Gouda - Town & Cheese

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August 17th 2019
Published: August 17th 2019
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August 16, 2019 – Rotterdam, Netherlands – End of the first leg of the voyage & start of the second - Weather: 69°F/21°C, partly cloudy, wind 13.9 mph, humidity 64°

We arrived at the mouth of the Scheur at approximately 3:30 am and proceeded up river at a modest 9 knots in the dark. When we arose at 5:30 we were still moving forward. The Captain had informed the ship last evening that several miles from the pier he would have to turn around and proceed slowly stern first to the berth in the shadow of the Erasmus Bridge which crosses the Nieuwe Maas. A relatively small number of guests, 250 ended their journey and left the ship and were replaced by an equal number.

Rotterdam, today home to 1.3 million people, has one of the largest and busiest ports in Europe that offers quick and easy access to the center of Europe. Heavily damaged during the 2ndWorld War the city has worked hard to rebuild its core.

Today we journeyed 17 miles out of the city to Gouda, best known for its delicious mellow cheese. Since there was restricted access to the central portion of the city our bus was required to park while we proceeded on foot. Our tour guide set a relaxed pace stopping frequently to explain the local sights. One major stop was a visit to St. Jan’s Church, where we were given individual audio sets that provided us with many historical facts while we strolled through the church at our own pace. The church is famous for its immense stained-glass windows. After our forty minute viewing we moved on to the Market Square, that features the oldest Gothic Town Hall in Holland. Across the square we came to the neo-Classical style building known as the Weighing House, which dates from 1688. Originally used to weigh the locally produced cheese the building now houses a museum to cheese. Before returning to the bus we stopped at a local cheese store for a tasting of the local product and of course to make some purchases. On the return drive to Rotterdam the bus driver took us along the tops of a number of the dykes.

The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing. After doing another mandatory emergency drill we waited for our scheduled departure of 5:00 pm which in the end was delayed for an hour. It turned out that there was a great deal of provisioning material that needed to be stored aboard.

Tonight’s “On Stage” entertainer was Michelle Montuori, a vocal performer from the UK.

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