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We spent a chilly February weekend in the Northeast part of The Netherlands near the towns of Giethoorn and Steenwijk – and found a new top location for us! This area is Overijssel Province and is home to some great scenery and fantastic food and people.

Steenwijk from the Town Wall

Steenwijk from the Town Wall

Our first stop was the town of Steenwijk on a Saturday. It was the market day in the town square and we found fantastic deals on farm fresh food. The cheese vendor was more than happy to let us sample any that we wanted and we purchased 100g servings of some of our favourites for only 1 Euro each!

Steenwijk Cheese Vendor

Steenwijk Cheese Vendor

We also found some delicious baked goods including chocolate chip cookies that rivalled any we have had in the past. My husband even proclaimed them better than Chocolate World in Hershey, PA – high praise from him.

Steenwijk Market

Steenwijk Market

Steenwijk has a nice pedestrian priority shopping area with restaurants as well. It is a walled city and there is a great walking and bike path (of course, it’s The Netherlands after all) along the top of the wall. Another interesting part of Steenwijk is the music coming from speakers randomly around the town, it really had a festive feel!
We had a great lunch at a place on the town square and then celebrated our Valentine’s Day dinner at Woodys. Both were great, and the amount of food for the price couldn’t be beat! We had so many side dishes with our meal at Woodys we thought we would have to be rolled out to our car – this was an ongoing theme of this trip actually…

On Sunday, we headed to Giethoorn. This was our original draw to this area of The Netherlands as it is a place we had seen pictures of online. (Ok, I saw a pretty picture on Instagram and said, hey let’s go there!) Giethoorn is very long North to South, and we had some trial and error driving to find a place to park and rent the boats. We wound up at a great place with a very friendly gentleman right on the main road to help us get set up.

Giethoorn Boat Rental

Giethoorn Boat Rental

It was only about 35 degrees Fahrenheit so it was not crowded that day, however the boat owner told us they can get as many as 10,000 to 15,000 people per DAY in the summer. There are also larger covered boat tours with guides, but that just didn’t seem as fun to us so off we went with our little motor boat. It was 35 Euros for the hour, which was plenty of time given the cold weather, and the boat was great.

Giethoorn from Boat

Giethoorn from Boat

We headed down the canals into the heart of Giethoorn and saw beautiful houses with a few shops and restaurants mixed in. There are a series of bridges that also make for great views and once we figured out how to dock and tie up our boat we got out and took some great pictures of the town from that vantage point as well. There was a larger lake type area that you can go out on with the boats which adds to the one way tour of town, but given the little traffic and high winds the boat owner told us we could cheat and go the wrong way down the canals coming back to avoid this area (and the cold!). The boat was easy to drive and we both took turns, I had a tendency to over-steer and hit the side once but it was during a difficult turn manoeuvre. We were able to take our daughter on the boat in her stroller which she loved, and we felt safer having her strapped in since she loves water and would have liked to jump right in.

Our Boat!

Our Boat!

After our hour boat trip we were able to dock and head to a very friendly restaurant down the canal walk to get some coffee to warm up and let our daughter finish her nap that she had started on the boat. The overwhelming theme of our quick trip to the Netherlands was friendliness – we met some of the nicest people and had top level service everywhere!

As our home base for this trip we stayed at a wonderful Bed and Breakfast type of hotel/farm called Charme Logies de Nijenshof that was beautiful and had an excellent breakfast. I mentioned before our love of the food and friendliness on this trip and we also had an amazing final dinner in Vledder at De Tippe. The food was fresh and delicious and the side dishes really made the meal! We have grown so used to the food in Germany and the meals we had in this area was such a wonderful change!

Charme Logies de Nijenshof

Charme Logies de Nijenshof

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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