May 10, 2013 24 Comments
More images from Keukenhof. If you are unable to make it to Holland in spring, let me bring Holland to you with these pictures…
and loving it
May 8, 2013 59 Comments
After a bit of absence from this space, I am back with some colorful spring pictures from our trip to Keukenhof last Sunday. Weather was fantastic with lots of sunshine, blue skies and pleasantly warm temperature. Spring has finally arrived after the long wait!
We were there at 11 in the morning but the park was already bursting with visitors from all over the world. Funny enough, it was like being at a UN summit in a park setting.
Perfect time to be at Keukenhof as most of the blooms are already out and at their prettiest. My fingers kept on clicking so this post and the several to follow will be from this one lovely spring outing.
May 5, 2012 121 Comments
I know that my posts lately have been more on the Dutch flower fields but seeing that much beauty makes it impossible to not be carried away and have that overwhelming desire to share them.
On this particular day that we celebrated Queen’s Day (30th April) we were simply super lucky with the weather of warm temperature and blue skies as the days after were again chilly, wet and grey. That day was a one-off and I am glad that we had these pictures as reminder of that one seemingly rare warm spring day.
April 27, 2012 149 Comments
Hubby and I always love our cheap spring date where we would normally drive around the bulb field areas in the Noordoost Polder, have coffee by the flower fields sold by some enterprising farmer’s children and have lunch of fries and kroket in a snack bar that we would find open in one of the village centers along the flower route. We don’t see the need to go to any fancy restaurant for what can we ask for when already surrounded by so much beauty that we are literally drowning from the sight of millions of tulips in full bloom.
It is kind of funny that this activity that we do every springtime comes as too corny and tacky to a lot of people. Many Dutch would not want to be seen in the flower fields, more so, to have their pictures taken in such a setting. I don’t mind being branded as corny and tacky in my appreciation of this incredible beauty. To me, seeing this amazing wonders of nature every spring is a testament of God’s existence and infinite love for us.
April 25, 2012 40 Comments
April is about to draw to a close but this month which used to be in recent years the nicest time in spring has been for the most part wet, cold and grey. I still can’t say “Adieu” to my winter coat with the temperature still too cold and oftentimes unpredictable. Still, spring is inching its way forward but I haven’t really managed to take new pictures.
Here are spring pictures from last year, a continuation of my Tulips series.
April 15, 2012 69 Comments
We are still to have that annual visit to Keukenhof and our usual foray to the flower fields. Weather lately has been pretty weird as the disturbance up north sent chills our way these last couple of days.
Still, spring is here and frosty nights and chilly days haven’t dampen our spirits. I share with you more tulips pictures from last year.
April 7, 2012 94 Comments
Busy time right now preparing for tomorrow’s Easter egg hunt. The little ones are already so excited. We will have the egg hunt in the sand dunes of Soesterduinen which is just a few kilometers away from our place. It sure will be a lot of fun because there is so much space to run around for the very energetic and hyper kids. Lots of secret places to hide the eggs as well.
Nonetheless, let me share with you these tulip images which I took last year from a showcase of various types of tulips which we chanced upon while driving through the Noordoost Polder.
April 5, 2012 118 Comments
Ask a typical Dutchman if he/she have pictures in the flower fields and you will get that bewildered look. It is also against their “principle” to go to Keukenhof which they say is just meant for tourists.
My husband never really cared about the flower fields nor ever been to Keukenhof before we met. It was like, “Why would I go to Keukenhof or why would I have my pictures taken in the midst of the flower fields?”. Being in the midst of flower fields or standing in front of the windmills are simply the most uncool things to the Dutch, especially the younger generations. They prefer to travel abroad and have their pictures taken in the most exotic locations. Don’t get me wrong there. I was the same, wondering when I was still in the Philippines and my husband (then still the boyfriend) wanted to have our pictures in the middle of rice fields or his pictures on top of the jeepney or among coconut trees.
Human nature I should say… We take for granted those things or places which are familiar and ordinary and we give more importance to those which we do not have or are unusual.
