Isolation Diary: Day 43 in Benidorm Spain Lockdown

Saturday 2nd May 2020

Walking the dog in Benidorm lockdown freedom

I couldn’t sleep at all. I kept waking up in the night with a bright light in my face. Here’s a major flaw error with the Apple Watch, when you put it on nighttime mode the light still flashes up when you life your arm. You have to remember to change two settings every night otherwise you’re constantly woken up by it. Why not just make a setting that put it to sleep mode?

By half past 6, I was up and writing. It was still dark out and I couldn’t see anybody even though half an hour ago was officially freedom day. It felt different today. I opened the curtains and looked out and knew I’d be living for just a while out there. To walk the streets, feel the sun on my skin and the wind in my hair. Why weren’t still in the apartment because we had to be, we were here still because we wanted to be. The priceless feeling of freedom.

Sunrise over the old town Benidorm

I’ve never really taken much notice of how important freedom is. Of course, that sounds ridiculous I knew I was lucky to have freedom and of course I loved being able to go out and see new places, but I took for granted that choice to go out. I’d never known the feeling of not having that choice so I had nothing to realistically compare it to. I imagine it’s been like a dramatic version of being grounded. I was needed grounded when I was younger, so I can’t say how that feels but I imagine it has felt the same for a child.

Rio sat with me for half an hour or so before he wanted to go and wake Alex. I don’t know why Rio does that. If I’m still in bed when Alex goes to work, Rio comes and sleeps next to me in the bed. But if Alex is still asleep, and I’ve already gave Rio his morning walk, he insists on waking Alex up. For some reason, he’s decided that Alex can’t sleep in. So, at 7am, there he was at the side of the bed whinging until Alex got out of bed. We had to wait until I’d finished by blog post and got it all set up ready to go, but by half past 7, we were dressed and about to leave the apartment. For the first time.

Protecting from the sun in Benidorm lockdown first exercise

Opening the door and walking out together felt like a new start. It all still feels very dictated, and these time slots I don’t think are particularly helpful, but I was still very grateful to be out. The problem was, there were so many people out. So many. The Poniente beach strip was busier than it is in summer. Everybody was desperate for this walk. Around our roads and the walking path we do was empty though which made us feel much better. There was a couple who walked directly behind us on the path, literally so close that they kept knocking our feet! We stood to the side and covered our faces and let them walk ahead. There were a few others like that, why don’t they respect the 2m distance?

Very crisps wallpaper image of Benidorm Poniente

I would’ve loved to step on the sand. Look how gorgeous and smooth it all looks. It looks like a picture postcard where you go “yeh but you never see it that empty”. And here it was in the real life. The beach with its iconic island on the horizon untouched for 7 weeks. There are lots of beaches along the Costa Blanca that house sea turtles, so I hope this time away from the beach has given them the opportunity to lay eggs and hatch. I don’t know when their season is? But I hope it’s tied in with the lockdown. The dolphin population must’ve grown too. With no fishing going on I bet it’s given the marine life a chance to rejuvenate. We see loads of dolphins swimming around now, it’s beautiful.

The gorgeous Benidorm beach

Has the smell of flowers always been this strong in Benidorm? I don’t think so, but then maybe I got used to it. The sweet aroma was prominent especially around the back streets. You could smell the salt in the sea too, the feeling of the sea breeze on your face was almost emotional. The beaches are still closed here but the parks are open. Unlike most places where the beaches are still open, and unlike Madrid where the parks are still closed. The tape was cut off of the parks, but all outdoor gym equipment and kids playgrounds were still police taped up. We’re allowed out for the entire duration of the time slot, but only one of the time slots a day. We did see people talking on social media that they’d been out in the morning and were going out again at night. Why do people have to break rules?

Flowers in Benidorm Spain lockdown

The sunrise over the old town was spectacular. Nobody is allowed to stop without due reason so the flow just kept going. It was weird to look back to keep looking at a sunrise and everybody else was doing the same. When you got to the quieter areas the police were more relaxed about you stopping. Alex had stopped where he always stops when we go for a walk to take a photo and the police leaned over. “Qué hace?”Ahh una foto. Muy bien. Buenos días!”. And that was that. The police presence was strong. There were police everywhere. Every road had a police car patrolling. But, it was nice in a weird way. It was keeping everyone in order, and they had their windows rolled down, wearing masks, saying good morning to people.

Watching the sunrise over Benidorm old town

We saw a few people waving and shouting hello to each other from across the street. It seemed everyone really needed this bit of exercise.

We got back to some people trying to say Spain have released lockdown too soon and why are we out? Why are we out? Doing one exercise a day? After 48 days of Spain total confinement they’re finally letting citizens take a daily outdoor exercise. The same thing that the U.K. have been allowing all through their lockdown? It’s madness. Why do people jump and give an opinion when they clearly don’t know? The virus in Benidorm was never at the levels like some of the U.K. cities are. Spain have suffered terribly with the coronavirus, but the majority of these cases have been in the larger cities. Some villages and towns have not even had a case of COVID19 but they’ve been confined in their homes for 48 days. Why shouldn’t we now be allowed to do exercise now the curve has massively reduced?

