Venice of the North

Time for an admission of guilt. We broke Westfalia Law.

We pulled into the campsite on the outskirts of Giethoorn and found a nice little spot surrounded by bushes, not that we are antisocial or anything, it just looked like a nice spot and was furthest from the road. Fully settled in we wandered in the direction of the town and it was only then that we noticed them, a pair of Westfalias, next to each other as per Westfalia Law. We were criminals, outcasts. With our heads hung in shame we avoided eye contact and carried on towards town.

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Included in the international version of Monopoly, Giethoorn is also known as the Venice of the North, although they are not alone in laying a claim on that title. The older part of the village is car free, navigable only by canal or path. The narrow paths shared between pedestrians and cyclists and so tight is it in places that it’s a surprise not to see lifeguards on duty, ready to pluck a soggy cyclist or a floundering pedestrian from the depths.

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It’s clearly a popular place because it was the first time the VVV had charged us for a map, a map we could easily have lived without really – it’s a small place and easy to find your way around. Various canal boats tried to tempt us with cruises along the canals, but we opted to walk despite the dark clouds threatening rain.

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It was a pleasant afternoon’s wander around the canals, crossing the many bridges and being accosted by over confident ducks. We stopped for a coffee in a cafe that juts out into the adjacent lake and watched people pootle past in their boats for a while.

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We timed our return badly and got caught in the rain. Our only option was to shelter in a bar, a bar which was rather ironically decorated in car number plates.

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