Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Open Air Markets

Rotterdam, like other cities in Europe, has many open markets in the city. They are held in different neighborhoods on various days. Our local market is on Fridays. We are usually the only shoppers who are dressed for church, but that is OK. We try to spread our smiles around as we shop. We are fortunate that our market is only about 2 blocks from our house. There are bakers, fish dealers, vegetable dealers, cheese dealers, clothing, flowers, etc. These sellers offer lower prices than the stores that are in the area. It is a busy place to visit. We especially enjoy buying two huge bouquets of flowers for 4.5 Euros ($7). The cheese is always good too. We are always sampling new varieties, of course Gouda cheese here comes in many flavors, and then there are many other brands of cheese. We learned that 80% of the Dutch cheese is exported to Germany (which is the largest producer of cheese in the world). But even they love Dutch cheese. Here many people drag a little 2 wheel shopping cart along to stash their purchases in. We find that it works well for us too. Shopping in the small grocery stores here is interesting too, you pay a 50 cent deposit to use their big carts. Then at check out you bag your own things in a bag that you have brought or you buy a new bag for 1 Euro ($1.50). There is still nothing quite like the open markets, with the smells, sights and sounds. In the center of the city is a huge market. It has a fabric and clothing section that is bigger than our small local market. Some days we still pinch ourselves and say, "Wow, we live in Holland"!

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