The village of Giethoorn, Netherlands is located within a two hour drive of Amsterdam. The picturesque town has relatively few roads and is made up of mostly walking and biking paths, along with a maze of connecting canals that run throughout the town. The houses, which are built on land surrounded by water are accessible by boat or foot bridge. Most homes have a private pedestrian bridge that connects the walking path to the front of the property.
After reading about the village on-line, we knew this was a place we had to see to believe. We took the ninety minute drive from our hotel in Den Hague on a perfect spring day.
Giethoorn is exactly as you might imagine. With 200 year old houses mingled among a few newer ones, it is postcard perfect. The homes, even the newer ones, have thatched roofs that present a very distinctive look.
This is the kind of place that was made for a lazy day. Stroll through the village, sit on a park bench, row a boat down the canal or just enjoy the breeze at a waterfront cafe.
We found a place to park our car and set out to enjoy the magic of this place. The Innkeeper at our hotel in Der Hague had cautioned us about trespassing on lawns and bridges, but, with Morgan in a pretty dress and willing to pose, we ignored the caution.
As I was snapping this shot, two gentlemen rode up on bicycles and stopped at the foot of the bridge. Oops! Morgan smiled and politely asked if this was their home and one of the men said, “yes.” She walked over and introduced herself and apologized for her boldness. Good move. We were about to leave, and the two men were half way across the bridge, when the owner turned around and asked if we would like to come over for a glass of wine and some conversation. You have never seen three people move so fast. After we passed the bridge he advised us that the pathway was boggy and we might want to remove our shoes. Very reasonable request, since this is the Venice of Holland…
I am yards ahead in my trusted GoWalks with rubber soles, watching Morgan trying to navigate the boggy path in her stylish shoes. Completely defeated, she ditched the shoes and proceeded in bare feet. Not germane to the story, but worth mentioning is that her luggage did not arrive with her and these were the only shoes she had for three days.
Philip brought us up to the house and introduced us to his daughter, a couple of friends and his granddaughter. He explained that the house has been in his family for sixty years and that this is their place to get away from the world. When we first encountered Philip and his friend, they were returning from a Marine shop with some wood to do a small repair on his sailboat. His granddaughter, who is an expert sailor, was anxious to get out on the water.
After a short visit, Philip suggested that he take us for a boat ride, which we eagerly accepted. We talked along the way and I asked him if he is always this kind to strangers. He replied, “I like Americans” they’re bold.
The view looking back toward Philip’s home. Couldn’t you just stay here forever?
Enjoying the ride, minus the shoes and with mud still in her toes!
After a few minutes of pristine beauty on the wide water, Philip dropped us at a dock that services Smit’s Paviljeon, a local eatery, and told us how to get back to our car.
Without a doubt we would have stayed for hours visiting with this warm and interesting man, had he not had an obligation to get friends to the airport. Connections happen when you least expect it. This is one we will never forget and we will stay in touch.
Thank you Philip for the gift of kindness. We knew there was magic in Giethoorn the minute we landed there.