It’s time to say goodbye to this adventure. But even going back home is an adventure itself during pandemic times. There were no direct flights between Portugal and Italy. I had to go to an airport in a different region and to do one layover in Frankfurt to go home. In the end, I spent a total of 25 hours between the train station in Padua and my home in Barcelos. After this adventure, I’ve never been so happy about landing in my own country.
Everything started at 5 pm (Italian time) at Padua train station. I took a fast train (Frecciarossa) to Milano Centrale. For the ones who don’t know, Milan is the capital of the Lombardia region and Padua is situated in Veneto region. And I took this trip at the time the frontiers between the regions were still closed.
Anyway, the train was not even half full and the customer service reduced – for the reason they gave me a bag containing a mask, gloves, disinfectant and a can of water. When we arrived at Milano Centrale there was a line of police officers at the end of the platform checking everyone’s documentation preventing people from entering the region without a proper reason. I was lucky. I didn’t print my autocertificazione and I was ready to show my reservation to Porto and explain the situation to them. But that was not necessary because, when I walked towards one of the officers, he noticed I had some document ready to show on my phone screen and simply allowed me to pass without verifying it.
Milano Centrale had more police officers than passengers and all the shops were closed. For somebody that had already been there in the past, this is very strange and, reaches a level that makes you feel more uncomfortable than safe. I took another train from Milano Centrale to Malpensa already feeling tired and a bit sick. Again, the train was almost empty as well as all the train stations we were passing by.
As I was going to Malpensa the day before my flight I decided to book an hotel so I could rest a bit between trips. And this was a very good decision. Not only I was tired from the previous trip, but I still had 7 hours of travelling in the next day. I really liked the place where I stayed, so I leave the tip here for people who are going to take a morning flight from Malpensa –https://www.booking.com/hotel/it/sleep-amp-fly-malpensa.en-gb.html . (No, this is not an affiliate link and I am not getting any money out of this.) They have a nice breakfast and there’s also a restaurant next to the place in case you wanna have dinner (I didn’t try this one, so I cannot advise it but at least you know you have options). Also, I advise you to either hire a transfer service or to get a cab because the streets around there are not very friendly to walk with luggage – they are mostly hight speed streets.
The next day I woke up at 7 am, so I could calmly take a shower and have breakfast. I hired the transfer for 8h30 and he was very punctual. My flight was only at 10h30, but I was worried about the controls at the airport and I didn’t have my boarding passes yet.
In the end, there were no many people in the airport. They checked my temperature at the entrance and there was a man directing people to the right desk. There were police officers controlling the reasons why people were travelling, but as I was a foreigner heading back to my home country I didn’t have any problem.
To Frankfurt, I travelled on Air Dolomiti. The plane was half full, it was not allowed to sit next to another passager and the customer service was reduced – they were only serving packed stuff like biscuits and water.
At Frankfurt airport, I got lost, but eventually, I found my way for the connection flight. I was surprised by the number of people in the airport but it all made sense when I found out that in there it was allowed to have the plain fully booked. I travelled with Lufthansa and the plane was full. There were some unhappy passengers because apparently they had been waiting for a flight to Porto for over 8 hours and they were expecting the middle seat to be empty.
It took me 3 more hours from Frankfurt to Porto. I fell asleep. At this point, I was extremely tired. When I landed I noticed some differences between Porto’s airport and the previous ones. In Portugal the frontiers are open, so there weren’t any identity controls and there were fewer restrictions (there were not sealed seats preventing people from sitting next to each other, for example). They measured my temperature at the exit and there were security agents at the exits preventing people from entering the airport for no reason. It was quiet.
When my mom picked me up at the airport I was so happy about being back. I love adventures and living in a foreign country was great. I wanna travel more and I can picture myself in the future working abroad surrounded by people from all over the world. But after 4 months and a quarantine apart, seeing my loved ones was amazing (even though I couldn’t hug them). I arrived home at 5 pm (Portuguese time), 6 pm (Italian time). 25 hours after I left Padua.
Now I have a quarantine to do (even though it isn’t mandatory) and my thesis to write. I’ll keep you updated on my Instagram 😉
This is my last post from the Erasmus diary series. I hope you liked it. Give me some feedback at the comments, please. 🙂