Our original plan yesterday was to go into Amsterdam with Kyle and Kelly. Josh had to work and Liam was having a sleepover at a friend’s so we figured we’d make it in for lunch, wander around a bit and then meet up with Josh later for dinner. With rain the forecast we weren’t sure how well it would work out from a drenching standpoint, but it was the best we could come up with… sad I know. But hey, we are still trying to get to know this country as well!
So when I dropped off Liam to his friend and his mom, a friend of mine, suggested we take a trip to Giethoorn, I was excited. This would mean two weeks in a row that we would go somewhere I’d never heard of and do some exploring. About an hour drive to the northeast of us, it’s not far from the Noordoorpolder region we went to last week with the Giddy’s.
With the rain following us, we were’t sure how much we were actually going to see, but we took it for a part of the adventure. When we entered Giethoorn, we stopped for lunch at the first place we saw, ‘t Zwaantie – and it was uber touristy, like tour bus touristy. But since we had no idea where we were going or if we would even find our destination, you eat when you can, especially at 2 in the afternoon! The tourism website for Giethoorn was nice, but it didn’t do a good job of telling you the exact location of where we wanted to go so we had no choice but to wing it. Thankfully, Kyle is an awesome navigator and while none of us knew exactly where we were heading, before you knew it, we were there.
In actuality, we didn’t know where “there” was. But as Kyle was navigating us, we came upon this adorable road with thatched roof homes and little bridges leading up to them. Some were car accessible (I don’t know that I would want to drive my car over some of these little bridges!) and some were not. We decided to keep driving to see what would be next figuring that if we couldn’t find the “tourist” area, we would at least get to take a nice drive while we waited for the rain to abate.
Before you knew it, we came upon a small parking lot and saw a few people taking pictures nearby. So we thought we would park the car and see if we could find anything. Who knew what we would come upon just a few short steps away?
I should probably back track a little bit and give you some history on Giethoorn. With more than 180 bridges, Giethoorn was once called the Venice of the North. Interesting since Amsterdam is often called the same. But since at one point Giethoorn was car free (and in fact, much of it still is) and is a bit more quaint than Amsterdam, I’d say they would potentially win that battle. Founded in the early 13th century, Giethoorn is full of history as well, though most of the homes that make this village so famous “only” date back to the 1700s. It’s name originates from the Dutch word, gietehorens, which means goat horns, hundreds of which we found by the first settlers in this area.
With less than 3000 residents living in Giethoorn, this is a quaint village as well and many of the homes can only be reached by crossing a bridge. Imagine having your very own private island to escape to each day. Little shops and restaurants line the canals as well, making it a relaxing place to just sit back, breathe in the fresh air, have a drink or snack and watch people as they drift by on their punts along the canals.
If it wasn’t so far from Amsterdam or school for the kids, Aidan and I agreed we would live in this little village in a heartbeat. I highly recommend it if you are making a trip to the Netherlands – it’s off the beaten path and not so well known that it is over run with tourists. Not to mention it is probably an hour and a half drive from Amsterdam, making it a bit more challenging to reach – hence less tourists.
Apparently we only touched upon not even half of the homes along the canal during our time in Giethoorn. It saddens me that Josh and Liam weren’t able to make the trip to Giethoorn with us, but I guess that means we will “have” to go back again another time!
Knuffels en kussen,