The 2nd week of our trip began in Amsterdam, where we spent 4 days. Such a beautiful city. On our first full day, we started out early for the Aalsmeer Flower Auction. WOW, what a huge place; it is the 2nd largest building in the world (by land area covered). It is conveniently located next to the airport where flowers from all over the world are shipped in and back out – about 20 million per day! It is operated as a “Dutch auction” where prices start high and drop until someone bids. The buyers really must know their stuff to get the best price without succumbing to FOMO. And there is just no way to describe the fragrant air that fills the entire place; it was incredible! The scent of all those flowers permeating the atmosphere of the building was almost intoxicating. Watching all the workers moving batches of flowers from place to place with their little carts and rolling racks was mesmerizing. It looked so chaotic, yet extremely organized at the same time. I was quite awestruck, hence the abundance of photos.
As a follow-up to week 1 post, more alternatives! Bikes, bikes and more bikes. The city is at or below sea level, so obviously, there are no subways. And, while the city has grown immensely over the centuries, there is little room for roads and less for vehicle parking. Hence, everyone rides bicycles. Whether they live in the city or commute, pedal power is how many get where there going. It was actually quite overwhelming at first; the riders go fast, move over or stop for no one, and even run the bike traffic lights. If you don’t pay attention, you are sure to get hit. Another bit of eco-friendly trivia to tie the transportation and energy alternatives together, ALL electric trains in the Netherlands are 100% powered by wind energy.