FRANEKER | Netherlands

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

At some point we’re going to run out of new places to see, but luckily for now there are still a few worth the drive – even if there is nothing at all to do save walk around and enjoy the quiet and sunshine.
That’s exactly been the case since the end of December last year when lockdown rules scratched out most reasons to leave the city – or much less, leave our flat. All restaurants and most shops are closed, traveling across borders is a no-no, all museums are shuttered, and up until six weeks ago, all hotels can no longer offer any food outside of takeout. Physical shopping that’s not in an essential business like groceries is out of the question, and even having friends visit has been limited to just one person at a time. Not much left to do but take an occasional drive somewhere, sunny weather permitting, and wander aimlessly, which was what we did this weekend in heretofore unknown Franeker, a small city in Friesland I would likely have never set foot on. It was a beautiful day nonetheless.

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The ninety-minute drive was largely uneventful and as expected parking was a breeze. Greeted by largely empty streets, brisk cold, and strong sunshine, it was a nice break from being isolated at home, well worth the trip and one of few chances to stretch our legs and breath some fresh, country air. Typically Dutch and beautifully maintained as expected, it didn’t take long to cover the old, interesting parts of Franeker and so less than an hour later we were done. Since our usual town visits are capped with a trip to a local restaurant, with no options available we were off back to the safety of home, satisfied with the sights but longing for some eventual return to normality.
Mental health can be just as hard to maintain as physical well-being and hope isn’t limitless so with vaccinations ongoing and infections ever so slowly going down, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that businesses start reopening this month. With a new month accompanied with a fresh mindset, we can with luck look back at this past twelve months with only some wistfulness and a lot of relief – and look forward to what’s ahead with a ton of gratefulness.

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