Categories: Travel Stories

A day in the life of quarantine: Vol. 4

by Jessie Beyer - Friday, May 29, 2020

Updates From Staff Around The World

With much of the world on lockdown we have been checking in with our staff and tour leaders to see how they are spending their days. Here’s a little trip around the world to check in with them and get a glimpse of their days.

Monica Malpezzi-Price, Co-Owner

Where do you live
Faenza (RA), Emilia Romagna, Italy

What are the current regulations for where you live about going outside?
There are no restrictions for going outside now, until June 3rd we have to stay in our region except for essential travel (work, health).

What did you do today?
Lots of virtual meetings! Yesterday I biked 8km with my kids over to a friends’ house. Thomas (4) was in the Weehoo attached to my bike and Lidia (8) rode her own bike!

How have you been staying in touch with friends and family during lockdown?
We are now starting to venture out and visit with just a few friends. Before that we did some virtual happy hours which were fun and definitely a lot more intimate—we got to really talk with people, more so than out in the real world!

What foods/drinks have you really been enjoying at home?
My husband started baking bread with a 100 year sourdough starter, so we’ve been doing that and making home made focaccia and bread. I also just made elderberry syrup last week—with wild elderberry flowers we picked in the mountains. To make it I just added citric acid, sugar, water and lemons, and let it sit for 24 hours. After that you just  strain it and store it – it’s a great syrup to either use as a juice with water or to use in cocktails. The most famous cocktail in Italy that uses elderberry syrup is called a Hugo. This drink is from the Trentino Alto Adige mountainous region in northern Italy and it is elderberry syrup, sparkling water, prosecco and mint. Very refreshing and very good!

Where is the first place you hope to visit once travel restrictions are lifted?
I suppose we’ll probably go up north to my in-laws. They live near Lake Iseo which is in between Bergamo and Brescia and therefore has been very hard hit. Our kids want to see their cousin, aunt, uncle, and grandma, and the lake and mountains are beautiful, so we’ll probably go there when we can. Otherwise, we are so lucky to live in this region because we have sea, hills, flatlands and wetlands and mountains, so we can go anywhere now!

What have you found to be most grateful for during this time?
It has been fun to take neighborhood walks with the kids during the day or after dinner. We started even during lockdown when we had to stay in proximity of our house. So repetitive visits to the same things, seeing how trees and plants grow, visiting cats and dogs in different yards, climbing trees behind our house, playing tag or Simon Says in the fields, all simple things that we didn’t do as much before this lockdown.

If you had one piece of advice for people right now what would it be?
Accept the situation for what it is and work with what you have; bemoaning what could have been or should have been won’t get you through this!


Maria Elena Price, Co-Owner

Where do you live?
Fort Collins Colorado

What are the current regulations for where you live about going outside?
Colorado is currently entering a phased re-opening and has been doing that for a few weeks. It is a bit strange to think about re-opening when the virus is still around, but for now it seems like it hasn’t created too many problems in our area. The “safer at home” policy in Colorado is still encouraging people to work from home if they can and to recreate within 10 miles of your city. You have to wear a mask if you enter any public retail space.

As part of this re-opening there are more of us who are venturing outside to see friends while still practicing responsible social distancing. Overall my husband and I have been staying home quite a bit, because the other big thing in our lives is that we have a new baby! Our son Evan was born on February 4, 2020 so we have spent the entire quarantine time not just trying to understand the “new world” outside, but also learning about the “new world” in our home as we welcome this new addition to our family. It has definitely been an adventure and if we can figure out how to get through this pandemic while sleepless and learning about how to manage a baby, we can probably do anything once we get to the other side.

What did you do today?
Today was Saturday and Seth (my husband) and Evan (our son) and I had every intention to head out early to the local state park for a hike before it go too hot and crowded. We managed to get out, but not as early as we’d like so it was still quite warm by the time we finished our short hike (and carrying a baby made it even warmer, but it was definitely worth it!). After our hike we got home and did some work and housework (between naps and meals of course) and then in the evening we went to visit some friends whom we hadn’t seen in 2 months. We spent some time in their backyard chatting and caught up on life, kids and more and then went back home.  Honestly – it felt like an incredibly productive day for us so we went to bed very satisfied.

