Monday, March 07, 2011

GOUDA, as in Cheese

But before we get to that (Gouda cheese)...
it's my turn again at Vision and Verb, talking about "a little good news."


Lucky for me, it was time for my annual laptop maintenance (something I never did in the States, mind you), and because Astrid has plenty of vacation days, she decided to take last Friday off for a photo hunt in Gouda...while my laptop was in the shop not far away. Any excuse for our koffie and appeltaart...this time appelnotentaart. That is, with nuts added. You don't have to ask me twice. By the way, with our cappuccino and latte macchiato and the added slagroom (whipped cream), the total was €6,60 because we had a V&D (department store) coupon. Since many cities have a V&D, we check ahead of time for where we can use our coupons...especially if we know we'll eat in a 'real cafe' later for lunch, which we did. Another piece of trivia: when you write numbers in Dutch, commas take the place of our decimal points. Thus the €6,60.

Yada yada yada. You know me and the details.

Because I'm still processing photos from our day in Gouda, I've decided to process the photo hunt in two parts: first the cheese and then the city. HA! And you thought Gouda was only cheese.

Once we parked Granny Towanda, we walked into the city center...
and there she was, Gouda's kaasmeisje = cheese lady.
I'm guessing she's one of the most photographed women in the world. :)

And from that point on, Gouda cheese was everywhere to be found.
Even in the niche on the side of a chapel above left!

It was 't Kaaswinkeltje (little cheese shop), however, that took the cheese, so to speak!
We could have easily spent half a day inside...looking, tasting, buying.
See the green cheese on the bottom-left above: gouda with wasabi. DELICIOUS.
Who thinks these things up?
And don't you just love the 'wheels,' for which gouda cheese is known.

See? Your eyes just get bigger and bigger and bigger!
We had more fun in that shop than in any store in a long time.

Next week I will show you Gouda, the city. Definitely a tourist city to please the eye. To whet your appetite, here's their water tower:

Gouda's water tower was built in 1883 at 33.15 meters high, holding 300 m3.
Did you know there's an online list of all the water towers in the Netherlands!
That's how we often find out if/where they are. The same for windmills.

By now you know the destination is only part of the fun for us. Getting there has long been almost as important because of what we find along the way. For instance...

...the minute Astrid saw these telephone poles, she was totally shocked.
Once she mentioned it, NO, I hadn't seen any above-ground telepone wires here in Holland since arriving over a year ago. But in one little stretch, there they were. She has no idea why they're there and nowhere else that she knows of. We're guessing there's a good reason. But what?
See the duo-pod? About every 3rd to 4th pole.

And if you had the eagle eye, you saw the stork's nest behind the telephone pole!
That's when Astrid stopped the car and I got out to get closer.
When the stork suddenly flew away, I got so flustered I almost lost the opportunity.
Storks are so common in Holland they actually have nesting stands built for them.
That still amazes me!

Now I'm back to processing Gouda-the-city images for my next post. In the meantime, please don't forget my Vision and Verb for today. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all heard a little good news right about now!


  1. Gouda was great, I never visited the centre of the city, normally I was in the outskirts playing tennis.
    We picked a wonderful day, the sun was out, not too many people around, the trip was great and the things we do to get great pictures..... I love it.
    Kaas is something we both like, we could have been in that store all day and become a blimp on cheese....
    This was the first time I 'lost' you while taking pictures, I was glad to see you again, we were both so busy doing our thing, that we lost track of distance.
    Great post, a wonderful memory AND your laptop is clean again.

  2. We went to Gouda many years ago, must have been like 1970. I took many slides and those might have been in the stolen box - I’ll have to look. So, I really enjoyed watching yours. I am a cheese-olic, I took the word from choco-olic, as I have many meals made up of cheese only. I remember that they called it “rrrra ou da” I still use that pronunciation when I buy it. I like the Rembrandt brand Gouda – it’s creamy. I’d love to go back – I remember the city as being so picturesque – you are a lucky soul to go to a “fromage” town! I like it when I can go to the “brie” area where my cousin lives in France and get fresh Brie from Melun, Brie from Meaux, Brie de Nangis, Brie de Provins – they are so many different Bries that we cannot find in the US and they taste different – with a warm crusty baguette and a glass of good Bordeaux - bliss! What do you drink with your Gouda?

  3. i didn't know gouda wasn't all cheese :)

    is this a case of which comes first the cheese or the town?

    i was confused with all the commas too ginnie. do you know why they used it instead of period to separate the cents from the euros?

  4. Astrid: I love that you are seeing lots of your country for the first time because of me. It thrills me to no end, as you know. And as you see it through my eyes, you have a new appreciation for what had become 'old hat' for you. If we ever live in the States together, I know the same thing will happen for me...seeing it all again through new eyes.

    Yes, you 'lost' me and almost panicked. Actually, I never lost you. You were exactly where I expected you to be when I came back. But next time I'll have my phone with me, I promise. :)

    Vagabonde: 1970 is a long time ago but you remember a lot! I'm a cheeseaholic, too, and love the myriad varieties. France taught me how to relish it in a meal as its own course. Sometimes I will even choose it as my dessert, if I have the option. And yes, a nice glass of red is what I would choose to drink as well. Let's do it one day. :)

    PC: Yes, I know! What came first, the chicken or the egg. HA! In this case, Gouda, the city, came first, with the cheese being named after it. But the actual 'gouda' name is universal and is not protected. Gouda can be made anywhere in the world. But when it's made in Holland, it's that much more special for the purists. :)

    The Dutch commas in place of decimal points STILL confuse me. I always have to think twice. My laptop software does the same and won't accept the decimal point, even in my Excel spreadsheets and PhotoShop. It drives me crazy. Old patterns are hard to break!

