Estepona is slowly coming back to life as we ease our way through de-escalation and head into 'the new norm'. There was some disappointment by people around us that we hadn't moved into Phase 2 with the rest of the province, but as shops, restaurants, bars and cafes gradually start to open it is clear to see that the wearing of protective equipment and continued social distancing has been accepted by the majority.
This was confirmed when I booked an appointment at the beauticians and received a message the day before my appointment stating that upon arrival I should wait outside until they were ready for me to enter. Upon entering, I would have my shoes sanitised and my temperature taken and I was asked to wear a mask and gloves. Hand sanitizer would be provided. At the end of the message, it read "I will protect you, please protect me".I think that's fair enough and if it helps us all get back to 'normal' so be it.
With scorching sun and heat, we have been fairly laid back this week. If there is work to be done, we tend to do it in the morning before it gets too hot. Out of curiosity we took the temperature in the full one day, but the thermometer only goes up to 50°C.
The highlight of our week has to be our walk in the Cerro de la Matrona in the foothills of Sierra Bermeja. We set out early in the morning so as to comply with our time schedule and to enjoy the walk before it got too hot. Our friend Edita was our guide and what was going to be a one hour stroll ended up being a three hour hike, but it was well worth it and the views across the hills towards Ronda and out over the Mediterranean were stunning. I can safely say that the walk was good for our souls and confirmed that walking in the hills and mountains of Andalucia this year will make up for not getting to Sardinia and Corsica.
Mark's treat of the week was getting out on the sea. Our neighbour Manuel, who has a beautiful Saffier 26 day boat moored opposite us on the pontoon turned up on Saturday morning to take her out for the morning and asked Mark if he would like to join him. Without hesitation and within minutes, he was changed and ready to go. As they set off, I took some video of them heading out into 20 knot winds. Mark came back after three hours damp from the sea spray, crusted with salt and a huge grin on his face. "That was fun" he said.
Hopefully if the rate of new infections and deaths continues to fall across Malaga, we will enter Phase 2 next week, which will mean more freedom for everyone: restaurants can open their interiors, markets can start up again, exercise times are less restrictive, the beaches open and we can travel or sail across the province.