Tuesday, July 31, 2012


When I was planning the trip, I realized that we were planning to travel from Yorkshire to Paris when the Olympics were on in London. Passing through London looked like a poor option so I investigated other options. I discovered a cheap fare from Leeds Bradford Airport to Amsterdam and set Marianne to work to see if there was a place to stay in Amsterdam. Since Amsterdam is a very touristy city, accommodation was either very expensive or not much chop, to use an Aussie expression. We looked further afield and found a B and B in Gouda that seemed to suit.

Leeds Bradford was being remodeled so it was something of a hot crowded zoo but since it was small, it was fun to walk across the tarmac and climb the steps into the plane. There is only one run way so the plane went down to one end, turned around and took off. We had arranged to meet a couple from Amsterdam at Schipol where we could discuss a possible exchange next June. We had a few beers and  you can expect a blog from Amsterdam next year. 

We took the train down to Gouda and a taxi to the B and B where we were welcomed by a nice young lady.

And here is Sara the next morning welcoming us to our breakfast table just outside or room.  The B and B had two houses and we were around the corner from the main house in a quiet side street.

A huge breakfast. The covered dishes had warm eggs, crepes and rolls.

I thought I was smiling or at least appearing cheerful. 

It must have been rubbish (trash) pick up day. More about that later in the blog.

And so we headed out to explore. Gouda is pronounced How-da and you spit the H out of the back of your throat. Stand back when you talk to a local resident.

The old city of Gouda is surrounded and threaded by canals so you are going to see a lot of canal photos. You will just have to suffer through them.

There were lots of large canal boats, many of them for sale.

There was another covered market area on the other side of the canal that was used as a restaurant.

Another dress for Robin to consider. 

Fancy gate.

It's not a photography fault. The walls do slope out at times and it's quite common in Holland.

Bicycles are everywhere here in this town. The riders are not as aggressive as they are in Dresden but they seem to be the common mode of transport. There are no hills. 

I had forgotten about Dutch cigars. They had plenty of shops selling their Dutch pipes as well.

The town hall right in the middle of the central square.

The chimes play a tune and the figures below move about. When it was installed it must have astounded the inhabitants. Technology has moved on but it still has the capacity to amaze.

The cheese market. The cheese is not made in the town but in the surrounding area, It was brought here to ensure that quality levels were met and to be sold.

This is one town where people do not lock up their bicycles. They are so common that there is no point.

Inside the cheese market.

Some of the canals are quite narrow.

I have no idea why the gum boots are hanging from the tree. No doubt it is an artistic statement.

The bridge can be raised and lowered to allow boats to pass.

One of the canals was lined with boats. Most were pleasure boats.

Some were house boats.

The major canals in Holland.

Parking is at a premium so Smart cars are common.

We were intrigued by the sagging duplex.

Kids having fun in the canal.

An old weeping willow. 

House boats were quite common and the location was lovely with the overhanging trees and canal.

Back to the rubbish. They appear to have a communal system here where you bring your rubbish to one of these locations where they have the bins set up for the different categories. The rubbish truck then just comes here instead of stopping at every house.

Swing bridge.

This weird bicycle set up to carry a baby is actually outside the main house of the B and B where we stayed.

Since there are canals everywhere there are bridges everywhere, most of which can be raised to allow boats to pass.

For a moment I thought I was back in Philadelphia but to misquote W C Fields,  
'On the whole, I rather be in Gouda'.

There are a couple of windmills in Gouda. here is one of them.

Not everything is beautiful. There is an industrial area just outside the old town.

The boat is beautiful, the background less so.

For Robin, Smedley Street revisited.

Part of one of the canals has a museum with old working boats.

Some of them are almost 100 years old.

A lock that links the canals tha trun through the town to the main water way that goes up to Amsterdam.

Fortunately the lock opened and a boat came in.

The lock keeper checking permits and papers.

The main water way. 

Back into the town there were these bridges that were entrances to houses next to another canal.

We came across a garden with trees that cast deep shadows. Since it was one of the hottest days we had experienced in our trip, the shade was welcome. It had to be over 80 degrees.

The other windmill.

A band stand which they still use for concerts.

Not all the buildings that line the canals are traditional. Some are modern. The railway station was bombed during WWII and perhaps this area was damaged as well. Inaccuracy was very common when bombs were dropped.

If you look closely you can see right through the houses. Curtains are not commonly used during the day so it is possible to peek in to a lot of houses as you walk by.

We liked the orange reflections.

This space between houses was very rare.

We came across an upscale cheese shop that had many varieties of Gouda cheese. The green stuff had a wasabi flavour and the black coated cheese at the top of the photo was aged. We bought some of the aged cheese.

A cornucopia of French cheeses.

Massive Gouda cheese wheels. There was a constant stream of locals coming in to buy.

We bought some of this cheese as well. 

We did not buy any wooden clogs.

One of my relatives, no doubt.

So here was lunch. Bread, gouda cheese and a cold beer. Not bad.

In case you haven't realized, we really like Gouda. There are very few English tourists because it is so far away from Amsterdam and mostly it seems to be Dutch who come here. 

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