Thursday, December 25, 2008

Gouda to Rotterdam December 24

Gouda, The Netherlands December 24, 2008

Today we get another early start, 8:30. Not that I mind nut there is a kind of ritual moaning and groaning when that happens. I woke up before the alarm so I am drinking coffee and writing.

We arrive in Utrecht in a few minutes. We are far enough north that it is still quite dark at 8 AM. we will go to a cheese farm and then see the town of Gouda before going on to Schoonhaven, where there is a lot of silversmithing. Later we go on to Rotterdam, where we will stay overnight.

Gouda is a pretty medieval town and De Sint Janskerk is quite impressive. Above is a cat outside the church. We saw surprisingly few cats on this trip. However, back to the church. The stained glass windows were very impressive and chronicled the Dutch Revolt as well as religious subjects. The church is divided into sections with a special room just for weddings. We also saw the gate from the Jewish cemetary although the actual cemetary is no longer in the city center. The town hall has a carrillon with figures that move and a king and queen who emerge.

Afterwards we went to a cheese farm where the cheesemaking process was explained including the difference between farm-produced Gouda and factory-produced Gouda. The farm cheese is not pasturized.

We drove to the ship at Schoonhaven and after lunch we walked into own. It was a pleasant little town although somehow we managed to miss an enormous bike shop that John and Judy found. We did stumble across the Jewish cemetary and saw the synagogue, which is now a jewelry shop. This is the bridge at Schoonhaven. Van Gogh painted bridges like this, usually in bleak rural landscapes.

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