How have you been staying in touch with friends and family during lockdown? 
Rick and Paola, my parents, have been here in Fort Collins since before Evan was born. We decided early on that it would help everyone if we could see each other and be one “family unit” during the quarantine. This has been of tremendous help for us because Nonna (grandma) Paola comes most week day mornings to help out with baby Evan. This way Seth and I can get some work done and enjoy her company. We have started to see friends a bit more each week but for now we are still keeping to outdoor gatherings where we try and maintain some distance. I imagine this will continue for most of the summer but it has been nice to re-connect with our community in person finally after a few months of seeing people only on video calls.

What foods/drinks have you really been enjoying at home? 
Hmmm, one thing that I haven’t had as much time for has been cooking. In fact, that is probably what I am missing the most and it isn’t because of the pandemic but because I’m juggling work and a baby! Apparently you can’t really plan to cook a meal as planned with a 2 – 3 month old and while you are trying to get a day’s work done.  But I imagine soon that will change so I actually look forward to cooking more and grilling now that it is grilling season. Meanwhile, chocolate ice cream is an important staple of almost every day.

Where is the first place you hope to visit once travel restrictions are lifted?
The three of us were supposed to go to Italy at the end of June to visit family and have a vacation in the Dolomites. I don’t think that we’ll be going end of June but I do think Italy will be my first destination. Chocolate gelato is calling.

What have you found to be most grateful for during this time? 
I am grateful for my family and for our staff and our travelers. This has been by far the hardest thing this business has ever had to endure and both Monica and I wouldn’t be able to do this without the incredible support of everybody around us. There have been many days when I wasn’t sure where or what to do next. But there are more days when I look around and I know we’ll be ok because of the strength that surrounds me.

If you had one piece of advice for people right now what would it be?
Don’t have a baby right before a pandemic… And if that does happen – then know that it is ok to not be able to do everything. That probably applies to whether you have a baby or not to be honest. For all the parents out there who had to become home-school teachers and to all the people whose lives are turned upside down – we are all doing our best, and you can’t ask yourself to do much more.


Joan Escosura, Tour Leader/Tour Manager

Where do you live?
Sort, Lleida, Pyrenees, Catalonia, Spain.

What are the current regulations for where you live about going outside?
This is kind of complicated: we can move around our “health common geographic area” with no restriction, this is most of Catalan Pyrenees, but not too far south. We can meet up to 10-20 people on terraces that are open, and since just a couple of days ago even indoor restaurants and bars are opening but with restrictions in terms of amount of people

What did you do today?
I went to the garden, fed the chickens, got some eggs, grabbed some strawberries, mulberries, and took care of the tomato plants…

How have you been staying in touch with friends and family during lockdown?
I’ve been staying in touch with friends a lot. I saw my family right before confinement and have only seen them once since, but we’ve been doing lots of Skype visits and phone calls.

What foods/drinks have you really been enjoying at home?
Far too much beer and wine but I haven’t drank at all for 3 weeks now. I needed a break! Plenty of  home made juices, because it is spring!

Where is the first place you hope to visit once travel restrictions are lifted?
Southern France – right the other side of the mountains and Northern Spain’s coast, I’m not in the mood of traveling too far.

What have you found to be most grateful for during this time?
Enjoying time with kids, and thinking locally even more, in terms of food, work etc…

If you had one piece of advice for people right now what would it be?
Take advantage of this situation, and start to do things better… (less global, more local!)

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Jessie Beyer - Originally from the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Jessie headed west for college and never looked back. She earned a Journalism and Technical Communications degree from Colorado State University, and has since worked in a variety of industries including radio, sustainability, and wine tourism. Jessie combines her passion for travel, cycling, and storytelling to help people understand the unique power of exploring the world from the seat of a bike. A self-proclaimed travel junkie, Jessie has found herself on many extended adventures. She spent 2015 exploring many corners of the world including tramping through New Zealand's mountains, cycling through Europe, and hitching a boat ride down the Mekong river from Laos into Thailand. At home in Colorado you'll likely find her singing her way up mountain trails, talking to strangers, and seeking restaurants with patios and Spanish wines.

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