Parental Leave Dream Adjustments

It‘s April 2021 and I‘m on parental leave. Why this month? It is my second son‘s 14th month in this world and that‘s the last month that I can take parental leave and get Elterngeld (monetary support from the state).

Our original plan was to go to New Zealand. Then the Covid-19 pandemic kicked-in. Glad we didn‘t book anything yet!

The new plan was to take our VW California camper bus „Kalle“ and drive to some place warm, like Spain, Italy or Croatia.

Kalle bus ready to explore

Then, the so called 3rd wave of the Covid-19 pandemic kicked-in. Either countries showed astronomic infection rates or the weather forcast was full of cold temperatures and rain which makes camping aweful.

Until the very last day, we planned to pursue our one-month-living-in-our-camper-van dream. Switzerland first and then off to Istrien, Croatia actually looked super promising because borders were open and infection rates at a manageable level, especially when you plan to be in nature most times anyways. But then Istria became a „Risikogebiet“ and Switzerland was at -1‘C with rain. Urgh.

So, on Karfreitag, Rike and I had an intense all-day debate on how to spend our probably last parental leave. As a teacher, it will will take a very long time until she can take a long time off during this time of the year because she is bound to the official school breaks.

Staying at home was not an option. We have done that for more than a year now. While we can pin-point every month, every development stage of Lasses first year to a certain moment or location, Jontes first year is much harder to re-call. We mostly stayed at home.

We thought about driving somewhere anyways. Partly because I probably invested something like 4K€ into fixes and upgrades for our Kalle-bus (more on that in a separate post) and wanted to benefit from that. Also because that has been our dream for the past year.

But we reaaaaaaly want to have a special, memorable time with the boys. Outside in nature. Exploring new territories together. And for that, we need warm, at least Spring-time weather. Not this crappy, wet, continental weather at the moment.

  • So, on Easter Sunday, we booked flights to the Azores!

  • On Easter Monday, Rike, Lasse and I did a Covid-19 PCR test.

  • On Tueday, Jonte and I went to the local authorities to get him a passport.

  • On Wednesday, we boarded a plane to Lisbon with a connecting flight to Ponta Delgada, Azores.

The Azores islands are located right in the Atlantic Ocean, pretty much half way between Hamburg, Germany and Boston, US. They belong to Portugal and are therefore a part of the EU.

Azores, in the middle of the Atlantic

The Covid-19 infection rates are around 23 (per 100.000) and they have quite strict measures to keep them at that level. Rike and I have to do a PCR Test (through nose and mouth) on the 6th and 12th day. No problem for us but probably frightens other visitors which (we hope) keeps the visitor and infection rates low.

It was a spontaneous decision. There was a lot to get organized, forms to fill and traveling with a mask on for 10 hours isn‘t perfect, but it was already worth it.

Azores during a pandamic are worth it

We spent 1 week on Sao Miguel, the main island, and yesterday we flew to Pico island. In my next post, I will report on the first week.

Cheers from the ocean!

Nils Neubauer @nilsneubauer