Sylt (22 -30 August 2020)

Sylt (22 -30 August 2020)

On a whim we decided to take a short trip to the North Sea, more specifically to the island of Sylt. Ever since my earliest child hood, my parents took us kids to Sylt. My friends would go to all kinds of exotic (or at least warm) places but we’d drive cross-country to the North Sea. As a kid I loved it, as a teenager… not so much.

But now, as an adult, I cannot imagine a nicer place to spend a few days. And as a bonus, it’s just a reasonable direct train ride away from Berlin, which makes it perfect. It’s a place where gorgeous, calm nature and good food are all around you. It’s perfect for a family trip with a good amount of relaxation built in.

This was the first vacation (and one of the first trips, period) during the pandemic — if you don’t count us getting stuck in Costa Rica during the initial outbreak. So we were a bit nervous.

Well, turns out it was fantastic, if a completely different type of vacation than I’d ever before taken there.


Our ground rules were to avoid, as much as possible, larger stretches spent indoors with other people to honor social distancing guidelines. That meant no eating inside of restaurants, no hanging out inside of cafés. But it left the outside seating and gardens wide open, and Sylt has both aplenty.

Now on the other side, the weather is notoriously fickle up there. And indeed we were in a constant back and forth of super sunny, very windy and very, very wet. But we came prepared, with rain jackets and good boots and even rain pants. And so we picked up e-bikes and a kiddie cart to go with them, and did everything by bike.

Essentially, we spent all day outdoors: Left our house in Keitum in the morning, came back for or after dinner. Cycled outdoors, ate outdoors, drank coffees outdoors. Played in the sand on the beach with our kid, walked to light houses, showed him cows and horses and sheep, let his kite fly. Once we caved and took him to the aquarium, but that was about it.

And it worked great. So much so that I’m wondering: How far can we push this? Can we spend most of winter outside, too? What would it take? Would restaurants serve us lunch outside in the dead of winter? I kinda hope so. This pandemic is turning me into a real outdoor person.