This week has been quite unique because … I have had two long weekends in a row. Last Monday was the Whit Monday (Pentecost Monday), which also was the last public holiday in the Netherlands this year before Christmas 😢. Thursday and Friday were special holidays from my office for all employees because … of the pandemic. Yea, my office recognizes the challenges we have had after one plus year of a global pandemic and asks everyone to “pause” for a little bit and recharge.
These two days, btw, were extra holidays outside of the regular holiday allowances. In the event that someone had already requested holidays on these two days, he/she could actually request the used allowances back. And these two days, btw, must be used (One cannot choose to still work and/or “sell” these two days). Yea, I like this, as it shows that my office does recognize the employees’ well-being!
This is actually something that I have had at the back of my mind as well, actually. Since the pandemic began (which coincided with the end of my spring trip to Southeast Asia last year), I have only taken two days off for a long weekend trip to Porto in October. This clearly isn’t healthy. Of course I could have taken some days off here and there, as I have the allowances for that anyway. But as I said some time ago, given that traveling has kinda been nearly impossible with all the travel restrictions these days, this would have meant that I would have spent those time just at home. Given the current WFH setup, I still somehow feel like this would be a “wasteful” way to use holiday allowances for, haha. And so it was super nice to have these two days off which did not eat into my regular holiday allowances (which then I can use later on when traveling has become less of a hassle).
For the same reason, I did not take Tuesday and Wednesday off. Many of my colleagues did because doing so granted them a 9-day stretch of off days (weekends inclusive) with just two days of allowances. On paper this was such a great deal and had it been a normal year, I would have done the same and planned a trip somewhere, haha 😛 .
That said, it does not mean that I did not enjoy these two long weekends, though. I did nothing special in the first one because the weather was super crappy here in the Netherlands. Thankfully, the weather improved a lot in the second one, which has been really nice.
I originally planned to go somewhere in the country on either Thursday or Friday and leave Saturday and Sunday for my usual weekend errands, but then I had to flip this plan because I had a rescheduled tennis match from my club’s internal tournament from Wednesday to Friday due to bad weather on Wednesday. As I wanted to come fresh to the match, I needed to conserve my energy, so any form of traveling should follow the match instead 😛 . Long story short, I played well and won the match 😀 .
On Saturday I decided to finally visit Volendam. Somehow I have never visited this extremely popular Dutch fishing village since I moved here more than a decade ago. So I thought this was actually a good opportunity to finally go there, it was not that far from Amsterdam anyway (just around 30 minutes with public transport from Amsterdam Centraal).
Anyway, Volendam was … nice. I mean, it was beautiful of course but having lived here for more than a decade, the beauty felt … regular to me, if that makes sense? Haha. It was quite crowded though because it was a Saturday with great weather, on top of that some of the lockdown restrictions had started to be lifted as well, so it was unsurprising I guess. Btw, I was lucky as well because the replica of the Half Moon, the ship used by Henry Hudson on behalf of the VOC to search for a northwest passage to Asia in the early 17th century, was docked in Volendam this weekend!
Originally I thought of visiting another fishing village called Marken as well, which was just one ferry-ride away from Volendam. But because I got up quite late that Saturday (I mean, it was a long weekend 😛 ), I did not have enough time for that so I decided to leave Marken for another time.