I should’ve been in the US right now, but since that clearly wasn’t happening I set my sights a little closer to home and booked flights to the UK. And now, because of the latest British quarantine regulations, I’m not there either. Instead, I’m attempting a “staycation” in Amsterdam. Which is something I’ve discovered I’m very bad at. No amount of out-of-office replies seem to stop me from checking my client emails. The weekly shop still needs doing. The dog still need taking to the vet for vaccinations. The dinner still needs to be cooked. And here I am writing on my laptop… again.
The most “holiday vibe” I’ve managed so far was last Friday night at Hangar. Amsterdam Noord still feels kind of like another country to me, and an aircraft hangar was about as close as I could get to – well, boarding an actual aircraft. We sat outside at giant tables that made social distancing easy (although hearing each other rather harder). And while it was a tad windy, it was definitely sunny enough to get a few extra freckles.
We drank Aperol Spritzes and G&Ts, which definitely count as holiday drinks. We ate Serrano ham and burrata to start, and while the quality-to-price ratio wasn’t exactly what you’d get in Spain or Italy, the flavour was good and the experience felt slightly Mediterranean. Albeit the Dutch wind was knocking menus and glasses over, every which way.
I followed our Med-led starters with a gamey lamb shank served with a Northern European medley of fresh green veg, while drinking Chardonnay – far too much Chardonnay… The rest of the table ordered pan-fried sole and sides of chips, followed by berry cheesecake. None of this was fancy or complicated, but it was simple and tasty and – most importantly – made us feel like we were on a break from our everyday responsibilities.
The bill (€87 each) and the hangover (level 9) confirmed that a) we definitely had taken leave of our kids/jobs/to-do lists but that b) we certainly weren’t in the Med. Still, it was a price we were all willing to pay for the feeling that we’d sort of been somewhere – if only for a few hours… I even took a ferry to get home, which counts as travelling – right?