This hot weather is confusing me!  I am so used to wearing jeans and a jacket whenever we come here and this is now the second day I've found myself hot and sweaty at the beach.  Today was a gorgeous 30C and absolutely perfect for sitting with you feet in the sand and a beer in your hand.

marketWe started out our day with a trip to the market in Uithoorn.  Jeff's cousin Jan-Geert was working there today and the kids absolutely love seeing the giant Scholten truck at the market (I think it makes them feel semi-famous).  Jeff also has fond memories of the place because when he was a young 19 year old he lived here for a year and worked with his uncle on the market.  truckWe had a lunch of all of Jeff's favorite market foods; kibbling (deep fried fresh fish pieces with some kind of delicious sauce), loempias (spring roll thingamajigs), and of course drop (black Dutch licorice).  I think he was a little bit in grease heaven!  We also got some amazing looking fruit from Jan-Geert and look forward to our delicious breakfast tomorrow morning.  He chuckled as he told us that the beautiful dark purple cherries are actually imported from Canada!

We also drove by the giant Flower Market in Aalsmeer which is basically the world stock exchange for fresh flowers.  It's huge!  We watched a show on tv a few years ago that showed what happens inside; think men in suits yelling at each other and flowers everywhere.  Very interesting.  Thanks to Wikipedia I just learned the following facts; there are approximately 20 million flowers sold there daily, it's the 5th biggest building in the world in terms of floor space, and it's done Dutch auction style which is where the price starts high and then slowly drops.  The buyer has only a few seconds to bid before it's shipped off to the new owner's business.  The flowers literally come from all over the world - not just Europe but places like Columbia and Ethiopia as well.  This explains why the market we went to had absolutely gorgeous bouquets of flowers for about 1/5 the cost we'd pay at home.  I wanted to take them all with me!

Finally it was beach time.  We drove back to Zandvoort where we had such a nice time on Sunday, and thankfully it wasn't quite as busy as it was then.  We still had some difficulty finding a parking spot and we ended up paying a small fortune to park in a really nice underground parkade after trolling the streets for about 15 minutes in search of a spot.  The good thing with the underground was that it kept all of our beautiful fruit nice and cool instead of turning it in to wine while we sat at the beach.  Plus it was the cleanest parkade I've ever seen - it's like they scrub the floor every night!

beach2We set up at the same little beach restaurant that we went to the other day, but this time we scored a giant area that was fully shaded and had a lot of couches and tables.  It also had huge pillows you could lounge on and a bunch of hammocks.  It's crazy that you can sit there all day for free if you like, but of course they prefer if you eat and drink from their restaurant.  The cost is reasonable, especially considering the location, so we happily ate and drank what they offered!  The craziest thing happened while we were there… I was lounging on a pillow staring at the sky when I happened to stretch and turn my head the other direction for a second.  At that exact moment I saw Jeff's brother walking about 20 feet from us.  We had no idea that he (and his family) was going to the beach today - what are the chances that we would run in to them?  So random.   The beach is absolutely huge… seeing them was like finding a needle in a haystack!  They came and joined us in our luxury box and we ended up spending the entire afternoon together.  Then Yvonne, the girlfriend of Jan-Geert who we just saw at the market, appeared with her son.  Again, how strange!  What we thought would just be a quiet afternoon with the 4 of us turned into a giant party and a lot of fun.

Lucky ducks, that's what we are.


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