Tuesday was a last blast of winter. Cold enough that people were talking possible snow, though it didn't. A good morning to leave the bikes at home and take a train to Gouda for an outing. So we did.
Gouda is a nice town, and easy to find your way from train station to old city center.
I might as well get this out of the way early in this post. The highlight of this visit to Gouda for my inner 9-year-old was a sign outside a burger stand in the railway station: "Met echte Cheddar kaas!". How cool is that!? "With genuine Cheddar cheese!" In the town of Gouda, Cheddar is an exotic cheese worth bragging about. OK, now I've got that off my chest and we all know the level of my cultural sophistication. But hey, it was a pretty special moment.
Town square is dominated by three things -- town hall, cheese guild hall, and church. Gladly ponied up admission to tour the town hall and church, but balked at paying admission to the cheese guild hall. Went into the entrance shop, and frankly, it was a bit commercial. Made me think the tour might have been kind of cheesy. (Inner 9-year-old again...). Did get a great photo of carving over the door -- weighing of the cheeses:
Town hall was really cool. Beautiful big building, still in use for town council meetings and special events.
The first room we went into was exceptional in that both Katie and I had the same reaction: "the light is like a Vermeer painting." Room had been used previous day for a King's Day celebration and still had flowers on the tables. Took a photo that sort of captured the light, I hope.
And another that sort of captured the construction.
The church, which was under some heavy reconstruction due to settling, is famous for a couple of things. First, size. It is big. Really big. Second, stained glass. Which was pretty exceptional. Third, catching fire regularly, although I don't understand how a brick and stone church catches fire. Like many religious matters, guess you just have to take it on faith that it is possible.
Walking into courtyard outside the church, found a sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy. I like his work a lot, and it is distinctive enough to be readily recognizable. So it was emotionally kind of similar to running into a friend in an unexpected place.
Then took the train back to Alphen.