Monday, March 14, 2011

GOUDA, as in The City

So, after we left the cheese shop, loaded with our bag of cheese from the last post...we continued our photo hunt of Gouda, the city of 71K inhabitants. Actually, it took us two seconds to figure out we could leave the bag at the shop and come back for it later. Which we did.

Gouda the city is surely most known for its cheese. Duh. But it's also known for its clay smoking pipes with looong stems, stroop/syrup waffels (both of which I didn't take bad!) and for its candles:

Gouda kaarsen (= candles) are considered to be the cream of the crop.
They're made of stearine/natural wax with a special prepared wick, with hardly any soot or smoke,
almost never dripping and burning for hours.

And that reminds me of what Gouda is also known for, it's famous Stadhuis, one of Holland's oldest Gothic city halls, built between 1448 and 1450:

This magnificent structure sits in the middle of Market Square, as seen here from above.
At Christmas time, Astrid says all the windows are lit with Gouda candles.
Definitely on our list to see this next holiday season.

Speaking of the Stadhuis, later in the afternoon as we ate lunch on the square, I was able to zoom in on this wedding party just coming out. You may recall that weddings in the Netherlands take place at the city hall,
as ours did here in the city where we live.

On the same market square, behind the Stadhuis and just a couple buildings from where we ate, is Gouda's Waag (= weighing house), built in 1668 for weighing goods to levy taxes.
It is now a national monument.

As happens in most of these Dutch iconic cities, there's always one big church that stands out from all the others, and that would be Sint Janskerk:

A UNESCO monument known for its stained glass windows, the church was built in the 15th-16th centuries, dedicated to Gouda's patron saint, John the Baptist.
The church was open to the public for an entrance fee (€3,50 each, as I recall) but no cameras allowed.
Sorry, NO. We'll look online. Sometimes we're cheapskates, just for the principle of it.

...but as you know by now, that doesn't keep us from walking all around to see what we can outside.
I'm a glutton especially for such arched walkways attached like this.

I'm also a glutton for seeing such a steeple while out-n-about town and knowing whose it is!

Since we're in the vicinty of the grote kerk (big church), let's cross the street to Gouda's history Museum....

...with another archway. I love those walk-throughs...
(notice Sint Janskerk so close behind once you're inside the courtyard)

...and all the gevelstenen (= gable stones) inside the courtyard.
We didn't enter the museum proper but enjoyed the inner courtyard as its own museum.

The other church that sticks out like a sore thumb while you're out walking around is the Gouwekerk, over by the vismarkt (= fish market):

In the bottom right-hand images (above) you can see the 2 pillared structures on each side of the canal (with the church in the background). In days past the fishing boats would pull up alongside these open-air structures and unload their catch for market selling.

On the way to the vismarkt, by the way, we passed the following bridge being restored:

...and as we passed it...

The top row was the foreplay, the bottom row 'the act.'
HA! It was a real 'quickie!'

How can you ever beat Mother Nature!

Well, we try, don't we. Look at this bit of whimsy. Is this, too, foreplay???

Now, change gears, if you can, and check out these two windmills:

't Slot (= the Lock) was built in 1832 as a grain mill.

De Roode Leeuw (= the Red Lion) was originally built in 1727, also as a grain mill.

And to tell you why we love these photo hunts so much....

...just before we rounded the corner to see the Roode Leeuw windmill, we spied this sewing machine outside in a yard, suffering from the elements. As we started taking pictures of it, this gentleman, so seemingly hungry for conversation, came out to tell us all about it. He even offered it to us...if we wanted it!

And then, just to the left of the windmill, there on the canal where we had first seen the mill from afar after first parking.... as they know it on the canals of The Netherlands!

Bid yourselves tot straks, now, to Gouda....

...a city of so much of what I love, like more gevelstenen (= gable stones).
You can actually see the whole shootin' kaboodle here on the Dutch database.

Enough impressions for a lifetime of enjoyment.

Gouda, the city. I have a feeling I barely got started (and you thought this was long!).


  1. What an amazing entry on your blog! The more I looked at and read, the more comments I had, and now they have all blended into one. However, the city is fantastic and your tour superb. I wanna go there and not just for the pigeons. Too bad no pictures from inside the CAthedral. Don't you hate that?

  2. What blows me away is how much there is in every town and city you've chronicled here. You and I know how simple our communities are in the States. But where you are, these centuries old buildings, bridges, features, canals, with more details than a person can conceive or see in a lifetime.

    You are going to have such a rich pool of knowledge that keeps getting more and more filled up, not to speak of your photo files!!

    Wonderful. Thank you for showing all of it, the cheese and the rest.

  3. Oh, my gosh. Every time I come to one of these blog entries, I just get overwhelmed and sit with my mouth open. The last two I haven't said a word, because like Ted, above, it all becomes just one comment.

