Our first stop yesterday was the Aalsmeer flower auction, where millions of flowers are bought and sold internationally every day. I was surprised to discover how fascinating I found it! As someone who does administrative work on a much smaller scale, I was amazed to think of the sheer amount of organization that must go into keeping this massive system running smoothly. I watched the warehouse drivers for ages, as they made their way confidently in the massive buzz of activity, and I tried to figure out as much of the process as possible. It was so satisfying to watch. I think perhaps some of the others I’m traveling with enjoyed this stop because of the beauty of the flowers–we all have our own interests!
Our next stop was the Rijksmuseum where we had the chance to explore all the art at our own pace. Whenever I go to art museums my favourite thing to do is to look at portrait art. I love the way it allows me to feel connected on a personal level across the centuries with real people.
After some difficulties we found the place for our canal boat ride through Amsterdam, our last activity for the day, and I think we were all happy for a chance to see more of the city while sitting down for a change. Tour buses aren’t allowed in the city centre!
There was much pleasure at the announcement that today we would be able to fit Zaanse Schans into the schedule. We didn’t have the time on Monday as originally planned, so we got up early this morning to see the traditional windmills before continuing with our day.
The rest of today was spent in Friesland, in the area Menno Simons was from. Our local expert, Onijdes, did an excellent job telling us about the history. His enthusiasm was evident! Especially when showing us the collection of old books in the new exhibit on the Martyrs Mirror created in the Berlikum Mennonite Church.
We’re now all resting in the generous hospitality of our local hosts from the Berlikum community. Tomorrow we depart from the Netherlands and move on to the second country of our tour.
– Morgan Regehr