TEN ESSENTIALS FOR AUTUMN TRAVEL TO SPAIN
By Lu Sobredo
The warm weather hasn’t completely waned, but there are signs of the new season including a little chill in the early morning air. As of September 22, 2021, North America is officially into autumn and I am thrilled!
A year and half of waiting for COVID 19 infection cases to decline in the U.S. and other parts of the world has been challenging. But survived, I did! So did my circle of friends and family. I feel for those who did suffer much and lost loved ones or colleagues to the indiscriminatory virus. Diligent adherence to health protocols have helped and I wished many more would take the risks seriously by getting vaccinated, continuing to mask up and limit exposure by distancing or gathering responsibly in small crowds.
I feel fortunate to qualify in the late summer for a third vaccine. Being someone diagnosed with an autoimmune illness renders me high risk to infection. On August 31, 2021 I walked into a pharmacy and took control of protecting myself some more from the virus and from whatever of its insidious variants are around. I am also hawkishly monitoring travel restrictions by the European Union (E.U.) and feeling confident that my family and I would be able to enter Spain when we follow all the requirements this Fall. Possible layover might be in Canada or Portugal and would have to be cognizant of their COVID test requirements.
Keeping myself in a positive frame of mind by first envisaging what essential pieces I should have in my suitcase for the travel. The hope is that I won’t need to buy new items, which gives me more leeway to shop while in Madrid, Barcelona or the Basque Country. I have not been in Spain during autumn season at all, so this is exciting for me. Spain in late spring, summer and early winter are familiar to me. Autumn in Spain will be a new treat and a pleasant one despite the COVID-restrictions. Just being there will boost my sense of purpose.
As I aged and especially after losing much agility to my autoimmune illness, I had to drastically simplify my choices of wearables. Here are a few of my criteria:
a. Must be simple to put on. No extraneous buttons, snaps or zippers. My fingers and wrists don’t function some days because of my illness.
b. Limit on color palette or patterns unless an item is used to accessorize.
c. Must layer well as the weather could change from warm to cold even in Autumn.
d. Low or reasonably priced. Cost must be within budget.
e. Versatile. Clothing items/fabrics that can pass for casual or formal if accessorized appropriately.
f. Must be washable and would dry overnight if possible. I have the same number of items in my wardrobe for two weeks, one month or two months of travel.
1. Blouse: A long-sleeved top or blouse usually in solid color for versatility and added warmth plus protection from the sun. The medications I take makes my skin sensitive to the sun.
2. T-shirt: Base clothing consists of a black T-shirt that could be worn as is with a pair of pants, skirt or a summer dress. It could also serve as a camisole for colder days or cold nights. For variety, I would have three of these, with one in grey or something else.
3. Pants: Black pants or leggings thick and loose enough to serve as a pair of pants and comfortable enough to wear to bed.
4. Sweater: A light long sleeve sweater in black or complimentary color(s). I wear light sweaters to shield skin from the sun or when air conditioner indoors is excessive. The sweater must be lightweight so as not to add unnecessary weight to my luggage.
5. Skirt: A lightweight skirt in a soft pastel or patterned for variety. Could wear with leggings when weather becomes colder.
6. Dress: A maxi dress of either light wool or linen or linen blend, monotone or patterned which could be worn casual or dressed up with accessories for going out to restaurant, museum, church or places where convention says, we must respect the space. If material is light, I would bring two for variety of options.
7. Shoes: Three pairs of footwear: A practical, well-worn closed toed shoes especially suitable for cold or rainy weather, walking or while in transit from city to city. Travel is not the time to test a new pair of shoes. Walking sandals for comfort and warmer weather. And indoor or thong slippers for showering that could also work for casual wear walking to a Café in the neighborhood. Color is black or basic grey for more formal look; colorful slippers add spark to a wardrobe.
8. Outer wear: A rain gear which can serve as a windbreaker in solid color. I have a choice of hooded lightweight waterproof jacket in gray and navy.
9. Vest: A vest of either polartec or down. Why down you ask as it is useless when wet. The solution is to make sure the vest does not get rain. Knowing rain is likely in some parts of Spain during fall season, I don’t go out unless I have raingear. I have opted for down in recent years as it is lightweight. Previous travels had me leaning towards purple, black or maroon. This year, I’m leaning towards baby blue to contrast my choices of black, navy blue or grey basic items.
10. Scarf: Light scarf, pashmina or shawl. I’ve been known to accessorize mostly with scarves of silk and silk/wool blend for warmth. I tend to have 2-3 in jewel colors or colors inspired by gemstones of solid shade or a combination: ruby, lapiz, amber and others depending on the season. I have a wide collection from previous travels. My husband had a tendency to bring home some handwoven silk scarves from Southeast Asia, silk from Italy or Spain, and Pashmina of all sizes and colors. (See scarf in item #6. Dress.)
Once travel wardrobe is decided, items that can mix and match, that would be one less thing on one’s mind prior to packing. Getting ready to travel can both be exciting and stressful. So, do your best to remove the stressors over which you have control, including doing an inventory of all prescribed and suggested medications.
With a valid passport on hand and being fully VACCINATED, airline tickets and travel and health insurances purchased, most of the lodging accommodations arranged, one is almost ready. There’s one other challenging step: to make a COVID test appointment for within 72 hours of flight departure and anticipate a negative result, a requirement of most airlines and some entry points in Europe.
Remember to get updates on restrictions when entering another country or region within Europe. Restrictions are changing all the time.
While waiting to start a long-awaited travel, take time to have coffee with friends, long leisurely dinners with family members and increased time at the gym (for me that would be aqua aerobics). They are healthy options in keeping physically and mentally fit before going on any major adventure. It’s always wise to visualize the places and to plan activities as well as rest periods for the trip.
Remember to carry a supply of disposal masks in this time of pandemic. Fabric decorative masks are strictly a personal choice.
Essay and Photo ©Lu Sobredo 2021
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED