Ships pass in the night

With good weather upon us we sidled into a mooring on the Gouwe River in Waddinxveen next to the lifting bridge. Along the way we passed a huge lot filled with containers used to transfer goods on container ships. The barges that load and unload there passed by our mooring over the next few days, day and night, as we snuggled behind the huge pylons.

After completing the chores we had been unable to complete due to the weather, we moved down the river to Gouda. Gouda is an ancient town, founded by the Goude family circa 11th century, near where the city hall is now, in what was then a peat zone. Peat was harvested for fuel for centuries.

The 13th century castle was destroyed in the 16th century. In the 19th century the city walls were removed. However the city is still divided by many canals.

As we were coming into the central harbor we had to wait for a bridge to open. We blinked our eyes trying to interpret what we were seeing. A large barge was backing up through a narrow bridge.

After passing the lock and the next bridge, and had been moored for a few minutes, the friendly havenmeister (harbor master) came by, recommending we move to the other side where there was electricity and water. The price was the same where we were, while lacking those amenities.

We walked through old neighborhoods to the old harbor. There are a dozen or so turn of the century barges converted for their live-aboard occupants. There’s a very charming small restaurant by the lock with its what I half jokingly call guillotine style gates, as I cower beneath their sharp looking down facing blade when we enter.

Gouda’s city hall is world famous, for good reason. Today the huge plaza is filled with the Thursday cheese market

Gouda cheese market
Photo by Peg

Gouda is indeed the home of the cheese of the same name, in case you were wondering. It is the world’s oldest cheese produced with the same recipe, first mentioned in 1184. It is wrapped in wax to retain moisture. Here, unlike in most countries, there are many versions of the cheese, varying by the degree of aging, from one to twenty months. The latter is termed ‘oude Gouda.” I have tried some that are as hard as a well aged Parmesan.

Traditional barge in the old harbor in Gouda
Turn of the century barge in the old harbor

5 thoughts on “Ships pass in the night”

Comment here (login optional)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.