My timing couldn’t have been better, as the UK Government had announced new quarantine measures just hours earlier. The 20,000 holidaymakers currently in Croatia had been given 35 hours in which to return home or self-isolate for two weeks. As I arrived at Split airport, I’d assumed I’d be faced with a similar scene of chaos as seen in France a week earlier when the same measures were introduced. The scrum to snap up the last seats home before the curfew.
Instead there were all but a dozen people milling around outside. Inside the story was the same. Check-in queues were short for my easyJet flight 8394 to Gatwick and I was good to go in ten minutes.
My flight had already flown out of Gatwick earlier in the day and I was told approximately 40 people had cancelled due to the new restrictions.
Surprisingly the huddles of holidaymakers I’d expected to be cursing or becoming irate in the terminal – were non-existent.
Instead the scene was one of calm, I have rarely seen at a UK airport nevermind at one who had just been placed on the quarantine list.
In fact, the only inkling of annoyance was in the queue for coffee as only one cafe was open.
I wondered if I was missing something. The British Government had suddenly removed Croatia from the travel corridor, yet no one appeared remotely perturbed about it.
Liz Regan from Kent and her family had booked a villa for two weeks just outside Split. “When we were waiting for the announcement we loaded up all the BA flights for today we had searched for into our basket. When Transport Secretary Grant Schapps tweeted, we hit process payment”.
“After a family conflab around the pool yesterday, we all agreed to leave. We lost the second week of our villa, but we didn’t want my nephew Eddie to miss the first week of his new secondary school”, she said.
I too, chose Croatia, like many others, as it had been deemed safe to travel to with a low number of cases so I booked into at the brand new Maslina Resort.
Given its secluded location just outside of Stari Grad, set within a pine forest on the water’s edge, it couldn’t have been more ideal. The relevant measures such as hand sanitisers in communal areas, including the pool were being adhered to and despite the social distancing of sun loungers and dining tables, it still didn’t feel out of the ordinary, bar the staff wearing masks.
Exploring the island was an unexpected delight too. Roads were largely traffic free. Hundreds of pretty coves reached only by boat or down steep trails, meant for sparsely-populated beaches. Even in the popular tourist spots such as glamorous Hvar Town and Stari Grad with their charming, narrow cobbled streets, people were unhurried and respectful.