Made it to Ljubljana on Tuesday evening with the plan to spend Wednesday doing admin, catching up with the blog, and exploring the city. Needed to also review my options for continuing travelling with the evolving Coronavirus situation, and also to weigh up the responsibility of continuing travelling and options for maybe coming home.
The hostel I am in is lovely, the main space is so chill and the included breakfast is was yummy. Also unlimited tea which makes it the perfect space to work on the blog. Once I had got them drafted I decided to go out and see the city.
So I actually ended up on the phone talking with Mum and Ian about the Coronavirus situation. With the borders of Italy shutting and other areas ramping up their border controls, I wasn’t sure I should/could keep travelling or if it is responsible. I knew there was nothing from my insurance company which would support me coming home. I wanted to know what mum and Ian thought in both a general sense and a personal one as other views help me work out what I want.
The part I was really struggling with was the responsibility of continuing to travel as a whole. I am not to worried about my own risks of catching it or being in trouble, but what if I was a carrier and putting others at risk. I don’t want to stop as I feel like I have come so far and despite the ups and downs I am really enjoying my adventure. I had also been through one of the worse bits already so everything else was less risky, although it is likely to cause me issues getting into countries for a while. (I am not inclined to lie or be obscure with these types of things).
I paid a visit to the British Embassy to see what they said but there was no one official around I could talk to. They did let me use a computer which made checking all the information easier. All the countries ahead to Turkey don’t have any FCO travel restrictions related to the Coronavirus (some for other things but that was already present), but several countries are introducing travel restrictions, isolation requirements or limits on gatherings. I also checked carefully the advice/requirements of the Slovenian government before I came in, and that was basically if you have no symptoms there is no need to self-isolate or anything.
So at this point I was leaning toward continuing to travel, but after hunting for a map of Slovenia, trying to work out what to do with Coronavirus and buying a thermometer I hadn’t had much of a chance to explore the city, so I decided to book in for an extra night.
When I got back to the hostel, I spotted another bike and another cycle tourist who was staying at the hostel. So got chatting with him and he was from Cardiff having spent most of the last year cycle touring around Europe. He was about to travel to Italy but obviously had to change plans.
We got chatting and I cooked us dinner to share. His general thoughts were to continue travelling as well. And a group of us decided to go to some karaoke at a bar for fun. The karaoke was cancelled but I stayed for a drink before heading back, feeling a bit tired. It was nice to hang out with a lot of people and see what they all thought of what is happening at the moment.
The next morning I was feeling a little light headed but put it down to the room being roasting hot and in the very hot shower. I had to eventually sit down on the cool tiles but didn’t really think to much of it. Had breakfast and tried to work on more blog posts but actually spent most of my time chatting to people, loads of people were very interested in my adventures which is both flattering and slightly embarrassing.
Headed out for the afternoon determined to explore a little with Rash from the hostel. But can’t say I was feeling 100%, decided to see the castle and the view over the top of Ljubljana. As I was doing this I start getting a pain in my chest and a cough (not persistent, but it is there and comes back.) At this point I couldn’t keep finding reasons for it all and everything was starting to align with the symptoms for Coronavirus… eeek!
I went straight back to the hostel and asked them for help while trying to ring the number Slovenia had set up for this. I couldn’t get through but the hostel did, and I was told to ring the hospital. The hospital listened through my symptoms and where I had been, and scheduled me to be tested as a precaution the next day.
The hostel are being amazing, they have placed me in a private room, and helped get food and drink for me (even getting a kettle for me so I can make tea) and they check in/up on me and everything. So I am essentially self-isolating.
I spent the next day (Friday) with pretty much the same symptoms — headache, pain in chest, cough and although I wasn’t doing much all day (watching crap on my tablet and blogging) when I did get up and about I felt quite tired. Generally something doesn’t feel quite right, not 100% for sure! Didn’t do much until late in the afternoon when it was time to go and get tested (I had to go to the local health centre, which I gather is not the same advice as back home which seems to be stay put and don’t turn up at doctors or hospital?!). Anyway, got the test done (swab shoved up your nose until it hurt!) and told the results would come through either that evening or the next day.
This in a long winded way brings us to today (Saturday). I still feel pretty much the same, maybe a little more tired. I am waiting for my results and so is the hostel, I think other hostels might be closing in the city. There seems to be a delay with the tests being processed and/or results being returned, but I don’t know for sure. It’s all been a bit worrying, but I’m muddling through ok. Just wish the result would hurry up and I knew either way!
With this I am now leaning towards coming home (if I can!) and waiting for all the panic and travel restrictions to be relaxed before continuing my journey again. There are a lot of opinions and information out there about how bad the situation is or is going to get, how long it will be around for, and what the correct response should be. All I know is that I have been very lucky with this hostel helping me out so much and not throwing me out, and I don’t want to place others at risk if I can help it. But as always this is a changing situation hour by hour so will have to see what answers I get, but I am likely to have to be in Ljubljana a few more days to get results and then plan travel home or onwards.
I will keep the blog updated with what happens as and when I can, but please don’t panic or fret for me — I am O.K. and in a comfortable position. This is just part of the ‘fun’ of travel, right?! 😛
UPDATE — just had news that Ruth’s test results are back — negative 😀
She will probably be looking to either fly (quicker, cheaper, though less good for the environment and will have to disassemble and sort out packing the bike up for transport) or get a series of trains (more eco-friendly, though several times the cost, duration and complexity) back to the UK, hopefully on Monday or Tuesday, if everything can be booked/arranged.
Update Sunday — flight booked to return Monday evening… keep everything crossed!