plenty of surf rentals along Jungut Batu (I prefer the ones that are not on the main beach.)
* Carry a water bottle with you if you, like me, walk from one end of the island to the other (you can also hitch a scooter ride.)
For how to get to this island, read my Tripadvisor review of Ketut´s taxi service . I strongly suggest steering clear of all the many all-inclusive offers for trips to Nusa Penida that your hotel or accommodation will no doubt have on offer. We found Ketut´s service to be cheaper and cosier. You can tailor your trip with him – these are the three sites we visited that were worth photographing (Angel Billabong is not featured here as it´s on the way to Broken Beach (see below) and I personally didn´t find it appealing.
Broken Beach (Pasih Uug)
Where to stay:
Atta Mesari Villas: Check out my review on TripAdvisor
Where to eat:
The Spell Creperie: Read my Tripadvisor review here.
Must-do: The Campuhan Ridge Walk – the best way to see Bali
Don´t do: Tegallalang rice terraces (or similar tourist traps. You can see the plenty of rice terraces on your own.) I found the monkey forest in the middle of Ubud rather unpleasant as well – a bona fide intention to have humans and monkeys co-exist but tourism spoils this relationship (my opinion.)
General: Ubud is scenic and worth a visit. I preferred other areas of Bali, such as those by the seaside. However, it is a great base from which to see the unspoiled north (Munduk and other areas as well as Amed – a great place to Snorkel!
Where to eat in Canggu ( click on each link for my Tripadvisor Reviews of each:)
La Plancha (Seminyak) (5 / 5 stars)
The Avocado Factory (4 / 5 stars)
La Calita Bar y Cocina (4 / 5 stars)
Seaweed Resto (4 / 5 stars)
We stayed at Eastin Ashta Canggu – apart from the buffet, everything else was poor at this hotel so I wouldn´t recommend it. Here´s my full review on Tripadvisor.
The Empire State Building
Yes, the one from King Kong.
The High Line
You´ll find this unique building at the end of The High Line. It´s free to enter but you have to book a ticket online in advance (2 days in advance, to be safe.)
The birth of my baby boy a year or so ago changed everything in my life – a cliche phrase tossed around with reckless abandon by fathers the world over, I´m sure.
Anyhow, in this case, it really did. Not only was Tristan´s birth a complicated affair for both his mother and him, it was something that made him a colic baby (defined as a healthy baby who cries for more than 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week.)
Without going into too many details – my boy´s birth was traumatic but nothing he and his mum didn´t recover fully from almost immediately. His colic meant that he only slept for more hours at a time if we pushed him in his pram or rocked him in his hammock. As as you may imagine, we gained arm muscles and walked the diameter of the earth and back for a good 11 months or so, before he eventually learned to sleep for longer periods, without being rocked.
It was singlehandedly the hardest thing I´ve ever had to conquer – while managing a full-time job (when not on paternity leave) and keeping my training regimes going – cutting down from training 3-4 times a week, to just once but it was all worth it in the end. As a child from a home rocked by my father´s alcoholism and violence (and actually, this is the first time I´ve ever shared this in writing – though most who know me are aware of this unfortunate but very real part of my life) the opportunity to be a dad to a little boy is something I take seriously. And while I know most parents take their responsibilities seriously, sadly there are still too many cases of poor parenting, often marred by excessive drugs and alcohol. This is something I will never respect nor condone – if you´re not ready for children – it´s simple – refrain.
Enough about that for now though – in the spirit of sharing some of the many memories of the last year, here are a few pics of my boy and I out on the road – to inspire all the upcoming parents out there. Walking my boy was always an adventure, whatever the weather – I took it as an opportunity to get out of the house (sometimes for 2 longs walks a day, spanning 1-2.5 hours each ) and as long as I had a good podcast in my ears and clothing to suit the elements, it was fun – meditative even.
Needless to say, my fiancée and I could not have gone the distance without the help of erstwhile equipment – 3 separate prams helped us through it all. One of these is a tank that we use to put our boy to sleep on the balcony or outside, now that he has learned how to sleep without being pushed around. I have no idea what make it is (my mother in-law donated it to us after finding it God knows where) but It´s saved us quite a few miles so we have a soft spot for it.
The other 2, however – things of beauty no less are as follows ( for all you up and coming parents ; )
Cybex Priam: A bit on the pricey end but we´ve never regretted buying this stylish pram. One nifty detail is the brown leather handle, which adds a touch of class to the entire construction. The priam is small and nimble, unlike the tank-like Emma Jungas and similar which barely fit into Copenghagen´s small lobbies let alone public transport. I recommend getting the cot and the lux carry cot with the priam.
For our holidays (and we had many of these to the Danish west coast where our folks live as well as to the Indonesian islands for a month, with a transit in Qatar,) I can recommend the Babyzen Yoyo Stroller. This foldable baby (pun intended) comes in a beautiful case that fits the cabin luggage requirements of all airlines (unless you fly with Ryanair or similar, which I strongly advocate you don´t in anycase.) We found it extremely handy and manoeuvrable – even in the potholed streets of Bali.
And now – those photos, I hope you enjoy them.