While in Mexico we heard horror stories of the chaos at the airports when returning to Canada, so we prepared ourselves for the worst and ended up with the best. No doubt the preparation I did putting all the information into the ArriveCan app and setting up an account with Switch Health eased the process. Leaving Mexico was a breeze! Passport please, OK; Do you have your ArriveCan code? YES; Do you have your negative covid test results? YES; OK off you go 👍
On February 5 we landed in Calgary, disembarked; cleared immigration quickly using the NEXUS line; got told we both had to have a covid swab; collected our luggage (for the first time in history my bag came out first and Blair’s was 4th); made our way over to the covid testing area; registered, got tested immediately and were sent on our way. From the time we exited the plane until the time we were in a taxi took 35 minutes…that has to be some sort of land speed record arrival, even in pre covid times!! We did notice when we were leaving that the lineup for the covid tests had gotten quite long so I suspect the fact we got our luggage first was the reason we breezed through the whole process. The most ridiculous part of this whole arrival scenario is that despite being fully vaxxed and negative tested two days before flying we had to quarantine until we got the results of the covid test taken at the airport. We were told 3 to 5 days while at the airport but we received our results in 34 hours.
Now, the burning question is why on earth did we come to Calgary in February??? It was not our choice but after leaving Baja, Mexico we needed to pop in and take care of business. First off, we wanted to get our covid booster shot for added protection during our upcoming travels, which we could not get in Mexico, and second, we had a couple of health checks to tick off before embarking on our 6 months in Europe. It’s reassuring to have the all-clear from the docs before hitting the road again 👍
We are members of a variety of “nomad” groups on Facebook and once in a while, the chance to meet up with fellow nomads comes up. While in Calgary we had the pleasure of meeting JD & Sheri and Howard & Whitney, fellow nomads we had only met online until February 8 when we met face to face. JD & Sheri have been nomads a bit longer than we have and Howard & Whitney (from Calgary coincidentally) are embarking on their nomad life so we had a wide variety of experiences to share and travel plans to discuss. It’s a joy to meet other full-time travelers who understand the feeling of wanderlust, I am always amazed at how much we have in common and how they inspire us. We were having so much fun chatting that the restaurant turned the lights off, I think they wanted us to leave before the dinner crowd arrived 😂 We all agreed to keep in touch and meet again when we are in the same part of the world. Interestingly, we were supposed to meet JD & Sheri in Australia back in 2020 but covid hit, borders were closed and they were unable to enter Australia. Here we are almost 2 years later and they are in my home town at the same time we are, amazing!!
We arranged another meeting with JD & Sheri before they headed north to Jasper on Feb 13. It was a lovely day in Calgary so we took a walk around Sandy Beach park followed by lunch in Marda Loop.
Our month in Calgary also holds the distinction of where I contracted covid 😢 We tested negative 2 weeks before our flight from Mexico, we tested negative 2 days before our flight from Mexico, we tested negative upon arrival in Calgary, we wore masks during our entire travel day and yet it happened! That being said Omicron is everywhere and just like the common cold we will never know from who/how/where/when I caught it. I mentioned in an earlier post that Blair thinks he had covid while we were in Mexico so he feels protected and luckily did not get sick this time. Getting our covid boosters 4 days after we arrived in Calgary was of no help to me and the fatigue and sore arm from the vaccine just changed into full-on unrelated covid symptoms. Something I have noticed with every couple we know who has had covid is that the women get sicker than the men, not sure what’s up with that!! Blair seemed to be mildly out of sorts with headaches and fatigue while in Mexico but I got the full package-severe coughing fits, head and chest congestion, headaches, body aches, and overall fatigue. Pretty much felt like I got run over by a truck!!! The dry cough lingered so long that I needed a steroid inhaler to heal my lungs before flying to Italy, the last thing one needs is to try and explain your symptoms when you don’t speak the language. All that being said, we are grateful that we are vaccinated and I did not require medical care. Fingers crossed that being triple vaxxed and recovered from covid gives us added protection over the coming months 🤞
The rest of our time in Calgary, we ran errands, replaced some clothing, bought new walking shoes, replaced a broken cell phone, got a haircut, reorganized the suitcases, and enjoyed a little time with family and friends. Our suitcase contents had to be completely rotated to remove all the hot weather clothing we took to Mexico and pack warmer layers to carry us through late winter into summer in Europe. I always pack too many clothes, even after 4 plus years on the road, so I am doing my best to take less and leave room for some souvenir t-shirts. We’ll see how that goes when we leave Calgary 😂😂
So, back to the being recovered from covid part. The rules were quite vague regarding entry to Italy after you have had covid and providing proof of recovery from Canada was going to be a challenge, plus we really didn’t know if it would be accepted. A person who has had covid can potentially return a positive PCR test for 90 days…yikes. That would have left us down to the wire getting tested before flying and hoping to get a negative result. Well, 5 days before our flight we read the headline that Italy was removing all pre-arrival covid testing effective March 1st. Woohoo, no testing means our plans are full steam ahead!! We had spent the previous 3 days coming up with plan B and plan C in case my test came back positive and we could not enter Italy, now all that stress and worry has gone away!! Ahhh, the joys of travel during covid!!!
Good fortune continued to shine our way when 4 days before our 9.5 hour overnight flight to Frankfurt we received confirmation that the airline had accepted our bid to upgrade to first-class sleeper pods. It’s definitely worth it to make a bid and if successful it costs much less than paying upfront for first-class. You never know until a few days before the flight but in the end, our wait was rewarded. Rome here we come…..