Sorry blog followers but have been a little remiss over the last 48 hours. We left Oslo and flew directly to Amsterdam. Just want to mention here that the airport at Oslo has got to be one of the best airports we have ever been to. It has that real Scandinavian design about it with a lot of light coloured wood, glass, curves and soft lines. It was spacious, airy and welcoming. There is no comparison of this design to the extension of the Calgary airport – typical, hideous, bland airport. Anyway, enough on airports as we will not have much to do with them for a while now.
It was really cool to be picked up by Ads and Milla in Amsterdam and taken home to Hilversum where we will be until the 15th June. This is the serious part of our trip where we have to be responsible adults as we are being pseudo parents to Ads and Ali’s two teenage children, Milla and Ollie. We are also taking care of Bronte who is their three year old Golden Retriever.
Ali and Ad’s are off on Thursday morning for six days to New York to attend a wedding and have a bit of mum and dad time together. Something they probably haven’t done a lot of over the last 14 years. So we spent yesterday and today having our induction.
As to the kids, they are going to be really easy as they are totally self sufficient and more likely than not will be looking after us. As to Bronte, she is a different kettle of fish. She is a much bigger dog than we are use to and needs more walks than our girls. She also loooves water and insists on swimming every day even throughout winter. Ali also said she is stubborn which we thought she didn’t appear to be.
Bronte looking sparkling clean.
What Bronte is capable of doing – a lot higher maintenance than our two toilet brushes.
Many of you may know that Di has this thing about washing clothes and goes into the minutest details when cleaning them. Well, Di was in heaven as Ali has matching Miele washing machine and dryer. After the last month of our clothes being washed by hand they were all stiff and could almost stand up on their own. So yesterday we washed our entire wardrobe and got to hang it out on the clothesline. Absolute bliss for her – couldn’t wipe the grin off her face.
We had a great brunch with the guys and also their next door neighbours Debby and Mark. Mark has been very instrumental in helping us purchase our bikes for our upcoming trips this summer. He, himself is a very keen cyclist so was able to suss out what our requirements/needs are and has ordered the bikes for us. We will be picking them up and on Wednesday and we are looking forward to this. Will go into more detail how we aim to use them in the future.
We just spent the rest of yesterday catching up with the guys and chewing the cud as they say.
This morning we got up ultra early and went with Ali to Flora Holland where we have been before. We wanted to go again as we were too late last time to see how the Dutch auctions worked at Flora Holland. Flora Holland is this humongous distribution facility for the flowers in Europe. The flowers come from all over the world where they are graded, sorted, sold and then distributed to the buyers. One interesting fact we learnt today is that most of the roses come from Kenya.
It is hard to describe just how big this facility is and to also explain how the floor works with regards to the sorting of the flowers. Should you ever come to Amsterdam it is very much worth the visit. It is located out near Schiphol airport.
This is a couple of photos of the flowers in their buckets which are being put together for their buyer ready to be shipped out.
There are a multitude of little electric carts whizzing around delivering and collecting orders and it just looks like chaos but obviously very organised. Could have spent hours on the overhead walk way watching them buzz around and looking at all the fantastic blooms.
The photo below is of the auction floor where all the bidding is done.
It is not your typical auction in that it is what is called a Dutch auction which is when the bidding is started at a high price and then goes down on price. It took us a while for us to get our head around but in the end it did make sense.
We thought this was a pretty cool photo which we got taken out there.
We cannot start to explain the myriad of types of flowers that were for sale and we were thinking that the buyers must have a wealth of knowledge on the flowers. All the botanical names are used and so many we had never even heard of. As you could imagine, there was a very strong floral smell in the place.
So the rest of the day was taking Bronte for her swim and doing a little more note taking with regards to the kids care instructions. We are looking forward to our time with the kids as they are really good kids. We are sure they are looking forward to seeing how much wool they can pull over our eyes and we are very green indeed. We meantime are looking forward to spending time with them and learning from them what it is like to be kids in this day and age. With all the terrible happenings and madness that is going on in the world today it must be frightening and overwhelming for young impressionable people. Living here in the northern hemisphere is also very different to when we grew up downunder as you were always pretty isolated from it all as it seemed so far away but these kids are in the thick of it and living it.