26.05.2013 - 26.05.2013 11 °C
We met some more of our Dutch relatives today: Marleen, my dad's cousin, her husband Arjan, and their sons, Floris Jan and Martijn. We only saw the last two briefly, as they were both off to play grass hockey. Marleen and Arjan were wonderfully friendly, and I loved getting to know them over coffee and lunch. They introduced us to Dutch sausage rolls and Tante Rina's pound cake, both of which were delicious.
After lunch, we were given a tour of Mierlo. We stopped at a white asparagus farm, and saw them being processed and packaged. There were all sorts of products for sale made from asparagus, including croquettes, jams, and wines. We encouraged Dad to buy a small bottle of asparagus liqueur, but he decided against it. Mom and Dad had never seen white asparagus before, and didn't even know it existed until today, so they filled a gap in their education they didn't even know they had.
Further into town was a small museum dedicated to Vincent van Gogh. We didn't actually end up going in to see any of the artwork --Arjan doesn't like museums much and we are going to see the much larger Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam in the next few days.
We were reintroduced to the sport of grass hockey (field hockey in Canada), and watched Floris Jan and his team play for awhile. Though not quite as fast or as brutally rambunctious as the hurling we saw in Ireland, it was still impressive to watch.
Afterwards, we took a walk in the woods and went to a pond often skated on during the winter. We also learned a new Dutch word, kluning. Kluning is walking over land in ice skates, and is usually done during races to save time rather than taking the skates off and putting them back on again.
We ended our visit by taking photos and exchanging gifts. Marleen gave Abby and I very pretty bracelets, and we in turn gave them Canadian key chains and a little flag pin, hinting that we would love to see them in Canada sometime.
The drive home took a bit longer than expected, due to a closure on the highway and getting completely turned around as we tried to avoid it. Mom and Dad are getting pretty good at getting lost and then finding the way again, though, so Abby and I weren't too concerned.
Tomorrow we travel to the almost painfully idyllic Zaanse Schans.