Not a tough day at all!
26.04.2019 - 27.04.2019 15 °C
Nina said in our briefing last night that if we didn’t like flowers this would be a tough day! Well, the toughest part of the day was leaving the Elodie at sunrise (6.20am) to cycle 6km to to the Aalsmeer Flower Market. After that, it was all uphill - the day that is!
The Aalsmeer Flower Market is the largest flower auction in the world. It began almost one hundred years ago in a cafe in nearby Aalsmeer and is now the basis for an international business.
Some facts about the Aalsmeer Flower Market
- Every day about 6000 growers from around the world provide flowers to be auctioned
- Over 1000 exporters and wholesalers ensure that flowers and plants find their way to customers all over the world.
- Every day, 20 million cut flowers and 2 million plants pass through this auction
- Of the flowers and plants that pass through these auctions, about 85% are exported the same day
- Most remain within a radius of 1500 km and go to Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia or Eastern Europe.
- Principal import countries include Israel, Kenya, Uganda, and also European countries such as France and Denmark.
- Trades over 12 billion flowers and plants annually
Visitors walk on a raised platform that runs for about one kilometre up and back through the middle of a giant warehouse. From there you have a birds eye view of what is going on in the warehouse below - containers of flowers being delivered and moved to different parts of the warehouse as they are sold and you also see into the auction rooms to see the bidding in action. It was an absolutely fascinating process to observe. You can get an idea of it from the videos and pictures below.
The auction room. Bidding is done by the clock and runs very quickly.
Following our visit to the flower market we cycled back to the barge, where we had breakfast while the barge motored for 21/2 hours to Lisse for our next floral feast of the day, Keukenhof.
Keukenhof is one of the world's largest flower gardens, where approximately 7 million flower bulbs are planted annually in an area which covers 79 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. The gardens were established in 1949 and are open from mid-March to mid-May, containing many types of bulbs and other plants and shrubs, however, it is the tulips which steal the show and make it so well known. We enjoyed 3 hours of free time to wander through the gardens on a cold but fine day, and although the warm weather had taken its toll on many of the blooms, there were still some stunning flowers to be seen.
Here are some of them - I loved so many that it was hard just to choose a few to share with you!
This is one of the many tulip fields that surround Keukenhof that we passed on the way there.
All below are in Keukenhof.
Following our visit to the Keukenhof, it was back on the bikes and off to Haarlem, passing several more colourful fields of tulips before we would reunite with the Elodie to spend the night in Haarlem, which looked like such a delightful town as we cycled in.
Team Elodie enroute to Haarlem
After dinner we went out for our evening guided town tour of Haarlem with Nina, (a bit later than usual and too late for photos) and saw that, despite all the revellers in the town squares cafes and bars getting in the mood for King’s Day the next day, you could see it was a really lovely town with some beautiful buildings and a lovely atmosphere
We returned to the Elodie to find our own little bit of pre Kings Day atmosphere as Chango and Hans had decorated the salon with orange flags and put out some Oranjebitter, a favourite Kings Day orange liqueur due to its orange colour. A nice end to a great day.