We’ve entered stage zero of our four stage deescalation process now which means exercise is permitted once a day, with time slots so different vulnerable groups don’t come into contact. It also means small business will be able to open on Monday with an appointment only, one client one member of staff. It also means takeaway will be available in most bars and restaurants. They’re not allowed to offer a sit down service yet, but we will be able to order food and either have it delivered or go and pick it up. I don’t think we’ll make use of the opening, unless it’s for a pizza from the Italian restaurant next to our old apartment. Most of the time, we eat at restaurants as part of our time out and usually we eat in Moraira or Javea so I think we’ll wait until terraces open.

There’s no definitive timeline for how long each phase lasts but every two weeks it’s reassessed to decide whether that region should move into the next phase or remain stagnant. The islands, like Formentera, which haven’t had cases, will go to phase one on Monday. In the best case scenario, we’ll have our new normality by June 24th meaning by my birthday I could have a relatively normal celebration.

Instagram lightroom preset Benidorm  Poniente with la tossal behind me

We’d had our excitement for the day by the time we got home so the rest of the day was spent chilling out. I made a video for YouTube sharing some footage I took of Benidorm and explaining what our lockdown was like. It’s top suggestion on YouTube for “Benidorm Lockdown Vlog” which I’m quite pleased about! I’ve never done talking videos and I’m not great at talking to a video, so be easy on me haha! You can watch it below if you fancy:

Benidorm Lockdown Vlog

I read a fair chunk of my book and I’m quite liking it. It’s about a girl who meets her great aunt in ghost form, but the great aunt is a ghost as the same age as her great niece. It’s quite funny hearing what they get up to and what favours they can do for each other. I’m halfway through the book now so I’m sure I’ll finish that today. A couple of people have asked what books I’ve read in lockdown and I’ll definitely share that list soon. I’m waiting for a slower day, today was much too exciting to fit in a book list too without making the blog an essay!

Press parcel from Pixi May 2020

I had an email to say Pixi had delivered a press pack for me filled with their new goodies. They always send the most gorgeous personalised press samples of products for me to try. I’m not sure where they got my address from and I don’t know who organises it to thank them, but every so often a new set of products arrives to my house. I’m obviously not in the U.K. to give it a try, but Oliver took some photos for me so that I could add it into my blog and put something on my Instagram story. (I did make it worth his while!). I absolutely love Pixi skincare, I’d never heard of them until last year when they randomly started sending me press samples out. I am massively grateful when companies send me out their products to give a try, especially when they put so much time and care into it like Pixi do. They sent me a toiletry bag filled with their products and the toiletry bag is this gorgeous pattern and has my name personalised in it. When I’m able to get home I’ll take some photos so you can see it properly. This new collection is Retinol and Jasmine infused skin treats and the bag matches the colour scheme of the products with gorgeous lilac flowers on a Pixi iconic green. I am well excited to give it a try and smell it, I can tell it’s going to be one of my favourites. Up there with the Vitamin C range.

We listened to Bob Iger’s audiobook too. We tend to listen to a chapter a day. It’s quite fascinating to hear about what goes on between the bosses and what drama goes on behind the scenes. We’ve just got to where the tensions between Michael Eisner and Bob Iger seems to arise. I sat around in the balcony room sunbathing for a bit too so if you see me in summer with only half of my body tanned, you know why!

Hot in bikini after sunbathing on balcony

We’d played some brawl stars together too. I’d had eggs for breakfast but didn’t have a lunch today. Even though I had done a 3km walk (you’re not limited to a 1km walk which is what some people think. You’re limited to a 1km radius, so you can walk around that radius as many times as you like as long as it’s in the time bracket). We have noticed that chicken is going off in the fridge much quicker than usual. We even made the fridge colder but fresh chicken just seems to go off super quickly. No other meat is doing it though, even though the chicken is still in date. So, we ended up having chicken strips, salad, chips and garlic bread for dinner.

Pink candy floss clouds in Benidorm

After dinner, I watched some of the sunset with Rio. The candy floss clouds floated across the sky like a dream. Was this a dream? I’ve been having crazy dreams since lockdown began. Had we really been out for a walk today? I couldn’t see people walking about, like this morning so I’m betting they were all at the beach like this morning. I’m quite excited for our walk tomorrow. My legs were aching from our walk, tired muscles. It was the longest walk we’d done for over 2 months. They were so tired from all the hills and steps. I did a few French quizzes on Duolingo and read more of my book until my eyes couldn’t stay open any longer. Freedom is here. Lockdown isn’t over. It’s far from over. But the lockdown that we knew, and grew to love has gone. Hopefully for good as we embrace this new lockdown.

Freedom is here and it’s oh so sweet.

Keep safe,

L x

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Hola! I'm Lauren ("Loh - run") — A twenty-something, engaged, English girl living on the Costa Blanca, obsessed with travel, love and elephants.

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