After the authenticity and laid-back local atmosphere of Terschelling, Giethoorn was a big change. Like all of Holland, trails are everywhere, and picturesque canals full of boats are everywhere and classic Dutch houses with thatched or tile roofs are everywhere... but unlike the rest of Holland, the "strip" of the main canal of Giethoorn has been dubbed the "Venice of Holland" and discovered by the tour buses! Somehow it has been discovered and overrun by tourists from Asia and the Middle East. We were very grateful to have found a lovely quiet airbnb apartment in a house on a canal a couple of KM from the center - close enough to walk or cycle in for dinner but far removed from the bustle of the main tourist village. There we met Mieke (another Mieke) and Arnold, who are Dutch but have lived in the US and traveled extensively before retiring to operate their small BnB. Mieke said the town had had huge changes in the 12 years since they bought their small canal complex. We spent 2 wonderful days cycling the area and getting a feel for the best places to go when we will be here with our daughters in a few weeks.
Our long ride circuit took us down to and then on through the reclaimed farming land to the canal town of Blokzijl where we were pleased to discover the Sluiszicht (Lock view) Pub serving my all-time favorite beer - no, not Dutch or German but Belgian Brugse Zot. Bruse Zot is brewed at De Halve Maan (Half Moon) brewery in Bruge, the oldest continuously operating brewery, and features the beloved capering "Fool of Bruge" (who reminds me of Jim jumping into his cycling shorts), so named because the hated Emperor Maxilmillian called Bruge a "city of fools" - a title they took pleasure in celebrating. So we could enjoy cold draft Zot in classic glasses while watching the various kinds of boats locking through. From there a long ride with ferry crossing. Note how the Dutch dress for a day of cycling - Americans stick out like sore thumbs! Back to Giethoorn to enjoy dinner on the main canal at Ristorante Fratelli.