Updated: Aug 18
After months of speculation thanks to the global pandemic, and our trip in May cancelled, re-planned then postponed as late as possible... we were finally on our way to Romania. This was also not before a week of due diligence checking literally all the advice. Yes, Romania was spiking with Covid-19 cases but the British Ambassador via his Facebook page did reassure me that the spikes were very town and county specific. As we are only headed to the capital of Bucharest and the county of Transylvania, both which have quite low cases comparatively, my concern was assuaged and we ploughed on.
On Wednesday at 6pm we had a "drive thru" Covid-19 test in Guildford as I thought it may be a good idea. It was fabulously well organised from the booking, to the drive thru itself as I was told how to self administer test (basically, a cotton bud to the back of the throat and the same one in each nostril), keeping inside my vehicle, windows up until we go to the point where I seemingly had to throw my test out of my window and into a plastic box held by a man in full PPE! Even Tiger had a test which was a surprise as I had thought that she wouldn't be allowed being under 5, but no, it was fine, just cotton bud up the nose for her and the hardest part was me climbing over into the back seat to reach her! By 10am on Thursday, my phone beeped and the texts and emails simultaneously arrived in my inbox - we are negative hooray!
On Friday 31st July, at London Heathrow Airport for the 12.20 BA flight to Bucharest was a fairly different place. Everyone wears masks throughout the airport, although small children and babies are exempt. Now I absolutely don't mind wearing a mask but I had to wear mine for quite a significant amount of time and whilst bearable, whilst in the airport, security, on the plane, and in Bucharest... some 8 hours in total - it really makes you wonder what it must be like to have to wear them day in day out in a medical setting. But you don't have to wear them to eat food so we enjoyed our breakfast at Gordon Ramsey Plane Food!
And now the fun bit... survival on a 3 hour flight with a toddler. The last time Tiger and I had flown was in September 2019 when she was 8 months old - oh how times have changed! Well, at Heathrow the play area I'd eyed up before had disappeared thanks to Covid-19, but we were allowed through to check in first and run around a bit before boarding. At the gate, we handed in the Doona and I put her in the Ergo baby carrier to get onto the plane.
I had everything crossed I may be able to wear her out and have her nap on the plane but it didn't quite work out that way. BA had put us in the window seat but we also had a spare middle seat so we could spread out over the two. Tiger played with everything surrounding her seat, spent a fair amount of time lifting the window blinds up and down and playing peek-a-boo with people behind us. The cabin crew were amazing and we eventually resorted to walking up and down the aisle and for the last 45 minutes she passed out (and so did I!).
When we arrived I had to get her back into the Ergo on my front as the Doona wouldn't be appearing until the baggage carousel. So cue the usual long walk, but speedily through immigration and no Covid-19 testing or needing to show birth certificates - seamless. At the baggage carousel I was clearly immediately identified by the people working there as needing help and I therefore had someone pull off my big silver case, the travel cot, and the Doona. We exited the airport and met with the Klaaswagen rep, taken down in a lift and out through a car park on the road to await a minibus to take us to the Klaaswagen office. Slight hitch when I got a call from the baggage people, to say I had taken someone else's suitcase! This has never happened! Thankfully, we hadn't left and could quickly run back inside and exchange cases.
Once I was finally at the Klaaswagen offices I had another fight on my hands declining insurance as I have my own to cover the excess. We shall see how that works out but as things stand I have paid just 87 euro for 18 days of car hire, had 1070 euro blocked on my credit card for 30 days, and an annual multi trip insurance from Zurich to insure the excess for £38 for a year. I have (almost) no doubt we'll be screwed for something but hopefully Zurich will cover it and I'll have saved 200 euro for Klaaswagen's insurance. Anyhow, for the time being we are proud renters of a Dacia Logan, which everyone is now telling me is a "good Romanian car". All I know is the electric windows only open for the driver and passenger, the back seats have wind down windows!