Last Sunday turned unusually spontaneous as Teko suggested we might perhaps go for a walk on the beach near his hometown in Hellevoetsluis, more than an hour’s drive south. Thinking I could get away with it, I called his bet and raised it — to a trip to Giethoorn, the ‘Venice of the Netherlands’, 130 kilometers away. Surprisingly, he didn’t flinch, and after checking where it was exactly, he said yes! Soon enough we were driving east through Sunday traffic, to a quaint, little village in the province of Overijssel, the country’s very own bible belt.
As we drove past farms and fields in the middle of nowhere, I wish I’d taken my camera out as there were more than a few religious signs we passed along the way. Teko might think me crazy but at the back of my mind I was thinking ‘I wouldn’t want our car to break down in this neighborhood’. If it’s anything at all like in the U.S., I wouldn’t even dare drive through it. There’s a good reason they’re called flyover states.
Being a Sunday, there wasn’t really much to do apart from a canal cruise, which I was a little wary about, and simply wandering around the small town. There were still a handful of tourists but most of the shops and restaurants, which turned out to be quite a lot for a small village, were closed. After a quick cappuccino break, we did end up taking the cruise – note to sit on the right side the next time I do it – and got to see what all the fuss was about.
The cruise was a bit on the long side and the Dutch blow-by-blow narration, interspersed with German, was just too quick for me to enjoy. From the water, the town turned out to be quintessentially quaint, and I can imagine it looking like a fairy tale during the peak of summer or winter. The one thought that kept gnawing at me while we were cruising past the expensive-looking village houses was ‘What do these people do for a living?!’.
With the one-hour cruise over, we started our hunt for a decent spot for lunch. Thankfully, one particular place was open that day.