Gouda, pronounced with a strong hard /h/ , not /g/, is a name familiar to cheese lovers around the world. Indeed, the famous cheese is produced in the area, and sold in town. The first mentions of the name can be found in the 12th century, though the villages and the town existed even earlier. Van der Goude family founded what is now knows as Gouda along the banks of the Gouwe River; city rights were granted to the settlement in 1272. Due to the religious wars and the Plague, the city was destroyed several times, yet it was reborn and rebuilt again and again. A few structures, like the old Gothic Town Hall, the Waag (Weigh House), and several beautiful churches survived the ages of unrest. In the Middle Ages, several canals connecting the town to the river and to the Old Rhine were dug, making Gouda into an important port. Today, a large food market is held in central square every Thursday. Gouda cheese shop is located on central street. Inside, you need to stop and stare at the abundance of cheeses in all sizes, all attractively wrapped up. You can also buy the whole large cheese, or have a slice cut out of it. The fresh cheese smell is unbelievable. Getting to Gouda from Utrecht is easy, the train, direction the Haague, runs every 15-20 minutes. It takes about 20 minutes and costs 6-7 euros. We arrived at Central Station on Thursday, and followed the crowds going to the square. There was some merry music in the air, and we saw a small brightly colored carnival booth with a sort of Punch and Judy show slowly moving along the main street. It is a great half-day trip, a popular tourist destination. And of course you go back carrying some Gouda cheese with you.








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