The hot topic over the last few weeks has been (no surprise……drum role……whatever) the Coronavirus. So, I’m interested to see what, if any, measures are in place at Barcelona Sants train station. None. None whatsoever.

When one considers the high volume of foreign travellers passing through the station, this may seem shocking, if not outright foolish.

However, there were airport style X-ray scanners. All luggage, jackets and coats, everything had to go through the scanners before passengers were allowed to go to the platforms. The security measures weren’t quite as onerous as that routinely found in airports, there were no metal detectors and, we didn’t have to take our shoes off. Small blessings and all that.

At first, this seemed a bit weird. No Coronavirus measures but, fairly strict security measures that I hadn’t experienced at any of the many other train stations that I’d been to. But, as I stood there waiting my turn, I thought about it a bit more. Terrorist attacks are a constant threat all over Europe and, it wasn’t that long ago that Barcelona had its own taste of this blight at La Rambla.

“But Coronavirus is a lethal pandemic”, I hear you shout, “at least have some hand sanitisers placed around the station”.

Consider this. Go to any hospital, a place where we all know that we could come into contact with all manner of infections and pathogens. A place where we all know that there are very sick people who could be very adversely affected by any germs that we, as visitors, could be bringing into the place.

All hospitals have hand sanitation units placed everywhere. They all have signs entreating us to use them. But, how many of us actually do use them? In a hospital!

A government, or transport authority, could spend untold millions installing hand sanitisers wherever the general public congregates (that’s if they could actually source adequate supplies at a time when the world is dealing with a pandemic) and then what? How many of us would actually use them?

The train journey to Zaragoza Delicias was easy and straight forward. As was my taxi ride to my new temporary home. What was not easy was getting up to the apartment. It’s on the fourth floor. That’s a total of eight flights of steep, narrow, hard stone stairs. The two trips that it took for me to get all of my stuff up there left me knackered, sweaty and breathless.

I was met by Cruz, the mother of my AirBnB host, Jara. She can’t speak a word of English but, we somehow got by with the help of Google Translate. She asked me if I was here as a tourist. She was visibly impressed when I told her about my project. She was literally over the moon when I told her that I was in Zaragoza because I want to visit the ruins at Belchite. That’s where she’s from. That’s where she lives. She’s at her daughters place, here in Zaragoza, because Jara is in hospital. I expressed my concerns. It turns out that Jara’s situation is quite serious. She has anorexia and will be in hospital for the next few months. As the days passed and Cruz got to know me better, she confided that her daughter not only suffers with anorexia, she has also been addicted to weed for the last five years.

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