Four Cobar residents have recently returned from a round the world trip that didn’t quite go to plan with their holiday interrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Vivienne and Geoff Davis, along with Sue Goonrey and Denise Dunne and two friends from Adelaide, headed off on the holiday of a lifetime, but that holiday also included four weeks in isolation and two weeks without alcohol (for Viv and Geoff)!
Viv said while she had some concerns before they set off, they were however allayed by their travel agent and also the Department of Immigration who said they had nothing to worry about the virus in China.
And for the first part of their trip, which began in India with 10 days in New Delhi, there was nothing to worry about.
They visited the Taj Mahal (the same day and US president Donald Trump and wife Melania) and then boarded their cruise ship, the Costa Victoria, in Mumbai.
Their 28 day cruise itinerary however was changed almost immediately as they were supposed to head to the Maldives but, with the port closed, they were re-directed to Dubai.
From there they cruised to Moscow and did some touring.
“For about 8 or 10 days the cruise was fairly normal, we just weren’t allowed to get off,” Viv said.
“We still had entertainment and played games, the captain was talking to us every day letting us know what was happening in the rest of the world. We were lucky and seemed to be ahead of the virus,” she said.
As per the original itinerary, they were supposed to disembark in Venice, do a tour of Italy and finish their trip in Paris. From there they would fly back home.
However they spent a lot of time cruising around the Mediterranean trying to find somewhere the ship could dock.
Viv said they were lucky that no one on board had contracted the virus.
“We were fortunate because the hygiene on the ship was wonderful, everything was really clean there wasn’t one case on our ship when we got off.”
After a stint in isolation in their cabins on board the ship, they eventually disembarked in Rome.
Viv said they felt like prisoners as they were escorted by police through the deserted city to the airport.
Viv said while social distancing was strictly adhered to at the airport, they were however “packed in like sardines” on the plane.
From Rome they flew to Perth and went into 14 days isolation in city hotels.
Viv and Geoff were put up at the Casino, and the rest of their group were at other motels.
“We had a beautiful view of the city and we are very lucky we like each other’s company.
“Geoff is an avid reader but he nearly wore the carpet out in the motel and there was no alcohol. Susan and Denise had alcohol in their motel,” she said.
Viv said they had guards at the door, the lift and the fire escape.
“We never left our room. It was a $10,000 fine if you did, or if you smoked or drank alcohol.
“I felt very sorry for the smokers because there were quite a few of them, and no one had windows that opened outside.
“I don’t know how I would have survived without technology,” she said.
“We were able to keep in touch with everybody.”
After their two weeks of isolation in Perth, the Davis’, Susan and Denise had more dramas trying to get back to NSW after WA had closed their state borders.
They eventually flew back to Sydney, picked up their car and drove straight home to Cobar.
“If we knew it was going to be such a hassle we would have cancelled and stayed at home.
“It’s wonderful to be home in the community where everyone waves when we sit out the front. It’s just lovely to be a part of a small town,” a relieved Viv said.