The Dutch Keukenhof Gardens.
Holland is famous for its tulips. When it comes to seeing tulips, there is nowhere that comes anywhere close to the Dutch Keukenhof Gardens. Sometimes known as The Garden Of Europe. You will get the idea of how sensational they are from this tale from a skeptic.
These gardens are to be found southwest of Amsterdam. I know this because I was visiting Amsterdam with an old friend and his wife. He and I had talked about indulging in a tour around the Carlsberg Brewery for weeks. Unfortunately, we were only going to have a couple of days in Amsterdam and we had missed the brewery visit that had been scheduled for the first day. This was due to his wife being caught with wet hair through a blow dryer failure. As a result we had to hang about until nature allowed sufficient drying to take place. This woman was not inclined to rough it.
Drinking Carlsberg Beer
I got out of bed on the second morning with visions of frothy beer tankards in my head. I knew that all was not going to be plain sailing as soon as he walked through the door. He had that look. You know. The one that says I have bad news, but am going to try to make it sound like good news. The lady with the power was in control and wanted to go to the word famous Keukenhof Gardens.
This news spoiled my cheery disposition for two reasons. First, I had never heard of the “famous” Kuekenhof Gardens, which raised some concern that the claim might not be valid in my mind. Second, the trajectory of the course of nature was indicating results decidedly against heading for a location that encompassed the word “beer” rather than one that signaled “gardens.” For the love of God, we were in Amsterdam!
Inevitably we argued and, of course, I lost. We set off for a day in the gardens. Oh, what fun.
Of course, as usual, I was wrong in my predictions. In this statistically improbable occurrence, “gardens” definitely outweighed the “beer” option. These gardens really do deserve the fame reputation, even if you’ve never heard of them.
Van Gough in tulips
Keukenhof must have the biggest collection of flowers I have ever seen. Located on 70 acres outside of the town of Lisse near Haarlem, the gardens are surreal. There are over 7 MILLION flowers planted there with Tulips in full display. The place was originally the site of a castle, Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut’s castle, and of its surrounding lands, which gives you an idea of the scale. Essentially, you pay $20 to enter and just wander where you like. You do not get to the famous castlefest, but is like being engulfed by a landscape painting. The place is so big, you can rent bikes to potter around the grounds. The best time to go is in April when everything is in bloom, and that applies to the whole of the Netherlands.
Against all my dominant male tendencies, I have to admit visiting the Dutch Keukenhof Gardens was better than anything the Carlsberg Brewery could offer. I also did not have a monster headache the next morning!
featured image: keukenhof gardens windmill