Picture of the Week

5 May 2020

Week 18: seventh week of confinement, but relief finally

Filed under: — Administrator @ 06:39

This was the week when the collective sacrifices of the population of Spain–isolation, confinement, economic hardship–began to bear fruit. The number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths have been declining for the past 2-3 weeks, and it seems clear that Spain has passed the peak of the pandemic. The public health system has been able to cope, and so this week we were able to take the first, very tentative steps back to a semblance of life.

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The first group to get some relief were the children (13 years and younger). In some ways, they were the hardest hit group during the confinement; adults and teenagers could go out to shop for food, medicines and other necessities, but the younger children had to stay home, period. And given that many people in the cities live in smallish apartments, this was real hardship. So, beginning Sunday 26th April, young children could go outside again, with strict conditions–only one adult, maximum 1 hour, maximum 1 km from home, once a day. But still, better than being stuck at home, and I snuck a few pictures on Sunday afternoon, when I had to drive to a fruit and veg shop to buy some ingredients for dinner:
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Mother, child and bicycle:
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On Tuesday we had a day of rain; in general, until now our spring has been wetter than usual:
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My late mother’s cactus liked the combination of rain and sunshine, and rewarded us during the week. This is Sunday morning:
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Monday morning:
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Tuesday afternoon:
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Wednesday morning–the first flower opens:
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Wednesday morning:
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Wednesday morning:
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Thursday morning:
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Thursday evening; the flower that opened Wednesday morning is now wilted:
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Friday morning, the peak of the bloom:
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Saturday evening, it’s all over for this time around:
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Besides the children and their parents, the rest of us were still under confinement, so I got out only to go to the supermarket or pharmacy, looking into shuttered restaurants along the way:
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A man breaks the rules by sunbathing in front of his apartment building. Common areas of private properties like this are also off-limits during the shutdown:
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So we continued our home-based pursuits; work during the day, otherwise lots of reading, cooking, and, like here, talking to a friend via Skype:
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Friday is pizza day in our house,but our local pizzerias have been closed since mid-March (cardboard pizza from the likes of Telepizza or Domino’s is still available for delivery but we refuse to eat that). So my wife has begun to make her own. Here are the toppings ready for assembly–roasted aubergines, mushrooms, peppers and artichokes:
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And kalamata olives and fresh mozarella:
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The finished product–yummy:
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It had been announced earlier in the week that provided the infection would remain under control, some further relaxation of the lockdown would begin on May 4th, with a phased plan to reopen the economy between now and late June. Of more immediate interest was the announcement that from Saturday morning adults would be allowed out for walks and exercise for the first time in 7 weeks. The details were eagerly awaited and were finally announced on Thursday. The idea is to allow everyone out but not at the same time. So between 6 and 10 a.m. and 8 to 11 p.m., adults (those between 14 and 69) can go out for walks or to practice sports like cycling or running; small children with one parent are allowed out between noon and 7 p.m., and the remaining hours are for the over-70s. Playgrounds and public exercise equipment on the beach remain off-limits, and swimming is also not allowed, but you can walk in the sand and get your feet wet. And most importantly, you can go for a bike ride–although you must stay within the boundaries of your municipality. For me this is tolerable since the municipality where I live, El Campello just north of Alicante, is quite large, so I can still do decent rides even while complying with this rule.

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Finally, Saturday morning arrived. The weather was glorious, and I headed out at 8 for the first real ride in 48 days. I stopped briefly along the beach to take in the people out enjoying their newfound freedom:
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After about 7-8 km, I was at the foothills of my beloved mountain playground:
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Seven km later, I was at the boundary of El Campello, so I stopped, took in this view of Alicante, and rode back down:
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On the way back, I stopped at the harbour in El Campello. Usually the gate to the fishing part of the harbour is closed, but occasionally it is left open, as it was that day. This is the harbour entrance:
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The fishing boats were all in the harbour:
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I am not sure if the fishermen had been out that night; I did not see any fish being unloaded, but they were tending to their nets:
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Next to the fishing harbour is the northern end of El Campello’s main beach, and people were out and about there as well:
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The seagulls looking at the people who have returned to the beach for the first time since mid-March. Sadly for them, the restaurants and bars are still closed, so no bread crumbs or other scraps from that source:
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I returned home, happy and refreshed. Then I went to the supermarket to buy a few things for dinner and to restore the depleted beer supply. There was a queue outside, since they control the number of people in the store. I normally never queue unless I absolutely have no choice. But the beer supply really was approaching critical, with mostly plain lager at home, so I bit the bullet and waited:
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In the evening, I walked down to the beach to see people enjoying it at that hour. The serious runners and cyclists tend to go out in the morning, but there were still a few joggers on the promenade:
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Mostly, people were just strolling along the beach:
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I also witnessed the daily 8 p.m. ritual, when people go out on their balconies and applaud the health workers:
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And this is the fitting end to this week.

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