Things to do, part 2

Let the sunshine in

So there you are, after the city tour. You are sitting at the marketplace and you are moved by the young couple on its way to the city hall to get married.

The bride is not very pretty, but the sunlight on her embroidered white wedding dress is enough of a compensation. 

You are sipping your beer, thinking: What next? As for all important decisions in life, the answer is 'it depends' 

-on the month of the year for instance

Or on the day of the week.
If it is Saturday, there is a lively market right in front of you. The best thing to do is to order another beer, and another one, and another one, in the mean time watching the people pass by. And you don't need the tourist information machine for that.


If it is Wednesday, at the very same place you can observe 'Gouds Montmartre'.
They promise 'old books' , 'antiquities' and 'artisans'. Indeed, the books are a little out-of-date; the bric-a-brac that is sold is priced as if it was real antique. But then, suddenly, you may find something really interesting, either because it is very beautiful or because it is extravagant in its ugliness. And it is real fun to talk with the man who makes pipes out of clay, in the old fashion. His craft should be admired (and his products should be bought, I haste to say).

If it is Thursday, you may visit the cheese-and-crafts market. Not long ago the Gouda cheese market was authentic. People in Gouda would laugh about the Alkmaar cheese market. It was known to be completely phony. But times do change. Nowadays, the Gouda cheese market is also tourist territory. But you are a tourist, if only a virtual one, aren't you? So, HAVE A LOOK...

For other days of the week, you might prefer a trip to the lakes: De Reeuwijkse Plassen.

The trip will take you through canals and a 17th century lock . Watch the official on a bike, trying to keep up with the boat, opening and closing all the bridges you have to pass. You'll experience the bumping of the touring boat in the small lock.
After arriving at De Reeuwijkse Plassen you may just wonder how stupid people were with their plans in 1923 to fill it up and change the lakes into fertile land that would be heavily subsidized by the Common Market authorities by now. We're glad to say these plans were stopped.

Or you can take a stroll in "De Goudse Hout" where water and earth become almost one without becoming a swamp.

And on Sundays? On Sundays there is only one thing to do, ESCAPE! The town is empty, the shops are closed, and everything seems to be slower than 50 years ago. If you are of the meditative kind, you may perhaps choose to sit cross-legged at one of the main crossings of Gouda, only to be disturbed by some pigeons. But if you are more active, do like the Dutch: rent or steal a bicycle and discover Gouda's surroundings. Go to Rotterdam, for instance.

If all this is too much of an effort for you, you might consider to become an angel and go to the Coffeeshop New Heaven.

Rain or sunshine, working day or Sunday, it doesn't matter: Let the sunshine in! And the guardian angels will protect you.