Small lanterns on Mijajima, Japan
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Keukenhof: celebrating flowers in Holland

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Topic: Travelling  |  Series: The Lowlands
What you can read about Keukenhof when you visit the official website is, that it is „the most beautiful open spring garden in the world.“ It is open through mid-March to mid-May. This year the timing of the blossoming is shifted due to an unusually long winter. We started to plan our visit to Keukenhof in the middle of March and by that time we had no idea then on 20th April the tulips will not be ready yet.

Keukenhof is located between Amsterdam and Leiden, not far from the seaside. I took a train to Leiden Centraal, where I met my friends. From Leiden we proceeded by bus directly to Keukenhof. The ride took about 20 minutes. (FYI, in the bus we paid with OV-Chipkaart – one way for about 2.50 and the roundtrip from Amsterdam to Leiden was 17 Euro without t discount.)

Right after we reached the parking in front of Keukenhof, we could see we would not be alone in the garden. We evaluated the situation a "crowd insanity" according to the amount of the trip-buses already parked there and the masses of people crammed to the space in front of the entrance.

There was actually an objective reason for the crowds: firstly it was the first kind of warm weekend in Holland and secondly there was a Flower Parade organized on that Saturday and obviously attracted lots of visitors. I was secretly hoping for the crowds spreading all around after passing the entrance door; after all the garden stretches on the area as large as 30 hectares. However, it did not happen and we were walking within the crowds the whole day long.

On the other hand, it had one obvious advantage (beside many drawbacks): wind protect (even though a bit lousy one.) As I mentioned, it was one of the first warm weekends of 2013-Holland spring, but the wind significantly lowered the warmth comfort. Every single windless moment with the sunlight grasping our bodies was very appreciated.

The main flowers of Holland were not blossoming yet. However, there were large pots of tulips standing outside with the flowers being grown inside of the glass houses and then re-planted. As for the glasshouses, there were plenty of tulips. The main view outside was full of daffodils and hyacinths. I do not know exactly, whether everyone craved for seeing the tulips so much or was it the windless atmosphere which made the glasshouses being even more crammed with people then the outside garden itself. Indeed, one felt more comfortable inside, nevertheless, after twenty minutes of inhalation of the intense scents one got a pretty bad headache.

We assumed we had enough of flowers for that day after couple hours of walking and missed the Flower Parade on purpose. We assumed we would not most likely see much anyway as our average height did not even reach 170 cm. Moreover, we had more than enough crowds for the rest of the week. (I would like to say month, but that it not going to happen, as you will find out in the last paragraph of this post.)

Now I am honestly looking forward to the main tulip-season. It is worth buying a train ticket and watch the colorful plains during the ride. I have seen only the yellow daffodils and purple hyacinths so far. More colors are about to come soon.

Although the color number one in The Netherlands is going to be orange for the next week. 30th April is a day to celebrate queen’s birthday; which she actually has in February, I guess, but the celebrations are shifted to the time of the year with higher chances of better wheater. (Nota bene I do not write “with a better wheater”. And I know why!) This year the Koninginnedag is going to be even more fancy then usually. The reason for that is the resignation of the queen Beatrix and coronation of her son Willem-Alexander, a new-Dutch-king to-be-soon. The act will take place on the Dam Square in Amsterdam. The city expects more than three millions of visitors! I should get my orange hat in HEMA before they are all gone.

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