Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Trees and cheese


We are sitting in the cockpit with the sound of leaves rattling pleasantly, shaded from hot sun by a glade of trees on the canal bank. This is the centre of Gouda, a medieval city famous for its round yellow cheeses. We are only 5 minutes from the Markt square.

We got here after a 2 and half hour sprint through more lifting bridges - including an infamous rail bridge. It opens infrequently and 3 different sources gave us 3 sets of timings for opening. We assumed if we didn't get there by 1015 we would have to wait another 3 hours for the sod to open, tied up at an unprepossessing edge of canal.

We thought we'd just missed it as we came steaming toward it at 1022. Much cursing. But hang on. There was a magic green over red signal and a display said it opened at 1027. Our timing turned out to be immaculate. Who knew.

Once through, there were more bridges, a lock (where the drop was a mere 11cm) and increasingly small bridges in ever narrower and shallower canals. Until at last we popped out into the Kattensingel a wide waterway fringed with trees in the centre of Gouda. We moored up alongside in time for lunch.

Then a short stroll to the Markt where an antiques and curio market was in progress,
coffee, ice cream and a trip around the glorious medieval town hall complete with ornate ceilings, which is now used for weddings. We sat in the wedding chairs to rest our hot feet. There's a lot more still to see.

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