A little place called Gouda

Trip Start Jun 08, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Netherlands  ,
Saturday, May 5, 2007

Zeeland was interesting, not a bad place for my home country to be named after and the little town of Veere was certainly a favourite of mine.  However, with time ticking by I had to get on the move again, this time I took the bike on the train through to Gouda.  Naturally I had an interest in the small town of Gouda, having worked for some time in the Cheese industry.  The town itself was very cute, with a large market place surrounded with cafe's and a massive town hall as the center piece. 

In Gouda I set up camp and proceeded to cycle from there the following day - firstly I headed South to a cheese farm, which was OK.  In fact I got totally ripped off there and it put me in a bit of a grump for the remainder of the morning.  They had some lovely matured Gouda for sale and purchased a small wheel that was meant to be around 8-9 months old.  When I cut into the round it would seem that the curd had barely knitted together!  Well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it would have struggled to be a month old.  It didn't cost me a lot of money (like hey, maybe 4 euro) but it was the principal of what happened that peeved me off. Anyway, I guess the moral of the story is - when buying Cheese in Holland, get a slice of a big round that you've already tasted! 

That experience aside, the farm was interesting though - 190 cows and 5 workers taking the milk from farm to fork.  The milk wasn't pasteurised, they would send the cheese to a lab 1x per week for composition testing and 80% of their Cheese was sold in Gouda itself.  I have to say the Cheese tasted beautiful (except for the round that I purchased!) and it was nice to see such a small scale production.  It must be rewarding to see a product taken from start to finish.  Somehow I don't think that 190 cows would support 5 workers in NZ though!

Gouda is a really green area, loads of farms and associated services - it had a bit of a small town feel about it, but at the same time some kind of sophistication.  One thing that did really amaze me was the bird life in the area - everything is nesting at the moment so where ever you go there's an assortment of stalks, ducks, swans and what not nesting.  There's a lot of variety in the bird life, which I guess I noticed because I was on the bike, but interesting all the same.

From the Cheese farm I rode further South to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with 19 old wild mills churning away on either side of a canal.  No doubt you would have seen these as I think that the pictures of these particular windmills are circulated world wide to make everyone think that the Netherlands has more windmills than people.  The reality is, this is the only place that I have seem multiple windmills in one space of area, but it's not uncommon to see the ancient windmills churning their way throughout the country. They were beautiful and worth seeing.

Anyway, I'm back in Amsterdam now.  Will update on that later (with photo's hopefully), so that's it for now.
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