For a village with 370 inhabitants, at least two hotels, and several restaurants, small doesn’t seem to be an apt description. A week after our trip to Rossum, we found ourselves back in The Netherlands’ largest province, Gelderland, for another rural weekend lunch, this time in rainy Hoog Soeren. A bit over an hour’s drive east, the village is surrounded on all sides by forests, which makes it ideally cozy for a lazy repast, more so given the drowsy weather we’ve had all morning. Even with the slight drizzle I would have preferred to sit out in the umbrella-covered terrace, but Teko insisted it was too cold so after easily getting a spot in the gravel parking lot we went in and were quickly led to a quiet, reserved corner table.
Even in this out of the way town the restaurant staff had their hands full with the lunch crowd – the place was essentially packed. There was enough distance between tables, which was encouraging, but the lack of visible safety precautions was noticeable – no hand sanitizers as far as I could see, no disposable menus, waitstaff with no qualms about (lack of) distancing, to name a few. Given the upward trend of recent cases and increased discussions on nationwide mandatory use of face masks it’s careless not to have the what could be considered minimum requirements lest we end up resurrecting the same challenges as before, or worse. As for the food, eschewing my usual beef burger for the fish of the day – red bass in this case – as a small contribution to environmental sustainability proved to be an ambivalent choice. The burger that Teko ordered and completely devoured looked delicious but the fish, salty and uninspired, barely passed muster. Luckily the subtle white wine and addictive french fries saved the day.
Sadly, the rain still kept at it after we were done so there was no chance for a nature walk afterwards. Teko and I would actually like to come back and try some of the other options in the area and get another crack at a brisk walk in the woods. With a lot of luck and a plenty of personal responsibility, here’s hoping we don’t have another lost Spring in our future.