    That will not do! I am going to withdraw, find my walking shoes, make a sandwich and come back. Instead of trying to leave one comment, I will allow myself to leave two or three - there just is too much to look at and ponder all at once.

    I'll start with the easy, easy part. I could live on one of those boats and eat gouda cheese for the rest of my days. Bread, too, of course, and a little something to drink. I wonder if those liveaboards do what such folks do here - rent a storage place for all the "stuff" that won't fit on the boat?

    In the section showing De Roode Leeuw, what are the boats shown in the largest photo used for? The lines are beautiful!

  4. so many things of interests. a nd i did have a feeling this was only first time and you'd be back for more.

    what a lovely city and the gothic-ness of it is simply fascinating.

  5. Ted: One blended comment is perfectly perfect! That you comment at all is pure delight, and I thank you. :) I have no problem paying to enter a church as renown as Sint Janskerk, but if I pay, please don't tell me I can't take pictutes! Are they now going to say people can't take their iPhones in...because they might take pictures??? UGH.

    Ruth: You have described exactly why I am "out of this world" in this country. I'll never live long enough to see even half of what I want to see. It's mind-boggling, yes. One of the reasons why it's been important for me to fill these posts with my images is just because I don't want to lose them...another place, in other words, to store my images in case something happens to my other files!

    SA: One blended comment is a perfect way to comment, Linda, as far as I'm concerned. That you comment at all is a gift, and I thank you.

    The boats along the river/canal near the Roode Leeuw are probably barges, like the ones we have here in Gorinchem, carrying goods from here to there. Some of them are actually lived on, and YES, I can see you loving that. I'll have to ask Astrid if all their possessions can be contained in that small space?

    PC: You're a traveler, too, Maria, and know how these cities get under your skin. We will want to see most of them one time, though, before we see some of them more than once. Thayt will be the challenge.

  6. Where to start? Like others who have commented here... there is so MUCH to see and your vision so wonderful that I often feel that I cannot comment enthusiastically about just a few for fear that you might think I don't like the rest! Silly, I know.. so this week, I simply MUST tell you how much I adore the gable stones images! Imagine being the person who gets to carve the stones and being able to know that as long as the building stands, your work will be seen by whoever comes after you. That's a legacy!

    The Stadhuis is an amazing structure... thanks for the aerial view so we can see how it sits in the square... and your images capture so many wonderful architectural details.

    I so enjoy all the images EVERY time I visit... and love how you always include Astrid in her bright red coat. When warmer weather comes, she might be harder to find!

    Oh, and stroopwaffels... I haven't had any in ages as the only time I get the real thing is when my Dutch friend visits.

  7. Victoria: You can never fear leaving anything out, dear lady, since that's my job, not yours. HA! Actually, some things I DO leave out just because. But I know where to find them. :)

    You manage to isolate, almost always, the same things I adore, like the architecture and the gevelstenen...and Astrid's red coat. I promise to make sure you'll always find her, red coat or not. :)

  8. More wonderful pictures in this post about Gouda, made all the nicer by that lovely blue sky. So nice to have some sunshine when you're out and about with the camera. What a fascinating city. But then, all the towns and cities you have visted with your camera in Holland have been fascinating.
    I wonder where you'll go next.

  9. Reading the comments and seeing this wonderful post, I do realise (and I don't take it for granted) we live in a beautiful country and everything is almost at 'walking' distance.
    Ruth is right, old cities like this are a treat when it comes to 'things to see'.
    We had a wonderful day, you scared the S*** out of me though when I lost you, I tried to call you on your cell phone (you left at home :) )
    Yes, you made up ;)
    Those birds were once in a lifetime for me, I almost felt like a voyeur......
    Fabulous post again, great pictures and this post can be added to our 'memory list'

  10. Sham: Whenever there is sun on our photo hunts, we are that much excited. I have to laugh when I go back over my posts because I can always tell what kind of day it was by looking at the sky! We have learned to NOT be disappointed if the sun isn't shining. We're just glad if it's not raining!

    Who knows where we'll go next. Not yet decided. :) I guess we really are spontaneous...but then, we've got a trip to Norway coming up at the end of the month, so we're not yet thinking of much else.

  11. Astrid: Your country is a goldmine, MLMAMV! I love that I'm helping you to see it again for the first time. :)

    Next time I promise to take my phone with me. I don't ever want you to lose me, of course. Nooit.

    I think you could have died and gone to heaven after those birds did their thing. It was truly magnificent what you captured. THANK YOU.

  12. I would like to help myself to a little bit of everything from these past two posts.

    First, a nice hunk of old, aged Gouda so that I can place a generous slab on a fresh, warm broodje with some butter. Then some candles. Last, but not least, any of those gevelstenen , but especially the white one from the Waag. Well, maybe a miniature version of it.

    And here I thought I was special when I captured the egret eating a vole. Wow, Astrid! I'm still blushing.

    I love that old Singer - did you take it home? I can think of a ton of people who would have gladly lugged it home - maybe even me.

