The pandemic has been so many things to each one of around the globe- scary, exhausting, dark, painful. Some managed to go beyond their boundaries, and found their silver lining. The pandemic through all its shades was definitely not meant to be a contest of productivity and achievement. Instead, it proved to be life-changing event that changed the way we looked at life. The world had come to a standstill, the machines and the humanoids were forced to pause, reflect and spend time with themselves and their families.
The pandemic made us discover the magic and the importance of the slow life.
In the midst of a second lock down, I can only feed my wishful thinking with the thought of wanting to be elsewhere. And for that I’d pick Giethoorn.
G for Giethoorn
“When places become feelings, magic happens! Giethoorn was the magic, destined to happen to us!”
About 4 hours away to the east of Amsterdam, we found our way to Giethoorn on a rainy winter morning in the Netherlands. We had already hoped on to a bus from the Steenwijk Train Station. It was raining outside, as I stared at the green scenery from the bus window. Probably the most irritable aspect of the European Winters is the rain or the overcast weather, both making you feel lazy and lethargic. Despite committing to exploring small European destinations on day trips, traveling in such a weather, to a town we knew very little about was the least appealing factor.
After a 45 minutes bus ride from the Steenwijk Station, we were dropped at what barely looked like the main bus stop of town. A bench and board with bus timings, that’s all. On both sides of the road, we could see little cottages. No shops, stores, kiosks and above all humans.
WHERE WERE WE?
We decided to walk into the cottage adjacent to the bus stop and try spotting some humans. Typically, in such situations, my mind that is too accustomed to watching a lot of crime thrillers started pacing in all directions. Thankfully enough, inside the cottage, what clearly was a café setting, we found all of one human. We walked up and started inquiring about where we had landed and what could we do next!
In the next 10minutes, we got out of the cottage using a back door, which led a straight to a canal. Right there, we were in the process of renting a boat. 20 Euros an hour- a boat, three foreign novices and the canals of Giethoorn. That was the story waiting to happen.
Driving a boat in Giethoorn
We spent the next one hour, figuring how to navigate this motor boat and wandering about the canals without a map or a route to help us. By now, the sun was shining bright and the wind was pleasantly chill. In about 70 minutes of going around this Dutch town, with barely any sight of a road, just the canals to go around, we must have barely seen a total of 5 humans, one of them an infant, and about fifteen ducks in the canals. We took our turns at driving and then at just gazing at the serenity of our surroundings.
Post the boating session, we walked back into the café and grabbed ourselves some hot coffee and hot chocolate. Later, we just walked around by the side of the canals. On our boat ride, we had witness so many gorgeous cottages and bridges surrounding us. After boating around, even walking around felt truly amazing. The whole day felt surreal. Lastly, we found an Italian restaurant, and grabbed some delicious Pizza before we could head back.
That’s all that we did that day in Giethoorn, on our day trip from Amsterdam.
Find your Giethoorn
Through most of the pandemic, and even today, I keep wondering if I could just go back to Giethoorn. At least, till all of this is over and we begin again! Despite not doing much in Giethoorn on our trip, I felt a sense of a calm. It brought me a sense of rejuvenated power that had filled me with positive energy. In our everyday busy lives, how often do we take a moment to slow down and just soak in all that’s around us, without a motive?
Giethoorn to me felt like my place of calm. Despite all the beauty, it’s not where I’d choose to live all my life. But in times like these, when going gets tough and survival is an art, even just knowing that there is Giethoorn for me brings me a sense of calm.
Someday, we will go back and find our peace, we will find our happy!
Do you also resonate with this feeling? Have you found your happy place yet? Tell me all about it, in the comments below.
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