Marco and I went for a walk this afternoon, ending at Lebkov for a cup of coffee (medium Americano for me, large cappuccino with a shot of hazelnut for Marco). I usually take a large cappuccino as well but since cafés are now only open for takeaway I noticed that the foam is all but gone by the time we get home. That does tend to affect the taste a bit. Therefore, medium Americano it is!
It was fairly cold out today (under the freezing point) but luckily I found a bit of protection hiding behind flowers sold at the shop next door. The Turfmarkt is known as a wind tunnel so this is always something to keep in mind.
Primary schools, daycare will reopen on February 8, minister confirms from dutchnews.nl. The Dutch government has always said that the re-opening of primary schools was their primary objective. There will be a press conference next Tuesday to see if any other measures could be lifted on 9 February. The next on the list to be lifted might be the curfew from 21:00 to 04:30. I think in an ideal world the government wants to keep the curfew in place, but that also risks more rioting and general unrest so it is hard to tell what they will do. My bet is that it will still in place a bit longer, but who knows?
Getting a virtual haircut: It’s a thing from nltimes.nl. A hairdresser in Limburg (southeast Netherlands) came up with an innovative way to keep his business afloat: you order a package of supplies and find a relative who wants to help cut your hair. The hairdresser and client then have a virtual hair cutting session where the hairdresser shows your relative step by step how to cut your hair using a “doll head” traditionally used to train new hairdressers.
Police in Leiden prevent riots by giving out free coffee, also from nltimes.nl. Over the last few weeks protests and riots have been announced online by inviting people to come to a certain location to “drink coffee” together. The police heard that some people wanted to “drink coffee” in certain areas of Leiden. Officers went to the areas with jugs of coffee and tea to help dispel the situation and show that they were there to talk with residents. Their plan seems to have worked – no unrest was reported in the city and only one person was arrested and taken to the police station. Bet he felt a bit embarrassed, being the only one to get arrested…
Check out this photo of a lunch I recently had at Lebkov café here in The Hague:
Sparkling water, a BLT sandwich and a ginger molasses (!) cookie. The cookie was awesome. Perhaps they added a bit of black pepper to it? It had a kick, that’s for sure. It was interesting to taste both spicy and sweet at the same time.
A bit of corona-related news, since it has been a while:
from nltimes.nl: infections are increasing. There has been talk of extra measures in the three big cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. The number of infections there has been high. However for now the three cities have agreed with the Dutch cabinet to be more strict about corona rules and close down areas of concern faster (read: not much will change, I think).
from nltimes.nl: Amsterdam postpones New Year’s fireworks ban over Covid-19. It really, really seems like a lifetime ago, but in January 2020 there was was a lot of talk about banning most consumer-bought fireworks due to a number of incidents, including incidents against paramedics, police and firemen. Yikes. Amsterdam has put a temporary hold on the ban due to the fact that the promised alternatives (city sponsored fireworks shows and similar) just aren’t reasonable in these socially distanced times.
Otherwise, the days are blending into each other now. I really had to stop and think of what month it was the other day. I was trying to remember when certain TV shows would restart, and then I realized it’s impossible to tell for most shows. But otherwise Marco and I are doing fine.
What can I say? I didn’t like coffee growing up. I actually didn’t start drinking it until after grad school, when I used to live in New York. Two things happened to change that:
Marco and his mom took a trip out to New York to see me, but I was warned she liked her coffee first thing in the morning. And since my previous residence was on the top of a very steep hill, walking to the nearby deli every morning was not an option. So I bought a cheap one-cup coffee maker. (Maybe I didn’t like coffee back then, but I did love smelling the fresh coffee grounds.)
In 2011 the Halloween nor’easter hit, which brought lots and lots of snow. Easily up to my knees. But the bigger problem was the lack of power: my apartment lost power for 3 or 4 days, which meant it was bitterly cold within a day inside my apartment. Let’s say it was something like 50F / 10C, but I don’t remember exactly anymore. I do remember that I spent the last night at a coworker’s because I just couldn’t get warm enough. And that cold in my bones stuck around for weeks. I started drinking coffee shortly thereafter to warm up and then once I moved to the Netherlands it became part of the evening routine.
