When the intelligent lockdown was declared all our vacation and getaway weekend planning was put on hold. When they say stay home and only go out for necessary stuff, I’m not making plans for outings let alone a vacation. After a few months restrictions were slightly loosened, so we booked a long weekend getaway for Acension weekend, a vacation close to home.
We opted for Texel, an island in the northwest of The Netherlands. The reasons for choosing Texel are that it has beautiful nature, we’ve been here before, social distancing seemed achievable, biking is great on Texel and there are plenty of beaches. All in all perfect for a vacation close to home during a pandemic.
Vacation close to home: Texel
For our vacation close to home we opted for an apartment from Hogenboom Vakantieparken. We wanted a kitchen, so that we could prepare our own meals. Ordering out would always be an option, but wouldn’t be depending on it. We had been to these holiday rentals before, so they were familiar. We needed a change of scenery, but still wanted to be able to abide social distancing regulations. Next to that the apartments are acceptably priced.
Regarding social distancing, the only thing to remember was to verify no one was in the small corridor, the entrance hall was for a number of apartments.
We loved our little apartment with terrace, and had a lovely time here.
You can reach Texel by ferry only. On the way to our weekend getaway, we had to wait 2 hours. There was a ferry leaving every hour and the first 2 were already packed. On the way home we had more luck and could drive on the ferry straight away.
On the waiting dock people got out of their cars for some fresh air. Keeping social distance wasn’t doable anymore, so we stayed in our car.
They had signs asking people to stay in their car while on the ferry. So we did, like almost everyone else. It was strange, since we didn’t feel the boat moving, we were on the island before we knew it. On the way back we were parked next to a window, we saw the scene changing, so the journey across was more real.
We choose Texel for several reasons, one of them being we wanted to go to the beach again. We don’t live close to the beach, we were missing going to the beach. So our vacation close to home wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to the beach. Luckily the beach wasn’t overcrowded when we went. There were people everywhere, but everyone kept their distance. The 1,5 meter was manageable, even more distance was being kept.
We went to the swimming pool one afternoon. It was strange with all the regulations. We loved it, but it was different.
Normally on a long weekend, and on a rainy day, the pool would be packed. Now there were approximately 8 or 9 other families. So plenty of room to keep your distance from others and for once not completely packed hot tubs. We had to change into our swimming suits at home, and keep all our stuff in our bags. We couldn’t use a locker. When having to use the toilets, you had to ask to unlock them. Afterwards we couldn’t shower, but were allowed to dry off and change clothes. There was a route going in and going out. We had a great time in the swimming pool. When we left, people had to wait in line to go into the pool, since max capacity had been reached.
We rented bikes for 3 days, so we could explore the island. Paul and Yuri went on a tandem and I had a regular bike. We were not allowed to visit museums or sit on a terrace, but we could bike around and enjoy the nature. We made 2 bike rides and checked beforehand if the things were open were we were going to. No point in biking 45 minutes, to find out the ice cream parlor is closed.
There are so many beautiful spots on Texel, it’s a joy biking around here (except for the heavy wind one day). Most biking lanes are relatively small, so with taking over or passing by, 1,5 meters was not reachable. Luckily this is only shortly.
The weather has a huge influence on your vacation close to home. We had 2 days with rain, one day with sunshine and a lot of wind and days with sunshine. On the rainy days we stayed at the apartment and only went swimming. On the sunny days we went exploring.
We ordered buns and bread for breakfast and lunch each day. We placed our order on the day of arrival at a local bakery through the reception. It was delivered to the apartment each morning. This was perfect and gave that special holiday feeling. Fresh croissants and buns for breakfast each morning says vacation like nothing else.
We also went for ice cream to Labora, a cow farm who makes their own ice cream with cow’s milk. It’s so delicious, their flavors are so good. It was totally worth biking 45 minutes to and back again. They normally have seating and a whole playground for kids, you can check the cows. Now that was closed off and there was an ice cream truck on the parking lot. We stood in the 1,5 meter distance line and when we had our ice cream left the parking lot and ate our ice cream.
We also went for cake at a local bakery. A rectangle cake topped with fruit from the Echte Bakker Timmer. It was delicious.
One day we had lunch with fish in Oudeschild at the Viswinkel De Texelse Visspecialist. You couldn’t eat your order inside or at the inside, but there was a grass field where we ate our fish. When you’re at the coast you just have to have some fried breaded fish and buns with fresh fish.
We visited the centers of De Koog and Den Burg shortly, but they were too crowded to our liking. Keeping social distance was riskier here. We walked once into De Koog center, and left quickly. People stood still to chat and with smaller streets that meant when passing them you were almost walking on the other side of the street.
Den Burg still has beautiful old traditional houses. We walked into the center, holding our bikes. Surveillance workers told us this wasn’t allowed, so we had to turn around. It was unclear to us, that this wasn’t allowed. No signs saying that, just that you weren’t allowed to bike and had to keep right.
We had to go twice to a supermarket. Paul went in, since only one person of a household was allowed inside. He had to stand in line to go in. They cleaned the shopping carts outside.
We had a great long weekend, despite some rain. The change of scenery was great. Keeping social distance was doable most of the time. Texel is just a beautiful island and this won’t be the last time we visit!