We have visitors staying with us at the moment and are taking the opportunity to do a bit of exploring beyond Amsterdam. Our first port of call, last weekend, was the tiny, picturesque village of Giethoorn (no roads – bike paths and boat waterways only – so no noisy, polluting traffic. Nice!). The weather wasn’t kind to us, but we couldn’t let the April showers dampen our rambling-spirits.

The absence of car traffic results in cleaner air, which in turn allows numerous magnificent lichens to thrive.

And the abundance of water (not just the stuff falling from above – we are, after all, below sea level here!) means fabulous fungi, startlingly green mosses & grass, and a myriad of water birds abound.

And I should also mention that Giethoorn might be home to some of the planet’s friendliest cats! On our wanderings we met a new one at almost every turn… they don’t require coaxing, they come rushing along the paths to meet you.

A town full of friendly felines (and well-fed woolly sheep), even a damp town, is alright in my book!