    My verification word: fietshou, as in hou your fiets in case Granny T needs a rest.

  13. DB: I just love that you know all about Holland and can even help me learn new things about the country where I now live. No, we didn't take the singer home...except in pictures. It would have been tempting in another lifetime. :) Don't you love what comes up in word verification. So uncanny! :)

  14. What a great tour of Gouda. You had a beautiful day with lovely light and your pictures are super nice. You say that there is so much to see in those cities because they are so old – that made me think – how do you think Atlanta will look in 400 years? Will there be that many monuments to photograph? With what is going on now in the world I wonder if there will be an Atlanta in 400 years. Well, let’s stick to the present – what a fun tour of a beautiful city – I enjoyed it very much.

  15. Vagabonde: It's always extra special when the sun is shining, but not something we expect or depend on. The fun thing is to look at different posts and see the difference with and without. Atlanta will NEVER look like Europe in 100 years. What a shame! No, we won't even go there!

  16. Hey Ginnie and Astrid, okay, so gorgeous churches, cheese, beautiful boats and windmills ... and x rated birds all in one amazing post! I am so very impressed and entertained and excited for you two, what wonderful adventures - I'm so happy that you share. Keep having fun,

  17. Ginnie,
    Ruth's comment was spot on. Incredible layers and history and detail in everything from architecture to customs!
    I love Gouda. Love it. I can't overstate how much I like it, and the older the better. It's the cheese I eat the most of in France (I'd be guillotined for that remark, if they only knew...)despite all those other wonderful cheeses they've got.

    And I even learned from all the Dutch ex-pats there how to pronounce it properly. But it doesn't sound right!

    Wonderfully descriptive travelogue once again, Ginnie. I was drooling, really.

  18. WS: It's always fun to entertain, Susan, all in a day's walk! :) I feel so darn lucky. Thanks for dropping by to share it all with me/us.

    Deborah: You are part and parcel of these wonderful European cities and know of what I speak. Americans will always be astonished, coming from such youth. I really do feel so lucky and want to grab every opportunity at my fingertips...but will only scrape the surface for how much is here in The Netherland alone, let alone the countries nearby.

    Thanks, as always, for stopping by and commenting.

  19. Ginnie, it's taken me all this time to understand something that should have been apparent in the beginning.

    The amount of detail in your photos, the complexity of the structures, the obvious story-telling-in-stone here and there all point to something I learned some months ago when writing about Victor Hugo and Notre Dame but had forgotten.

    I don't want to go on too long, but maybe this quotation from the entry will give you a sense of what I mean.

    Early in "Notre-Dame de Paris" the antagonist, Claude Frollo, encourages two visitors to lift their gaze from a book lying on his desk to the massive silhouette of Notre Dame.”This (the printing press) will kill that (the cathedral),” he declares.

    Frollo’s point of view is the conviction of Hugo – that the history of architecture is the history of writing. Before Gutenberg, culture was communicated through architecture. From Stonehenge to the Parthenon, from The Alhambra to the soaring grace of Europe’s Gothic cathedrals, stories were preserved in “books of stone.” With the invention of the printing press, everything changed...

    Human thought, in changing its form, was about to change its mode of expression… the book of stone, so solid and so durable, was about to make way for the book of paper, more solid and still more durable. Architecture was dethroned. The lead characters of Gutenberg succeeded the stone characters of Orpheus.

    And there you have it. We have nothing like much of what you photograph there because the history of our settlement is a post-Gutenberg history. We didn't build America's history with stone, it was published in broadsides.

    This is a completely new sets of "lenses" to use when looking at your photos. It's really exciting to me, and more than enough reason to go back and take a second look at many of your posts!

  20. Beautiful candles (I did not know Gouda was famous for its candles), architecture, and whimsical details. I learn so much from your posts, Ginnie!

  21. SA: This comment just blows my mind, Linda! I do believe you've nailed it...exactly what it is that still astounds me every time I'm out-n-about here in Europe. THAT'S what it is. It makes so much sense, doesn't it. Clearly Victor Hugo knew what it is that happens to me...a knowing of language that isn't written on paper. And to think that was my background education...working with languages that haven't yet been written!

    Thank you for taking the time to enter these thought here. You have totally made my day!

    Karen: I didn't know about the candles either until Astrid told me. Leave it to the Dutch to know these things. :) Thanks for stopping by again.

  22. The archways, the reflections, the quaint corners ... such beauty. Even the foreplay (much prettier to look at) of the pigeons is sweet. The shoes and other details (doorways, bikes) just fill my eyes!

    I will have to pop over to V&V now. :)

  23. Margaret: Our eyes are full to overflowing after these photo hunts, indeed. And then I wonder what I've missed! Thanks for stopping by.

  24. The gable stones are truly interesting! Thanks for sharing them.

  25. Tim: I think you and I are on the same page when it comes to gable stones! :)