Gouda, The Netherlands (Nederland)

February 20-21, 2001

Famous for its huge weekly cheese market, Gouda (you say it something like How-da) has a gentle charm to it. The large town center is dominated by the 13th century Stadhuis near the church whose bells don't randomly clang but chime out cheerfully.

While looking for a place to stay, I come across a little paint set! I was hoping to find one of these near home to add an artistic twist to some of the lighting and how could I resist in the land of Rembrandt!

If I can't find a reasonable place for the night, I plan to head out after dark. Luckily a B&B had room so I could stay to see the night fall on Gouda and paint my room like a van Gogh. Now back in London though, the paints merely serve as part of my room décor, a still life in reality: paint brushes casually sleeping under a drooping plant.

The next morning in the Gouda B&B, I enjoyed chatting away over breakfast with the owner while her dog rolled around my feet. Good conversation and a playful dog! Two of the simple pleasures in life that are hard to get enough of and now at the same time!

There's something special about spending the night in a place. What could easily be just a day trip gets a new glimmering coat of sparking canals and chattery cafes as the cars and shopping swam vacates the street. I've seen this added dimension in other places too... like during my pre-Europe trip with New York City and Philadelphia. And don't forget those childhood memories... remember those slumber parties!

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