Callum, 34, was just intended to be seeing the French city of Lyon for a week but he’s been stranded in France for nearly four months.
The program developer from Belfast made the trip throughout the station to spend some time with his girlfriend, but on the next day of his live, rigorous lockdown steps were released in France.
Since EU boundaries started increasingly closing and with operating an alternative, Callum chose to keep in France to not be separated from his spouse.
However, this choice meant he was not able to come home for many months — something that he could not have envisioned just a couple weeks earlier.
As lockdown steps have been eased, he is traveling back to see his family and friends.
Since France began to open public spaces, the UK introduced quarantine restrictions for people coming from overseas, creating a trip home impractical for Callum. Upon hearing news that England was going to lift these constraints by the July 10, he bought tickets to travel the next day, trusting that Northern Ireland would perform the same. This did not occur until two weeks before he had been intended to traveling, which results in an anxious wait for the applications programmer.
Before the outbreak, it was possible to fly straight in Lyon to Dublin from the Republic of Ireland and occasionally Belfast in Northern Ireland.
And he is off!
The stage was active in the railroad station in Lyon. Social distancing measures are common on public transportation in France, with a single passenger being granted to every 2 chairs. But on this train, after the directions on his ticket, Callum needed to sit beside another passenger.
Also, the airline that he had been traveling had hauled passengers might not be permitted to travel when they did not have any documentation needed by their destination state. Without access to your printer, he chose to compose a version of this shape by hand.
The strangest thing Callum discovered about Charles De Gaulle Airport was how silent it was. It’s normally among the busiest airports in the world, with over 200,000 passengers each day, but it now appeared nearly empty and also a significant number of shops have been shut.
Passengers were taken in the gate into the airplane by bus. Three buses were working for this particular flight to permit for social distancing, with various chairs on each vehicle recorded off and mark on the ground showing people where they ought to stand.
Upon boarding the plane, every passenger has been given disinfectant wipes to their chair. The team has been wearing facemasks and gloves. Just more than half the seats on the airplane were reserved along with the airline seemed to awarded each passenger two chairs to themselves where possible, but some folks were sat side-by-side. Callum maintained his face mask throughout this phase of the journey also.
From the atmosphere, Callum needed to fill out the following form that has been passed from the cabin crew. It had been double-sided, therefore it might be filled out in English or French and asked for information regarding the traveler’s flight, in which they had been sitting and contact info.
“It appears likely to me that this is to allow contact tracing if there happen to be an individual reporting an illness on the airplane, although the forms were not gathered at Dublin airport,” Callum said.
Upon landing, Callum also discovered Dublin airport to be quite quiet. Aside from the inclusion of floor markers and hand sanitizer that were common-place in most public areas, things from the airport looked otherwise unchanged.
Printed versions of this form he had were offered to fill out at the airport, with various stands showing heaps of blank copies before boundary control.
Callum handed his variant into the boundary control officer and needed to eliminate his face mask temporarily for an identity test.
Social media was observed on the bus into Belfast, with a single chair in each delegated. Wearing masks was also compulsory during the excursion.
Home at last
The streets of Belfast appeared surreal as Callum walked for the first time since the beginning of lockdown.
He came home on a Saturday day and although pubs and restaurants had lately been permitted to reopen, a few were closed and the roads nearly empty.