Gouda by Bike

To pronounce Gouda correctly is to sound as over-the-top Dutch as one possibly can. I mean, really, it’s just short of haucking a loogie. Ha, I’m serious! This city keeps you smiling all day, though, even if it’s not \”gooooda\”.

The sun and the air and the blue sky were perfect October, so to Gouda we went – by bike. It isn’t more than 28 km and this country is designed for cycling. The bike paths take you through Zuid Holland’s Groene Hart, the rural land in between the major cities of Utrecht, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and Den Haag. There are too many grazing cows to count, lots of sheep, rows and rows of flower farms, and hectares upon hectares of beautiful green, green pastureland.

I still cannot get over how well-maintained the bike paths are… it’s smooth (and flat) sailing. I catch myself staring at scenery to my left and right for who knows how long.

After a midway stop for lunch along a canal, we arrived in Gouda on Market Day. The little city center was bustling! Vendors under tents lined the streets, with the steeple of Sint Jankserk shooting up in the sky just beyond the shoppers. 

After wandering among the fruits and vegetables (and trying Prickly Pears for the first time), we sat in on an hour-long (and gratis!) classical violin concert inside Sint Janskerk. Its stained-glass windows are famous and the church itself dates back to 1280 or so. Needless to say, a live concert inside brought goosebumps (or, as the Dutch say, chicken-skin). 

Of course, though, Gouda = cheese. And it’s endearingly funny how much the city loves its claim-to-fame. We stopped in more than one cheese shop thanks to free samples – cheese, especially Gouda, comes in more colors and combinations than I knew.

 

And then there was the cheese museum, The Kaas-expomuseum. It is housed in Gouda’s original 17th century cheese weighhouse. The curators are beyond obsessed with cheese and Gouda’s history, and I’d like to share with you this little fact I learned:

that last line there is important

The history really is impressive – cheese-making in Gouda can be traced back to 800 BC in clay pots. A video explained the entire modern day process; it is an art, for sure. And every new fact I learn about the Dutch Dairy Industry makes me fall more and more in love with cows. The Holstein-Friesian cow, a German-Dutch breed, is the most important for cheese production… did you know they can produce 7,500 litres of milk a year and eat 80 kg of grass a day?

The rest of the city is perfect for aimless walking, especially on an Autumn day. It was a long day, with lots of biking, but one with perfect company and sun (and delicious dutch dairy).

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6 responses to “Gouda by Bike

  1. Joe

    Now I’m hungry for a little gooooooda, great pictures once again…maybe you should be writing for a travel magazine, I want to come join you!

    Xoxox jk

  2. Uncle BIll

    Cae, thank-you once again for the wonderful pictures and the great descriptions. And it is great that you are burning off those tasty calories by biking there and back! Your short trips to inspiring locations that are so close to your home base makes me wonder what Aunt Trish and I are missing that is just a short trip from Berkley! we probably can’t get to them by bicycle but we could walk-off the calories around our neighborhood. Thanks for the inspiration. Love, Uncle Bill

  3. Jack Keenan

    Where are my photos of windmills?

    Grandpa Jack

    I can’t paint cheese

    JK

  4. Hayley

    “cheese is a good substitute for meat” is basically the motto I live by.

    Love reading these posts!!!

  5. Mary Binder

    Love you, Cae! Everything looks so dang charming!!! Thanks for taking us along on your ride! xo

  6. Annie

    That bike ride looks to pretty to be real. Those skies, oh oh oh! The SKY!

    I can.not.wait. for you to come home and speak to me in a dutch accent. We’ll all start doing it and be unable to stop (much like a southern accent, ya’ll).

    Violin concert in the middle of the city?! What a treat.

    That cheese looks divine even covered in paper. I want to bathe in it.

    The reflections of the buildings on the water- do you ever get tired of that? It looks so serene and idyllic and fairytale like.

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