In other news:
Good news! Diego the tortoise, father to hundreds and saviour of his species, finally retires from theguardian.com. Diego was one of 25 giant tortoises released from captivity recently. With his species threatened with extinction (he was one of only two males on his island, along with 12 females) he was moved to California’s San Diego zoo back in the 1960s. There have since been 2,000 giant tortoises born from a breeding program, with estimates saying that Diego was responsible for 800 of those young! Wow. He has been returned to the island he left as a teenager.
And continuing the animal theme, here is a YouTube video from the Dutch safaripark Beekse Bergen, where a extremely rare sort of deer was born late last month:
These sort of deer don’t live in the wild anymore, and there are about 1,500 in captivity (from 16 at its lowest).
This morning I took an extended walk, ending at Lebkov which is a café not far from Centraal Station. I ordered two large cappuccinos, both with an extra shot espresso. One for me, one for Marco. (Or maybe both were for me – you’ll never know!)
Since I used to steal their wifi so much during weekends–and want to do so again in the future–I need to make sure they survive. I love that place.
Are there any places that you want to highlight for the #supportlocal movement?
In other news:
For those of us with Disney Plus: Prop Culture is now available. These roughly 30 minutes episodes show you props from various Disney movies, including Honey, I shrunk the kids!, Mary Poppins, Who framed Roger Rabbit, Chronicles of Narnia, and more (8 episodes total, all available now).
Just a few more days until Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian starts, also on Disney Plus. Premiering on May 4th, of course. May the fourth be with you. This is the behind the scenes show for The Mandalorian.
Available to everyone: have you seen the At Home With Olaf series?! Each clip (lasting anywhere from 30 seconds to 90 seconds) is a-dor-able. If you’re an Olaf fan. Which you are, right? Unfortunately yesterday’s clip was the last. Boo!
These pictures are from 20-21 March, after the first week of working from home. The first is from Lebkov, a local café:
Unfortunately I think they will need to update their sign… At the moment schools and restaurants are closed until 6 April 2020, however there will be a press conference tomorrow. The expectation is that both measures will be extended until the end of April or the beginning of May. The National Institute for Public Health and Environment is currently conducting research on 100 families with school-age children to see how how the disease develops and how it affects family members of a COVID-19 patient. However that research only began about a week ago and they expect it to last 6 weeks before results are official. And until that time the government will likely keep schools closed. And there’s a good chance restaurants will also be kept closed. Right now they can only be open for take away.
Unimportant side note: The Netherlands has a very cool term – “horeca” which is shorthand for hotels, restaurants and cafés.
A closed sign for TK Maxx. ‘We’re sorry, but unforunately our school is currently closed for business. We hope to be back soon. For current information, visit www.tkmaxx.nl.’
Unimportant side note: In case you’re wondering, TK Maxx is the same company as TJ Maxx in the United States.
Not quite a closed sign, but some information about how to order at the local Smoothie Company.
Unimportant side note: I just noticed that Google Maps now provides adjusted store hours in red (or it says ‘Temporarily closed’ in red), so it’s a bit easier to see if hours have been adjusted due to corona or not. If the font color is still in black, they probably haven’t been updated. See more at 9to5google.com and also the Google support page.
Last week Marco and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary at the nhow hotel in Rotterdam (Dutch | English). The hotel was designed by Rem Koolhaas and currently holds the title of the largest building in the Netherlands (at 160,000 square meters).
Our room ended up being in the lower left building, in the upper left corner on the 23rd floor.
Where we were going and where we were staying was a surprise on my part – Marco only knew that it was a city in the Netherlands and we would be spending one night in a hotel.
Rotterdam Centraal, the train station. We ended up taking the new metro line E from Den Haag Centraal to Rotterdam Centraal, but that is for another blog post. 🙂
Back in December I showed a picture of the tearing down of the Dr. Anton Philipszaal in The Hague. Remarkably, there’s still a small piece of the building left:
Marco and I were on the way to Lebkov by Centraal Station for some coffee. We ended up with iced cappuccinos – yum! Since it’s a nice summer day (but not THAT nice of a summer, the Dutch meteologists say…)