Oska recounts how Cortijo Opazo has managed during the pandemic of 2020.
Light at the end of the lock down
Well, we are almost there. June 21st, Spain re-opens its borders and we can travel anywhere we wish within Spain - and beyond, presumably.
It all started at midnight on March 14th. Tension had been building during the week before and it was obvious that in Spain drastic measures were going to be taken. The tall ones had planned a shopping trip on the 12th anyway, so took the opportunity to stock up on essentials - not panic buying, you understand, but a few extra tins of dog meat and a large bag of dog meal came home that day. Social plans were cancelled and we all had the feeling of entering unchartered territory.
Then all became silent - mind you, it’s usually quite silent here in the Alpujarras. The country was in lock down, essential movement only. A state that was to be tightened to ‘hibernation’ over the period of Easter.
Visits to the supermarket were tentative, nobody knew how to respond to this new reality. Spanish politeness prevailed, but behind the masks nobody could see you smiling. Week by week the lockdown was extended and enforced rigorously. For more than two months the tall ones drove no further than Pitres - 1.5km away - to do our shopping. Morning walks were our only escape - suddenly it seemed that a dog was a prize to have since it justified a small level of freedom.
However, at Cortijo Opazo, despite the lack of guests, life seemed to carry on as normal. Gardening was the order of each and every day, but isn’t that always the way? With no guests, we missed the comings and goings of people, but the season of Spring came and went with an unusual amount of rain, giving way to a glorious Summer with an abundance of wild and garden flowers.
Then lockdown was lifted, but did we notice any difference? A cautious trip to Granada to have the car serviced, a timid jaunt to la Herradura to check all was well there. These have been the only excursions so far. The Alpujarras remain quiet, the coaches have not returned to Pampaneira and there are no hire cars to be seen on the roads. On the coast, they are making plans for the beaches and how to manage the return of tourists, but nothing is certain. The daily news contradicts itself, borders are open, quarantine is lifted, but only for certain countries, there will be a tourist season this summer, there will be a second wave of the virus. Nobody knows, the expectation is for a return to something like normality, but the reality does not seem to meet this.
The pandemic has altered us already. Now it seems natural to maintain distance from friends that we meet and to don masks when we encounter strangers in the street. When we watch films from the time before the pandemic, now it seems to us strange how easily they embrace each other and enjoy close company. History has given us a defining moment, before and after the pandemic. There is talk of a ‘new normality’. In the 1960’s and 70’s we lived with the real threat and fear of a nuclear holocaust that could have arrived in a moment and destroy all that we knew, but we became used to that threat, found a new normality then. Today we have the virus and we can’t imagine how life can continue as it was. There is no sign of it going away nor is there yet a vaccine, but maybe the new normality will mean that we simply live with the threat and adapt accordingly.
This is what my tall companions have been musing about anyway. As for me, Ella and Rosie, we just like the fact that they stocked up on food.
But if you can arrive safely, Cortijo Opazo will welcome you, and really, can there be a better place to escape the chaos of the outside world and to spend time apart physically distanced from others? Please get in touch.