Hi friend! We’ve missed you. I don’t know what has happened to all my time set aside for blogging — it clearly has become nonexistent in the past few days. Between the car battery dying in the post office parking lot, the giant bee in my bedroom, the spilled spaghetti noodles all over the kitchen floor, and missing the heating oil delivery twice, I feel like time is positively flying by. Do you feel like that, too? I would like each day to have a few extra hours, bitte und danke.
Last Friday Stanley, Elle and I packed our bags and loaded up the car for a road trip to the Netherlands with friends.
Our mission: to see Keukenhof (koo-ken-hoff), also known as the Garden of Europe. These gardens can be described in three simple words: tulip lover’s paradise. It is the world’s largest flower garden exclusively open a few months of the year. Springtime in the Netherlands means one thing – tulips – and the Keukenhof, located just outside of Amsterdam, is the place to be to see them.
Outta my way, winter! I’m making room for burgeoning bulbs bursting with a myriad of colors!
Tulips of every shape, size, and color imaginable stretch over 80 acres. There are over seven million bulbs planted here each year, with tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and orchids. Keukenhof started in 1949 as a way for tulip gardeners to exhibit their latest hybrid variety, but now it is a huge tourist attraction with a million visitors over eight weeks each spring.
There were tulips as far as the eye could see, over 1600 different varieties. Spring sprang late this year so several of them hadn’t bloomed yet. I’m sure in a couple of weeks, the gardens will look entirely different. I enjoyed being surrounded by the colorful majestic beauty of the flowers. The beautiful flowers speak for themselves and the way the colors pop against each other is mesmerizing. The arrangements are quite grandiose — while some are more freely designed, others have a definite shape. We saw one tulip garden laid out in the shape of a tulip (creative, right?)
All you need to enjoy the Keukenhof is a functioning nose and set of eyes — and, if possible, a macro lens for your camera. I love the detail of this tulip’s razor sharp teeth-like petals.
European gardens are also synonymous with swans. There are loads of them in the garden’s lakes, and I caught them doing their swan dance.
To say this place is a crowded tourist attraction is an understatement. It was an “elbows out” kind of day…which can be stressful, but the park is large enough that you can quickly escape the masses of people and enjoy the scenery.
Case in point.
Later that day, we piled in with all the other tourists for the flower parade. The streets were lined with people at least 10 deep. We opted for a seat in the back so the kids could run around if they wanted and held our cameras up high to get a better view of the flower covered floats.
We weren’t able to thoroughly enjoy the parade because we were in the back — all the rude pushy people shoved us out of the way. Fortunately, a kind older couple restored our faith in humanity by allowing my friend’s little girls to stand in front of him so they could have a front row seat. 🙂
Before ending our day, we stopped for a fresh made stroopwafel (one of mine and the Viper Pilot’s favorite treats). A stroopwafel is two flat crunchy waffles stuck together with a layer of sweet caramel syrup. They sell something similar at the registers at Starbucks (but, of course, they do not compare). These were fresh off the waffle maker…warm and gooey just the way I love them. It was the most awesome sugar high I’ve ever experienced.
Check back tomorrow for part two of our weekend! Have a happy Tuesday, everyone.