Yesterday Marco, Roger and I made a cup of hot chocolate before sending Roger off back into the cold. Hot chocolate, whipped cream, chocolate powder, and a piece of speculaas cookie (Albert Heijn link to the cookie).
Keep your eye on that cookie…
… by the time Marco noticed, it was gone. Marco did say the bottom of his hot chocolate did taste rather speculaas-y, though.
One of Marco’s coworkers is leaving, so Marco’s company has scheduled a virtual goodbye party later this week. But, it isn’t just any goodbye party – each participant received a package in the mail today to give the person a “good send off” during the virtual party:
That’s right, a nachos and beer package! The nacho chips, potato chips and salsa are all Spanish products (or are labeled as such) while you have two Dutch beers from Jopen, a brewery in Haarlem. Apparently there is also an aioli dip, but I didn’t find that until after taking this photo. All the straw underneath reminds me of the leg lamp unboxing from A Christmas Story (link to YouTube).
Today Marco visited the city centre to do a bit of shopping. Lucky guy had the day off! But he did take a photo for me (thank you). It turns out he found a fuze tea stand handing out free samples:
He chose the blueberry jasmine flavor and remarked about how they tried to make the giveaway corona proof. Normally it’s a chaotic group of people standing around, cutting in line, hoping to get in and out quickly. But today they had a line (see above) with self-service – you reach into the display case and grab your own tea. Which had the nice benefit that they don’t open the drink and then hand it to you to drink right away.
Today’s weather in short: sudden buckets of rain that fall onto your head without warning, lasting about 5-10 minutes, while a blue sky shines mockingly above you. And cold weather. Much colder. Apparently we went from an extreme heat wave to lower-than-average temperatures. Hmph.
Marco made some lovely sour lemonade yesterday. Lots of lemon slices, lemon juice and water. Yum yum yum. Not to be confused with the Dutch “limonade” which is water with concentrated syrup. I actually had no idea until I read a post from another Dutch blog, Invading Holland, where the writer accidentally orders a limonade. And while I’m here, I’ll also link to his post from yesterday entitled What would it take to melt hagelslag? Hagelslag being the Dutch chocolate sprinkles that are usually put onto buttered bread.
It’s not the best photo in the world, but I didn’t want to get anyone in the photo. The restaurant/terrace is actually above the Haagse Bluf shopping area, so you’re looking down into it. It’s a pretty nice terrace and larger than you would expect considering its location in the city centre. Everywhere you look you see green – bushes, plants, wall vines, you name it.
Check out this article I read this morning from The Guardian: ‘We were the luckiest people in the world’: our month on the last lockdown cruise. Spoiler: no one gets corona on this cruise ship and the supplies don’t run out, so it’s more about how people spend their time on the ship, especially when some ports on their agenda do not allow them to dock. It is about how the last remaining group of passengers begin to band together to find news ways to pass the time.
For the most part it is a relaxing atmosphere, somewhat free of the pandemic raging around them. Example: a few days before they finally docked, they were reminded they should get their hair cut or their nails done on the ship, because who knows when they would be able to do so once they were back on dry land. Of course, the pandemic is still there, a slight tinge to everything going on around them on the ship. But it’s also outside of their world, for a time.
Anyway, I enjoyed the read. Have a good Saturday, everyone!
Check out the sign that I spotted outside a local bar:
Perhaps I should have stopped for a craft beer. Sounds good!
(What’s with the weird lining in the word ‘here’ though? The rest of the words only have one line.)
In other news… did you know we live in a banana republic now?
You can click the link in the Regio15 tweet to see the article in Dutch, but the general summary is: some people are still not happy that the Viruswaanzin demonstrations were banned two weekends in a row, so they went to the Paleis van Justitie (Justice Palace) and left bananas to signify we now live in a banana republic.
Today Marco and I went to the Zwarte Ruiter in The Hague. It is one of the bar/restaurants on the Grote Markt. Since I took a vacation day today we were able to go a bit earlier in the day when it wasn’t too busy yet.
My beer (the Blurred lines on the left) was definitely fruity! It had citrus, passion fruit, peach, pineapple and mango.
In other news:
Do you remember the country-wide issue with the emergency number 112 last year? They released a report this week about what happened and the unique set of circumstances that made it even worse. You can read about it in English at nltimes.nl or in Dutch at nos.nl. One of the worst mistakes? They sent an NL-Alert to everyone which said the police were contactable on WhatsApp via <phone_number>. That phone number was incorrect; it was actually a number for the tip line by De Telegraaf, a Dutch newspaper. Yikes!
