Wednesday, July 14, 2010
On Fridays in the summer, the town of Alkmaar, a short train ride out of Amsterdam, holds a cheese market. Both Rick Steves and a co-worker recommended stopping by, so we made the trek out on a morning that was gray and almost dreary in Amsterdam. By the time we reached Alkmaar, the sun had come out and we were ready for some cheese.
The market is where all the cheese-makers come to sell their cheese, in a delightfully medieval fashion, in the public market square.
On the walk to the market, we passed several booths where cheese was being sold by the slice to hungry passers-by. There were samples too. Yum.
This is the large weigh house, where the cheese is weighed, to make sure it isn't too heavy or too light, I guess. I think it is now a museum. We didn't go in, since the market was in full swing and more than interesting enough.
See, these guys, in their traditional white clothes and straw hats, load up a cheese sleigh (I have no idea if that is what they are really called, but that's what the look like to me) and carry it to the weigh house. It is sort of a competition, and there are different guilds.
There is a lot of cheese to be moved. We didn't get there until the market had already been underway for over an hour, and there was still a ton (ha ha) of cheese to be weighed.
Close up of the cheese. You can get Beemster in some markets here in the USA. Just think, it may have gone through Alkmaar.
Here, you can tell the two carriers are from different guilds, because they have different colored hats. The cheese girls are just there for the tourists, I am sure, since they didn't actually do anything.
Oh, and there was a man making traditional clogs, for wearing and for decoration. Pretty neat, but I can't imagine that they are comfortable for long-term wearing.