Perhaps you’ve already arrived at your holiday destination and are taking it easy, sipping away on a piña colada. Perhaps you haven’t left yet. In any case, for most of us het is zomervakantie, the summer holidays are here.
Holidays are called holidays, of course, because they are - or used to be - holy days (even though I fail to see what is so particularly holy about the entire month of August). But in Dutch, they are not called heilige dagen - the literal translation of holy days - but vakantie, vacation.
As an expat, one of the perks of going on holiday is that, for a little while at least, you escape the constant confrontation with the language of your adopted country. Unless you choose to spend the summer on de Vlaamse kust, the Flemish coast, you won’t have much use for Dutch when ordering, say, another round of tapas.
But the Flemish are everywhere, and chances are you will run into a couple of prime specimens while waiting in line at the ice cream parlour. In which case, a little vacation vocabulary may come in handy.
There was a time when people didn’t wince at the prospect of driving two days and nights in a row in order to reach their campsite of choice. But these days, when flying to Marbella is cheaper than taking the train to Knokke, most people don’t drive any further than the nearest vliegveld (or luchthaven), airport, to proceed their journey by vliegtuig, airplane.
At arrival, many take a taxi and check into a hotel or bed and breakfast (is Dutch even a different language?). If they’re really lucky, they’ll be able to jump right in het zwembad, the swimming pool, and start zonnebaden, sun tanning.
Many will want to uit eten gaan, go out to dinner. They will be lured in by friendly obers, waiters, standing at the door and asking people where they’re from to strike up a conversation. They may get a couple of drankjes, drinks, and, after dessert, ask for de rekening, the bill.
Whatever you do, I wish you een fijne vakantie, a good vacation!