Vacation where the locals vacation: Laid Back Schiermonnikoog
Vacation where the locals vacation.
You go to Holland and you go the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and, if you’ve never been here, you go to Keukenhof where you’ll see so many tulips you’ll be lost in a sea of color.
But what do the locals do? Sure, they might go to the Rijksmuseum once in a while and they might go–if they have out-of-country guests–to the uber-touristy Keukenhof, but if they’re staying in the country and it’s summer, chances are they’ll go far south or far north.
The north of Holland, in fact, even past the north of the mainland, is home to many small islands that are worth the trip. We’ve now been to three of them and each is different but have similarities. This time, we visited Schiermonnikoog. Yeah, I know, even the number of letters and probably impossible pronunciation might scare you away. But fear not, it’s a laid back, extremely friendly place.
“When is checkout time?” my Dutch friend asked (in Dutch).
“After breakfast,” said the barman / concierge / someone who looked like he worked there for 57 years.
“When is breakfast over?”
“When you’re done.”
“So when do we need to be out of the rooms?”
“When the maids need to come and clean them.”
“When … ” oh, forget it.
Not yet understanding that clocks were apparently not terribly important, we went to breakfast. At some point, as we were chatting over our third cup of tea, someone of authority came and asked us if we could check out of our rooms as new guests were arriving. OK, I guess that means that the time to check out of the rooms is about now.
Things went more on feeling than set times or rules. After we spent too long at the beach, we almost missed open kitchens at restaurants as they were closing up. But we found one place and they said they’d stay open if we ordered right away. OK, we could do that.
Island life isn’t mainland life. It doesn’t matter which island or which mainland.
It was all so friendly, so casual. As if you were staying with friends. Or maybe friends of friends. We chatted with people in restaurants, bought apple pie with our yoga instructor, and stayed up late drinking sweet green liquors while watching the local “choir” (loosely termed) drink and sing (mostly drink) while standing on top of the billiard table in our hotel.
We left today a little bit more local and with hopes of a life that doesn’t need a checkout at 11, but checkout when you’re ready to check out … and maybe before the next guests check in.