Yesterday Marco and I took a long walk, skirting around the city centre to avoid crowds of people. We walked along the Zuidwal, which is both a street and a neighborhood within the larger Centrum neighborhood. For the most part it was easy to avoid others and it was a pretty walk along the canal. We did see a few boats drive past as well.
Near the end found ourselves near the Grote Kerk and spotted a café by the name of Anne and Max. I’ve seen it a lot although we’ve never gone to it. And yesterday was 1 June, the day restaurants and cafés were allowed to open again. After some pondering we did sit down at the terrace. None of the tables on our side were taken so it seemed safe enough. Still, it did feel weird as it was most likely our first terrace visit of the year due to the weather only being warm enough the last few weeks.
Above is a look at the menu with a closed one on the left and an open menu on the right. The light green insert on the left was added to talk about the changes in this new “corona time”. For instance, payment would be done at the table so you didn’t have to get up, and that walking paths had been made. Slightly surprising: the toilets were open, and with them promising they are disinfected every hour.
Marco ordered a Zindering (no idea how to translate that – if you know, leave a comment), which is an ice cold chai latte with an extra shot espresso. I had a ginger-lemongrass soda and we shared a slice of apple pie with whipped cream. Somehow we always end up ordering apple pie at new places. This apple pie was pretty good, although it was different than what I expected – I expected the top crumb to be a bit more crunchy. Still good, though.
Otherwise things seemed pretty normal. I wouldn’t say the waiter kept 1.5 meters distance perfectly, but a) that’s almost impossible b) the moments were limited to handing out the menus, receiving the food and paying.
The only thing that would have made the visit better would have been more sun. When you are moving around it isn’t too cold but sitting down meant it was easier to feel the wind every minute or so. Brr! I think businesses would have preferred more sun, but perhaps it was for the best as it meant that most places weren’t overflowing with guests. There was enough room in most places to take a seat right away and enjoy the goodies.
Today’s the day! As of 12:00 in The Netherlands, cafés and restaurants could again open their doors for both inside service and service on the terrace, with the former requiring reservations. I’ll admit my curiosity got the better of me so I set out to get some photos for the blog.
I suspected that the city centre would be rather busy so I took an alternative route to get around in the beginning. However in the end I found it was easy enough to move around safely due to the ban on cyclists this weekend on the Grote Markt street.
First up we have the Grote Markt plaza, which I was most curious about:
I’ll admit I really like what this area has done. They’ve kept it rather inviting and it is easy to see where there is a free table. The separate entrance and exit is clearly labeled and they even have colored flags placed down the aisle of the exit area, although it’s a bit hard to see in this photo.
Next we have a look at the terrace by ‘t Goude Hooft, a fancy restaurant/hotel combo:
And finally here is a look at the plein by the Buitenhof. Surprisingly there was still a lot of space left here, although the area pictured is a self-serve bar that has very limited food options. I’m always a fan of this place since you need to pay right away. That means you are never stuck at the end trying to flag down the waiter to get the bill. But I digress…
Two other interesting things I saw but did not take a photo of: six tourists on segways around the Binnenhof area. It was weird to see segways at all, let alone in these times, but they were speaking Dutch so they weren’t foreigners. The other interesting thing was a tiny, one person van with a loud speaker strapped to the top, from which they were broadcasting music quite loudly while driving around. Most likely to get everyone in the festive mood. The side of the van said “Hou je Haags”, an expression I blogged about a while back.
Did you realize we are now in June? Crazy. Bring on a (safe) summer! ☀️
As you all know, Monday was King’s Day here in The Netherlands. A day that is typically celebrated by all things orange. And even though this year was a bit more subdued, we still got into the spirit. Pun intended?
During one of my work team meetings last week it was suggested that we do an Aperol Spritz competition in honor of King’s Day, and that we send in our photos. While I did not lift my drink at 16:00 for the Nationale Toost (National toast) yesterday, Marco and I did make the drinks later in the evening.
Note: the recipe calls for a slice of orange as garnish, but you make do with what you have (you can never have too many limes!). Otherwise it is 3 parts prosecco, 2 parts Aperol and one part soda water. And in our case a special King’s Day cookie which I refer to as a “sugar bomb”.
Aperol Spritz is apparently an Italian drink suitable for days when you can sit on the terrace. We’re heading into a very rainy week, so it will have to be an inside drink for the foreseeable future. But at least King’s Day 2020 was celebrated with a touch of orange!