We decided to spend our first weekend back in the Netherlands engaging in cheese tourism. A quick browse around the web located The Simonehoeve Cheese and Clog Factory, which is conveniently right on the 110 busline and advertises stinging nettle cheese, which of course we just had to try.

It turns out that stinging nettle cheese tastes a lot like other Gouda cheeses (that's pronounced gow-dah, by the way) but with a slightly green, plant-y flavor. We also got to see some weird birds perching in the trees near a canal (they looked like cormorants, but I'm pretty sure those don't live here), lots of Freisian cows, lots of sheep, and generally get a glimpse of Dutch pastoral life.

Unfortunately, the folks that take care of the cows weren't available to answer techical cow questions or let us meet/annoy the cows up close.

So, I took pictures of bugs instead.

A lovely butterfly we found hanging around outside.

Another butterfly, hanging out on a plant which seemed to attract them. Sorry, couldn't get that leaf out of the way without scaring him.
By far the most common critter out there, though, were spiders. There were hundreds of them in the gardens around the building, probably getting fat on the flies attracted by the cows.

It's hard to tell from this picture, but this lady was about the size of Eric's thumb.
We got to watch one particularly big spider interact with a much smaller one - I think that the small one was a male, taking his life in his hands to try to breed with the female. Whatever the case, discretion finally got the better of him, and he trundled off to find something else to do.
When we got back to the bus stop, we noticed that it was inhabited by about 50-100 of these same spiders, ranging from a few millimeters to nearly as big as the girl in the photo. We decided we'd just wait outside.
In case you were wondering, the only venomous spider in this part of Europe is the water spider, which is quite recognizable in that it lives in an air bubble under water.