The Aalsmeer Flower Auction:
is the world's largest! Millions of flowers and plants are bought and sold here each business day. Although the majority of them come from local producers, many are flown in from other countries. Once they go through the auction, they are loaded onto airplanes for the trip to the U.S. and other countries to be sold that day from your local florist shop.
The auction house is huge, about the size of 9 football fields under one roof. The carts of plant material are hooked together and pulled through the auction area where it is displayed to the bidders one cart at a time. We could look down from the walkways into the warehouse where we could see the hustle and bustle going on below us! You can also look into the auction rooms where the biddings take place.
Delft and a visit to the Delft Pottery Factory.
Our next stop was Delft, a picturesque town with its canals, cobbled alleyways and medieval buildings! We visited the Delft Pottery Factory "de Delftse Pauw," one of the few that still make the traditional handpainted Delft pottery that is so famous all over the world. We saw a demonstration of how the pottery is made, we also saw people handpainting various items of pottery. We bought 2 porcelain Dutch clogs, one in Delft blue and the other one multicoloured, for about 16 euros each! They come with certificates of authenticity. After our visit to the factory we drove to the city square, where we had a couple of hours to wander around, eat lunch and visit the local stores. The New Church (De Nieuwe Kerk) situated on the Markt is the official resting place of the Dutch royal family. The burial vaults are not accessible to tourists. The Delft Town Hall (Stadhuis) stands opposite the New Church. The city square is very quaint and picturesque with canals and cobbled alleys leading you to the surrounding local stores and stalls. You also see Dutch architecture at its best, narrow houses with their gables surrounding the city square.
Rotterdam and the Hague
After our stop at Delft we drove to Rotterdam where we saw Rotterdam Harbour, the world's largest. We drove under the curiously angled cube-shaped apartments that have each been turned to balance on one corner on the top of tall beams ... an architectural oddity for sure! We drove through this modern city, glimpsed the Euromast, a tower visible from miles around, and then on to The Hague, where Queen Beatrix resides and works; we saw the Parliament and the International Court of Justice. We drove through the elegant city to the seaside town of Scheveningen and drove along the promenade with its famous pier and the KurHaus, now a splendid hotel.
Our next stop was the miniature city of Madurodam. Visitors can recognize different Dutch townscapes and famous landmarks. There also is an operating harbor, airport and railway system, as well as a playing barrel organ. As soon as dusk sets in, the town is magically lit by thousands of lights.
After Madurodam we drove back to Amsterdam which we reached at 6pm.