April 10, 2012
Day 4 in the Netherlands. A quieter day since we had spent the day before walking and traveling around Amsterdam. We also needed some more groceries and wanted to spend some quality time with family. The grocery carts in the Netherlands are locked together, so you have to put one Euro coin in to receive the cart. Then when you finish shopping you lock it back in line and get your coin back.
One strange thing we noticed in the grocery store: Ketchup and Mayo in toothpaste style tubes!
It takes about 3 times as long to do any grocery shopping because everything looks different and has Dutch labels. For example their yogurt is kept in jugs that look like our paper milk cartons. But their milk is also in those cartons. And their pudding. And their juice. So you have to really read the labels to know if you are getting yogurt, milk, whipping cream, or pudding because the jugs look alike! And since it’s written in Dutch it is slower to read everything. You wonder around the grocery store like an idiot for an hour to buy 15 items. ; )
After our grocery adventure we biked over to my Aunt’s house to have coffee, tea, and dinner with the family. Super fun!
Back at the cabin unloading the goodies! The Dutch have several things that we don’t in America, so we often eat too much here!!
Our cabin is owned by my Aunt, its been so nice to have a place to stay! My sis and I are sharing a room that is about 5 foot by 7 foot and has 2 narrow beds. Totally tiny but perfect for us! I’ll share more photos of the place later. I just liked this image mom took of us getting ready for bed. ; )
Day 5 The Aalsmeer Flower Auction
My dad has a cousin Jopie who is married to Jaap who used to work at the largest flower auction house in the world. So we called him up and he was able to give us an inside tour of the place. We even got to go into the auction room and down on the floor where tourists aren’t normally allowed to go! We were a bit on the late side for the auction since it was an hour drive from Driebergen to Aalsmeer. Also my Aunt’s car could only hold five so my Dad and cousin went by train – but the train track had an issue so they were an hour late arriving. But we got into the Auction just in time to see the last carts go through…
The Dutch auction system is backwards from the American system. Instead of bidding up, they bid down. So the clock in the middle shows the price and it keeps dropping until someone bids. The first one to bid gets the lot. So the game is to try to bid as low as possible but still be the first to hit the button!
After the bidding all the carts are then sorted and sent to the correct truck for shipment – or to another room where smaller flower shop owners can buy smaller quantities.
The purple flowers below are in a special room where the quality of the different growers is tested. A flower will be taken from each grower at random on random days and tested to see how long it stays fresh. Only the best quality growers are allowed to participate in the Aalsmeer market.
After our tour we went to Jopie and Jaap’s house for lunch. Below it’s my brother and sister, Jopie, me, Jaap, and my Aunt and Cousin. My mom and Dad got in another photo but I liked how my Aunt and Jaap were laughing in this one. ; )
On the way home my Aunt took us the scenic route through little villages. So fun!
Typical dutch farm. Canals and fields!
I’m not sure when I’ll find internet again but I’ll do my best to update you again soon!
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