AGAINST all the odds, one British expat has completed a return trip from Spain to the UK and back.
Mark Radberg, 66, was not deterred by Spain’s coronavirus lockdown, managing to make it from Fuengirola to London and back for a crucial business trip.
What was once a routine trip is now a journey fraught with hazards and risks, due to border closures and a crackdown on freedom of movement.
But the International Food Broker got his paperwork in order and managed to get himself and his Citroen C5 out of Spain, across France and into the UK.
But as Europe’s borders tightened and the UK began to catch up with Spain and Italy in terms of coronavirus deaths, Mark contacted the Olive Press to speak about his daunting trip.
The almost 3,000-kilometre drive back to Fuengirola started well.
Mark has Spanish residency, a Spanish licence plate, a British passport along with other supporting paperwork, and so had all the means to prove that he was simply driving home.
However his seemingly easy trip was interrupted when he was stopped in northern Bordeaux.
But luckily he had anticipated that he would need a ‘Testamol’ in France, which he had already printed.
Grabbing a coffee on-the-go proved much more difficult throughout the trip and after using the bathrooms at French petrol stations, Mark found himself asking: “Where are all the toilet seats, there are none.”
Although hotels have reportedly closed, Mark was able to book a room for the night to break up the drive.
This was accessed by codes and safe keys, without him meeting a single employee.
On day two, Mark headed for the Spanish border, where he encountered a much ‘tougher’ approach.
“The Spanish border was much tougher, they didn’t want to let me through,” he told the Olive Press.
“I was stopped completely, they called the manager, I had the feeling that they would have said no if I didn’t have paperwork to prove I was a Spanish resident.”
Noticing a difference in traffic, Mark said: “Only 2-3% were private cars, there were more trucks and vans on the roads.”
Following the work trip and two-day drive home, Mark said: “I’m in the high-risk age group but I feel fine, I just have to be careful, I was wearing a mask in meetings and keeping a distance.”
Although Mark was stopped a couple of times and at one point felt he may not be let through, he described the journey as ‘fairly uneventful.’
Mark is soon to turn 67, so Feliz Cumpleanos from the Olive Press team!