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I love cheese, pretty much every kind of cheese, but especially Gouda cheese. While staying in Geilenkirchen, I researched several places to go, Gouda piqued my interest. Who wouldn’t want to go to a cheese lovers paradise? Gouda, Netherlands is located in south Holland and was a quick day trip from GK. They are known for their cheese markets, stroopwafels, and Gracht (canals).
The Cheese Market
I’ve never gone to a cheese market, so I didn’t really know what to expect. We thoroughly enjoyed it though, especially the kids. The cheese market runs from April until August and only on Thursday mornings. They sell the cheese by the wheel and they stack it in the town square. From my limited understanding of Dutch, the trader will barter prices with each farmer. He moves from one farmer to the next, they banter back and forth until agreeing upon a price. After agreeing upon a price, the trader and farmer do an elaborate handshake, then they load up the cheese onto a horse drawn cart and carry it out. My kids absolutely loved watching them barter the prices. Europeans tend to be relatively kid friendly and allowed the kids to sit up front and watch them. My girls soaked it all up, especially enjoying when they threw the cheese wheels onto the cart.
Peruse the Flea Market
Gouda, also has a flea market that happens during the cheese market. Between the cheese sells, traditional Dutch dancers perform for the crowd. Our family loved watching them, and clearly they enjoyed their job, they were absolutely adorable. We watched several of their dances, my kids giggling alongside of the dancers. The even brought a musical cart and danced alongside of that too. After they dance grab them and snap a photo with them. Such a fun experience for my kids to see. We love cultural activities, and this hands down was a family favorite.
Between shows there is a flea market you can mill around, then stop and watch them make the cheese. The market had several vendors selling an array of items. We saw the cutest Dutch clog slippers; unfortunately, they were quite pricey. Watch for them to make the cheese, they only do it occasionally. Once again, my kids enjoyed a front seat to the show. The cheese maker shows you how they mix the curds, then press it into a mold. It is not uncommon to see people walk through the presentation with their kiddos to get a better look. If you have ever wondered how they make cheese do not miss the show. Afterwards, buy some freshly made cheese, it tastes different from the cheese you buy at the grocery store.
Our Favorite Part-The Food
Now onto our favorite activity-eating! We are foodies! My kids don’t fall into your typical kid category, they will pretty much eat anything and everything. We have a Celiacs kid and that plays into our food choices. Immediately, we noticed several food trucks. Most even had signs saying they could cater to allergies, unfortunately none catered to Celiacs disease-a huge boo. As we were walking in, I noticed a natural food store in one of the side streets. Thankfully, they had a huge gluten free selection. My little Minion went crazy! Once she had some delicious food, we scouted out some for ourselves. My oldest and I immediately decided on fresh hot stroopwafels (very thin waffles with a caramel filling, want to try some GF ones click here). My husband and middle daughter made a beeline for the pufferdjies (these are like miniature pancakes). Of course, we bought some fresh cheese and enjoyed it on our drive to Delft (post coming soon).
If you haven’t been to Gouda, it is a fun day trip from Geilenkirchen! You can read about our other day trip to Kinderdijk too. We loved eating cheese, stroopwafels, and pufferdijies, but our favorite was watching them barter the prices of the cheese and seeing the dancers. Gouda was a beautiful city, enchanting with all of the Gracht. As you can tell we are huge fans of Netherlands, it is a beautiful country rich in cultural history, and great food to boot!