From France to Germany – lockdown lifters

While around 85% of the Dutch are vaccinated, we’re still a little on lockdown as Covid numbers are high. Everything closes at 5pm (supermarkets at 8pm), and fortunately they haven’t taken away the salons, aftercare, museums and restaurants during the day like this time last year, so it still feels like we still have a life of sorts.

A few weeks ago I went to Nice to run the Nice to Cannes Marathon. It was my first time in the south of France, and I knew from the pictures and reviews that it would be spectacular, but nothing quite prepared me for the beauty of it and the charm of this French marathon. It was well organised and the support on the route was awesome “Allez allez! Bravo!” (supporters just sound better in French). While I still miss Coke at refreshment tables at South African races, we got sparkling water, iced tea, dark chocolate and cake options at various tables.

I got back to Amsterdam as Chanukah was starting, and we enjoyed a ceremony and candle-lighting in Dam Square, which was very special. It really hits home that we are “home” when we celebrate festivals for the second time here, or bundle up for our second winter.

Since Christmas markets aren’t open in The Netherlands, we headed to Germany last weekend to make hay while the sun shines (not the literal sun – this is northern Europe after all). We drove 2.5 hours to Düsseldorf where we stayed for two nights before driving to Cologne to visit their market. It was my first time in Germany, making this a wonderful travel month of firsts. I ran along the Rhine, ate roasted chestnuts and perused the markets that were brimming with Christmas fare and amazing food stalls. The city lights were just beautiful – this really is a special time of year (word of advice: don’t avoid Europe in winter because of the cold. It’s magnificent in these parts).

There was an ice rink in the centre of Düsseldorf and the kids were keen to skate. It was a choice between heading to Sephora and hitting the ice with them where I knew I would not liberate myself from holding on the barriers. I chose the latter, and it was a joy watching Max skate with Rebecca on her seal. Max even pushed me on the seal and it was so much fun I was almost weeping with joy (Sephora had nothing on this experience).

It’s hard not being in SA this time of year, on our usual gin-infused and relaxation-filled family sunny holidays, but we’re doing what we can to make this a gezellig time and make the most of our city and surrounds. I start a new job next month so I’m feeling positive and excited, and I’m enjoying cosying up at the moment and doing quite a bit of baking (while trying to work off the effects of my baking with runs in the cold).

Until the next adventure, batch of cookies or light show…

Prev post: Where have I been all this time?Next post: The mundane and the magical

Related posts

Leave a Reply