Our objective on this beautiful May afternoon was the flower garden at Keukenhof, located half way between Haarlem and Leiden.Google Map
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We set out on our journey from B&B Paula on the west side of Haarlem. Going south we passed through the affluent suburb of Aerdenhout where you see many beautiful homes such as this thatched roof mansion.
Ah ha. Only 20 minutes south of B&B Paula we come across our first tulip field.
Well, you must know that this is Holland because there goes one of those double decker Dutch commuter trains flying south from Haarlem to Leiden. They'll get there before we do but we are smelling the flowers. Hyacinths drive me crazy. No sails on the windmill today.
You can stop here and buy some flowers. Two bos (bundles) of tulips cost only €2.50 (~$3.90) and 20 roses are a steal at € 3.50 (~$5.40). The makelaar is a real estate agent offering the house next door te koop (for sale) for probably a princely sum.
Another field of stunning wild red.
Here is photographic evidence that people actually do tip toe through the tulips.
Here is another part of the ground level rainbow south of Haarlem.
A village extends its welcome, also in church on Sunday at 10:00. The auto road narrows four times, but not the red bicycle road. Bicycles, called fietsen in Holland, are the preferred way to get around in this small country. Everybody has a few bikes. Paula pauses while I shoot.
If you are driving follow the blue signs. The number next to the name of each town is the distance in kilometers. Each kilometer is 6/10 of a mile. N 206 is a route number. The N208 is a more direct route from Haarlem but the N206 has less traffic and more tulip fields. Click the Google map above for details.
If you are riding a bike follow the red bordered signs. Hey, we are getting close! Keukenhof is only three kilometers away. That's less than two miles and the sky is still blue. This is our lucky day.
What a welcome sight this is, a cafe. We stopped for a traditional Dutch beverage, that pale orange liquid with a white foamy head. An Italian family had rented those four green bikes in Leiden for their journey to Keukenhof.
Finally we arrive at Keukenhof after two hours of strenuous lolling about on the bicycles, having a beverage at the cafe, and taking photos. We could have easily made it in under an hour except for the lolling. Inside Keukenhof we were greeted by the first patch of beautiful flowers. There are acres and acres of this.
Signs like these are posted around Keukenhof. Entrances/exits are indicated by the P for parking signs. Hoofdingang is the main entrance. Rest your bones and nourish your body at the cafe pavilions. For example, at Willem Alexander Pavilion you can get information brochures, enjoy one of three sorts of toilets, get a band aid, buy souvenirs, have a snack and beverage, and change your dollars into way overpriced euros. Willem Alexander is the newly crowned King of The Netherlands. His Mother Beatrix retired as queen. His Grandmother was Juliana and his great-Grandmother was Wilhemenia. Wilhemenia's birthday had been celebrated vigorously on April 30 every year. As of 2013 Willem Alexander became king and Queen's Day was abolished. See my page at Queen's Day for pictures of the Amsterdam Koninginnedag events in 2008.
A couple of masonry bulbs helps to decorate the grounds.
When you have had enough tulips challenge yourself on these pads. Don't drown.
Back to the displays. There are dozens of patches of bloemen in Keukenhof.
Before you buy your bulbs make sure that the package has the certificate of good health. If the bulbs do not have the holograph certificate, the US Customs Service will burn them when you bring them home. Here is a sample of what the certificate should look like: Certificate of Inspection. It must be dated and you have six weeks to get the tulips back to the USA.
We stoped for a beverage and utterly lousy sullen insulting "service" at this cafe. I've never experienced such a bad waitress anywhere in my life. On the left is an organ grinder. This guy didn't have a monkey but made a lot of annoying noise with his machine and his shaking coin cup.
Tail of the dog, but this one didn't bite me.
It looks like ladies nude golfing is allowed. Fore!!
No Dutch attraction would be complete without a kid zone. Keukenhof is no exception. I am not too old to try that myself.
Tulips go with windmills.
Just another pretty scene.
I am jaded.
It isn't over until the fat lady swings.
The day is getting long as we ride back to Haarlem past more tulip fields and this quiet canal. The sun stays up until late in the evening in May. Holland is one beautiful country.
Keukenhof Official Web Site.
Queen's Day Amsterdam.
There is a crazy side to The Netherlands, also. It has been called Queen's Day for many years. Starting in 2014 it became King's Day. It is celebrated throughout the country but the real action is in Amsterdam, as if that great city has any need for further excitement. You've probably never seen anything like this party. This link takes you to my Photolog of one of my visits to this annual springtime event.
B+B Paula, Haarlem, Holland.
Probably the best sleeping quarters you can find in Haarlem or Amsterdam, B+B Paula is ideally located on the west side of Haarlem. The Bed and Breakfast includes two rooms, a fully equipped kitchen, a shower room, separate commode, hair blower, free WiFi, free street parking, bicycles, plus made-to-order breakfast delivered to your room. It's like an apartment with room service. And you'll never find a more pleasant area in which to ride a bike, known as a fiets in Holland.
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