|Thursday 22nd April 2010 Weather:-Cold /Sunshine-12 degrees
We have come to realize that if we want to enjoy all the things on our agenda around the Lisse area of Nederland we had better get a hotel at closer quarters, the danger of getting stuck in a traffic jam while on our way to the BloemenCorso is not worth it and with the cost of petrol and a very thirsty little car it makes more sense so today we moved into the Hotel de Duif (Dove) in Lisse for the next two nights. This hotel is only a 10 minute walk away from Kuekenhof so be prepared for lots of photos of flowers over the next two days.
On Saturday April 24th at 9.30am, the annual Flower Parade (BloemenCorso) will leave Noordwijk to travel its 40km route (3.3k.p.h), along the main roads, to arrive in Haarlem at about 21:00 hours. The procession will comprise of 20 large floats and more than 30 decorated luxury cars, interspersed with marching bands and today and tomorrow all and sundry can go to a giant warehouse in Sassenheim, 14k away to see all the volunteers (men, women and children of all ages) assemble the floats. Most of the shapes that will be floating past us on Saturday are made from Styrofoam and on these last two days they are completely covered by millions of flower heads pinned in by pins that resemble large hair pins. This year the theme of the parade is 'Journey through Europe'. When we got to the warehouse we were amazed at the amount of young people involved in putting the floats together—lots of teenagers obviously having fun together and on the sidelines the grandmothers are supervising younger kids from as young as 4 y.o. as they are cutting of the stems and pushing pins through the flower heads then they are sorted into different baskets according to their colours. These baskets are the pallets of the artist, for you have to graduate before you can become a 'pinner'. The theme of each years' parade is made up a few years in advance then plans of each float have to be passed by the committee and each group has to determine how many flower heads they need and of which colour, then the flowers have to be grown and to bloom at the right time---this gives you just a clue as to the amount of work that gets put in every year, all for the well deserved prestige of the 'Best Flower Parade in the World'. The obvious question to ask was "how do they keep fresh until Saturday night" the answer I got was that they just spray them. I think they must have 'magic spray' for I am sure that they will look as fresh as they are today-come Saturday. Having been priviliged to have seen the BloemenCorso twice before I know we are in for a treat.