WTF Fun Fact 12756 – Roadless Giethoorn Village

If you’re headed to The Netherlands to visit the Dutch village of Giethoorn, don’t bother renting a car. There’s nowhere to drive it.

Most of Giethoorn is traversed by boat along its canals. Of course, if you need some more exercise, there are paths for pedestrians and bicycles.

Visiting a fairytale in Giethoorn Village

Many call it a “fairytale” village, in part because of the thatched-roof houses and beautiful views. But it’s also incredibly quiet without any automobiles adding to the noise pollution.

The village is a collection of small “peat islands,” and those islands are connected by bridges (but they’re still not roadways). It is believed to have been founded in the 12th century and named in the 13th century.

According to National Geographic (cited below): “The story goes that its original farmer-settlers discovered a collection of horns belonging to wild goats thought to have died in the Flood of 1170. “Goat horn,” or “Geytenhoren,” was shortened to Giethoorn, and the name stuck. Centuries post-flood, water continues to define the village’s living history and landscape.”

When you boat, hike, or otherwise traverse the landscape, all you can hear is nature.

Getting to Giethoorn Village

NatGeo also tells you how to plan a trip: “You can get to Giethoorn by a combination of train and bus. To avoid crowds, opt for the months of April, May, June, or September, and keep in mind that weekday visits may be best. Though this “Dutch Venice” feels quite removed from capital city of Amsterdam, it’s only about 75 miles away. And a two-hour journey is well worth the feeling of traveling back in time.”

I don’t know about you, but I could certainly use some peace and quiet and a few days away from honking horns, revving motorcycles, and all the city sounds that make it hard to hear the natural world.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Visit the charming Dutch village where cars aren’t allowed” — National Geographic

WTF Fun Fact 12442 – The Power of Forest Bathing

In Japan, it’s called Shinrin-Yoku. The act of “forest bathing” may have started there, but people around the world are starting to see the benefits of not just spending time in nature, but doing so intentionally (and, importantly, not through the lens of a smartphone).

Forest bathing studies have been shown to have measurable beneficial effects. Much of this research has been conducted by Dr. Qing Li, physician and immunologist at Nippon Medical School Hospital in Tokyo. In his studies, participants are not asked to jog or even kike, but merely practice awareness while out in the woods.

His studies have found forest bathing can decrease stress and blood pressure, slow the heart rate, speed up digestion, help with insomnia, and reduce fatigue. Perhaps more surprisingly are its effects on immunity, particularly NK (or natural killer) cells, which play a role in helping the body fight off the growth of cancerous cells.

Trees release volatile organic compounds known as phytoncides. When we breathe these in, we get more of these beneficial effects.

So next time you find yourself in nature, take a mindful walk, listen to the sounds, notice the colors and textures, and breathe deep amongst the trees. – WTF fun facts 

Source: “Cancer and Canopy: The Healing Power of Forest Bathing” — Spirituality & Health