On Monday I wrote about a cheese hack that was disrupting deliveries of cheese to the Albert Heijn grocery stores. The hack was resolved and deliveries could resume again. Most of the cheeses had been replaced, although there are still some gaps here and there. But I had to laugh when I saw this pile of shredded cheese:
Note: this was actually the overflow area for the extra shredded cheese they had in stock. They put it in the “weekly sale area”. The normal place for shredded cheese was also overflowing with bags and bags… and bags. It looks like two or three deliveries worth.
In other news… did you hear about the world’s first fish doorbell in Utrecht? It has been pressed 32,000 times so far in the first two weeks (nltimes.nl in English). Utrecht had a problem. At this time of year there is less boat traffic in the canals so fish would frequently find themselves stuck at a locked gate without any way to get to the other side. To solve this, viewers can watch a special webcam at visdeurbel.nl to see if they see fish in view. If you do spot one, you press the red doorbell on the right. If enough people press the doorbell, a human will manually check and if needed open the gate. Note that when you first access the page you might need to refresh it see the webcam properly.
The camera also takes a screenshot and shares the photo with you. Since there are limited moments when you might see fish (the best time of day is in the early evening or evening), the website also has a page with the best photos taken by viewers. Note that the webcam is temporary as it is only needed during the fish migration season.
This is to be expected; people are working from home more often and most people won’t be going on holiday this year. I read somewhere that some people are purchasing multiple Christmas trees so that they have one for each room. The only rule I have is that we need to wait until November before we bring out the Christmas decorations. November 1st, that is…
Amsterdam to use flowers to stop cyclists chaining bikes to bridges from theguardian.com. Like it or not, bikes do get in the way often. And one of the places you will always, always see bikes is chained to a canal bridge. The worst part? It doesn’t just spoil the view, it also leaves less room for pedestrians which means they are more likely to walk in the road.
Personally I don’t remember having this issue in Amsterdam but I did experience it in Utrecht. I felt like I was walking in the street at least half of the time, which definitely wasn’t fun.
It’s Tuesday, so the Dutch public health institute has released the weekly Covid-19 numbers (from rivm.nl, in English). It’s actually good news, to a degree: we’re either stable in comparison to last week (number of infections) or doing slightly better (number of hospitalizations and deaths). Because there are more people getting tested, the number of positive tests has gone down as well. The only less than thrilling news is that The Hague has more infections than last week – 331 this week versus 278 last week.
There was also a press conference tonight, about six months after the first coronavirus patient was reported in the Netherlands. I can’t believe it’s been six months! The biggest update was that nightclubs and discotheques are not yet allowed to reopen, with no reopening date set at this time. The prime minister talked about how we are getting frustrated with the situation but we need to stay alert, especially as schools are reopening and people are coming back from vacation.
The Dutch corona app CoronaMelder (Corona reporter) will be delayed until about half September so that testing locations can be expanded first. It should have been in use nationally from today. It is currently in testing, and anyone who receives a notification from the test app can get tested without symptoms. However, at the moment the general country is being asked to only get tested if they have symptoms. These two policies obviously don’t match, hence the slight delay.
On Saturday Marco and I went to Leiden. It is a university city not far from The Hague (10-15 minutes by train). We first made a stop at the VVV office (tourist office) for a free city guide. Unfortunately it was pretty commercial in nature and it wasn’t quite as informative as the Dordrecht guide was (we paid €5 for that). However the Leiden guide did have three recommended walks in the back so we used that. You just need to keep in mind some of the streets it takes you down are store heavy…
A few weeks ago Marco and I visited Utrecht. For various reasons it ended up not being quite what I expected but that can be chalked up to two things: the weather wasn’t that great and we went on a Monday, when a lot of things ended up being closed. We mostly stayed in the center of the city and looked at stores (board game stores, comic book stores and similar) rather than doing too many cultural things. I do wish we could have stayed until it got dark, though, as I would have been able to see the Trajectum Lumen. At night certain areas of the city are artistically lit, with guided tours provided on Saturdays.
I did get some good pictures, though. Here are a couple:
Utrecht canal, typical Dutch bike in the photo frame
stares down to the canal level on Oudegracht (a main street in the central area). A lot of restaurants are at canal level, so you take the stairs down to reach them.
close up of some flowers in Utrecht
Items at “It’s a Present” gift store
“It’s a present” was actually a pretty cool gift shop even though we didn’t buy anything. It had some really random items for sale, including what you see above. The only negative was that the shop was small, so they had to expand vertically – there’s technically three small floors, but sometimes the stairs can be a bit tricky to navigate.