Gouda, The Netherlands

We arrived at Gouda around midday Wednesday.  Being in the middle of the town, having only 30 spaces at only 8€ per night, we knew it would be popular.  We got the last spot! It’s more of an aire and is in one part of a car and coach park.

Some campers that arrived after us and parked slightly outside the (poorly marked) camper area got parking tickets/fines and were asked to move on, so we really lucked out (again!)

Cheese and biscuits for lunch and then out for a wander around the town for the afternoon.  The cheese market is Thursday so we chilled out. Actually, there was some kind of children’s fair in the town, so it was pretty boisterous and bustling.  We looked over the canals and side-roads. It’s a really pretty town. Then back for that chill-out (beer).

The next day and we wander back into town to see the famous Gouda cheese market.  Actually, it was a little disappointing. There is a lot of cheese on sale, make no mistake about that, but it seems mainly to be a tourist attraction rather than anything else.  Although there are many pallets of the 16kg rounds laid out in front of the weighing house, there doesn’t actually seem to be much selling and buying going on of the large cheeses. The bartering system used to be called ‘handjeklap‘.  Instead there are many stalls selling many different spins on one of the most popular cheeses in the world. We end up with three truckle sized cheeses, garlic, mustard and walnut. Important to remember that Gouda got its name from the town the cheeses were sold in and not the area they were produced – so no region protection for ‘Gouda’ cheese.

We looked at the incredible Sint Jan Cathedral – the stained glass windows are some of the largest in Europe.  They were removed and hidden at the start of the second world war to protect them from the Nazis. 

The rest of the day was soaking up more of the town and plodding more of the pavements!