We rented bikes and rode into Gouda this morning. The bikes are a little different and bigger than what we ride back home and have racks to carry stuff. It was a nice ride along canals and pretty houses. We navigated the roads and bike paths pretty well and found parking near the Markt. Thursday is market day in Gouda. The cheese market takes place in back of town hall and there’s also an open market all around the square. The cheese market isn’t as big or showy as the Kaasmarkt in Alkmaar, but it still plays to the tourist crowd.
We walked around the market for awhile and stopped at a vendor to get some herring. I tried it for the first time and though, I won’t be eager to have it again, it wasn’t half bad! We found a walking tour about Erasmus at the visitors center and started off to follow it. He was born in Gouda and lived much of his life there in a monastery. We decided to bike ride around the city before lunch. That was a great idea until we made a wrong turn, ended up just outside the city and had to navigate our way back to the center. We had lunch at a sandwich shop that served some tasty paninis. Side note: the Cokes here are served in really small bottles that cost about twice as much as they do in the US.
We got back on the bikes and took the LONG way back to the B&B. It was nice at first — through the marshland, around a small lake, past some pretty houses. Then when my butt started to hurt and we were pedaling against the wind, it was taking too long to get to where we were going. I’m pretty sure Dick chose the longest route. He, by the way, refused to use the GPS voice navigation and stopped a bazillion times to check the map!
We crashed in our room for awhile to recoup, then drove to Kinderdijk to see the windmills. The route to the best view is not well marked, but we figured it out. Some nice ladies told us where to park. There are 19 windmills here and it’s an impressive sight to see. We could see that the mills we passed were occupied and I discovered later that 18 of the mills are residences. Can you imagine living in a windmill?
As we walked in, we could see rain clouds rolling in behind us. I commented that we should be quick with our sightseeing. When I saw all of the mills and got some nice pics, I started heading back. Dick is always slower than me and takes a lot of pictures (I told him he was like a Japanese tourist). I asked him for the car keys, but he wanted to walk back together. “Give me just a couple of minutes.” After a couple of minutes passed, I asked for the car keys again and started walking as fast as I could back to the car. Keep in mind, we had biked over 12 miles earlier in the day! The rain drops started to fall and I started to run with stiff legs. Ugh! I was nicely wet when I got to the car and so was Dick, of course. I couldn’t resist an “I told you so.” He remembered that towels we picked up at Nel’s for his mother were in the car and we dried off a little with them. The car fan did the rest as we drove back.
Snacks were acquired at Albert Hein (grocery store) on the way home. Dick got some of his childhood favorite treats. I discovered Rooibus tea on our canal cruise and I’m stocking up on some to bring home. We’re also making mental notes of other items we want to buy before we leave.
Tomorrow we pick up the Smid folks and transition to a bungalow in Friesland.