  5. Now I know about appelnotentaart. Yes, nuts please!

    I remember loving Gouda as a kid, not because of how it tasted, I don't think I tried it then, but because of the red wax it came in. So cool! I loved opening it. But I see the real deal is yellow! And look at that green one! Imagine the value of that cheese inventory!

    Oh you should have seen the telephone poles in Istanbul 23 years ago! Not only were they above ground, but every single telephone had a line to the main building's line, and every building had a line to the central station! It was a chaos and mess of tangled lines!!!

    Wow about the stands for stork nests!

    I love the youtube song. Especially after posting two rather somber posts in a row . . . :|

  6. LOVE the cheese collages... all of them... but especially the one with the chapel niche for both the beauty of the architectural image and the quirkiness of the accompanying image of the fat cows and the so typical wooden shoe sitting in a not so typical space with flowers in it atop the Gouda wheel. I look forward to the rest of the story and hearing/seeing more about the town of Gouda! (Love the stork images and that stands are built for their nests... makes it easy to find them!)

    Yes, do keep your phone with you... my adventure to the Philly Flower Show yesterday with cousin Jane and her friend Carin was made quite relaxing because we all had our phones and could separate and not worry about permanently losing one another!

  7. Ruth: One day we will eat appelnotentaart together. That will be a memory! :)

    What you described of Istanbul's telephone poles/wires reminded me of what we saw while in St. Petersburg a few years back. Almost all my sky images were full of wires. It's hard to believe it if you don't see it for yourself, so I know.

    Don't you love that we can find songs these days for just about anything!

    Victoria: I love finding out what images you like the most. It always brings a smile. :) You'll love the quaint and with all its old-town European flavor.

    Normally I have my phone with me but forgot to take it that trip. Actually, I've been getting lax about that recently. It's a reminder to "get with it" again. I think dear Astrid almost had a heart attack over worrying about where I was...even though we have a "rule" that we always meet back where we separated. (sigh) The phone is so much easier!

  8. hmm. I thought I left a comment here.... Well, I came back to look at the storks nest as I wanted to show my daughter it. Anyway, I don't mind repeating myself! I LOVE the first image of Astrid!!! Wonderful capture. Then of the bicycle outside of the shop is beautiful, and of course, the stork (and I did see it in the first photo!) What wonderful weekends you have. Oh and that tree lined walk in the post of "Our Own Backyard" it is in the first series of photos is beautiful. If I get around to it, would love to sketch it and maybe watercolor it. I might have little girl walking on the path... maybe feeding some geese... What birds would be here.. ducks and geese I suppose.

  9. Margaret: Don't you hate it when a comment goes into a Black Hole! Ugh. I really appreciate that you took the time and energy to rewrite it!

    When you say "the first image of Astrid," are you talking about the one at the top where she's sitting on the bench? :) Or the one of her in the collage next to the kaasmeisje?! Anyway, either one, I love to include her in the posts for posterity. Sometimes she takes pictures of me and I try to include them as well...again, for posterity.

    I love how you see things and then show them to your kids. That is so interactive. Your kids are some of the most well-rounded ones I've ever seen or heard of. Keep it up! It reminds me of Cheaper by the Dozen and how the father was always teaching by example. That's how I see YOU. I feel honored to know you. :)

  10. Oh Ginnie, what a lovely yummy post, not cheesy at all! :-) I'm a big gouda fan (the cheese), we always have the aged one, it's so delicious. The storks are lovely, reminds me of East Germany at lot. And those telephone wires I remember from my childhood days!
    I had the experience with the commas and the dots for decimals the other way round when I moved to the US, and it confused me in the beginning as well. I think in Europe almost every country has the comma (?). One always thinks the way one is used to is the "right" way... Isn't living in a different country mind-opening?

  11. Carola: HA! Not cheesy at all. I love that. :) And yes, I bet the storks fly from here to Germany and back all the time. They still amaze me every time I see them...which is pretty often, come to think of it.

    It still takes getting used to...the comma vs. decimal system. It makes you wonder who started which and why they didn't coordinate! Living in a different country is definitely mind-opening. I'm sure we'd have lots of stories to swap!

  12. I swear I will visit you guys just so that we can eat an apple tart and coffee!!! YUMMY!!! Wow and that's cheap compared to how much we would pay here!

    By the way, wouldn't the (comma)(,) would be for all of Europe????? I
    f I'm guessing correctly as everyone uses that system for how they write money - ie 50,5 CHF etc.

    And lastly, wow I can only think of one thing to say about the cheese photos - BEAUTIFUL!!!! I do hope you frame that one cheese photo with the bike, it's AMAZING!

    And the rest of the photos just add to it all. :)

  13. ET: It still amazes me what things are cheap here compared to the States, garlic cloves, for instance (I can buy 3 of €0,45. Anf that reminds me of the comma...which I'm sure happens all over Europe, yes. It's just that this is my first experience with it. Thanks for your many affirmations, always!

    What?! No baby yet??????

  14. cheese is my most favourite thing in the entire world. which is sad. as we get very little of it here that is good. whenever i come through schipol i stock up at the one particular deli... and then when in england i make a beeline for a really mature somerset cheddar. talking about it is rather depressing (as i sit here contemplating a life without good cheese :)

  15. Eliza: Ohhhhh. That's so sad. I never would have expected that for Africa...don't ask me why. I'm sure I would feel deprived in the same way. Wish I could send you a care package! Hmmm. Now I'm wondering if that's possible?

  16. That cheese shop did look so inviting! I should have been there. :)

  17. Tim: Anyone who's a cheese-aholic would love that place! It was hard to leave. :)