These days, we appreciate what is within reach, what is right before our very eyes. Our daughter provides us with a different perspective in looking at things through her young eyes. She shows appreciation and enthusiasm in everything around her. We hope that she will continue appreciating nature and its beauty and the many simple things in life.
These pictures were taken last year in the area around Zeewolde. We were on our way home after spending a lovely weekend with my parents-in-law in Dronten when we took a different road (a secondary road as opposed to the usual highway that we take) and saw these fields of tulips. It was already late in the afternoon but with the nice weather, we were seduced to have this photo session with our little girl.
April 3, 2012 122 Comments
Another spring, another foray into the flower fields. Unfortunately, this was one weekend when the weather was not on our side. It has been raining for days so the tulip fields were very muddy. Still, we were not dissuaded to get our feet into the ground and have this photo shoot.
As I am going through my posts this week, it is a funny realization that I had been unintentionally documenting my little girl’s development through the years through these springtime pictures. Before her, I have been going to the flower fields and to Keukenhof almost on a yearly basis but hardly realizing what is different year after year.
Honestly, these forays into the flower fields are our family’s cheapest form of entertainment in spring as getting to these fields does not cost a single cent.
April 1, 2012 160 Comments
She’s half Dutch and living on Dutch soil so she should connect with everything Dutch. That’s the point I raised to the Mr. when dragging our little girl (she was 6-month old at that time) to the flower fields for this photo shoot 4 springtimes ago.
What a great spring weekend it was! We were at a nearby family reunion and we could combine a little escape to these flower fields to take some gorgeous pictures.
I will be going down memory lane in the next few posts, showing the springtime metamorphosis of our little girl as we hit the flower fields year after year.
The love for flowers is something that would become natural with her. These days she finds pleasure at picking flowers and have them assembled in a vase at home.
March 16, 2012 181 Comments
Apologies for posting so many spring pictures but I’m just so happy that spring is finally here. I love this season of the year because it just feels like being reborn into a new life that is full of new promises and possibilities. There is beauty all around us too…from blossoming trees to those spring flowers blooming in profusion.
There are so many things to look forward to like those weekend outings to the park, castles or palaces we have around. Warm weather means having barbeques in the garden or picnics in the park or forest nearby. Then there are camping trips that we intend doing more as well this year…
March 10, 2012 185 Comments
Categorically saying that Holland (or The Netherlands) is Europe’s spring capital should not raise an eyebrow (I hope). I say this because all roads lead to this small country the moment the daffodils spring from the ground, followed by the hyacinths and lastly by the muse of the spring blooms — the tulips.
One park that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors in the two months that its doors are open to the public is Keukenhof in the town of Lisse. It is considered the most beautiful spring garden in the world with its total area of 32 hectares planted with 7 million bulbs of which 4.5 million are tulips of 100 varieties. I make it a point to not miss a visit every single year.
Keukenhof opens its doors timed around the official start of spring (3rd week of March) but I prefer going a month after as more flowers especially the tulips are by then mostly in bloom. The amazing thing about Keukenhof is how these flowers are organized that they bloom in perfect symphony in the two months of spring. One can’t help but be impressed by the plant knowledge of the gardeners here who painstakingly plant the bulbs in autumn by hand.
Keukenhof chooses a theme each year for its flower exhibit. In 2011, the theme was “Germany, Land of Poets and Philosophers”. A German theme route went from one entrance to the other and the highlight was the flower mosaic of the Brandenburger Gate in Berlin.
We did not get to see the entire park during our visit for there was just too much to see and we also had to find the balance between what is interesting to us and to our little girl. She simply enjoyed running around and smelling the flowers.
Neither did we have time to see the flower exhibits at the various pavilions (the Willem Alexander Pavilion had over 80,000 tulips on display in more than 600 varieties and 120 varieties of daffodils; the Beatrix Pavilion showed orchids, bromeliad and anthuriums; and the Juliana Pavilion had a special theme exhibition of the Dutch-German ties that bind both countries). Anyway,
To flower enthusiasts and shutterbugs, Keukenhof is the place to be. Come early because the park gets very busy around lunch time when busloads of tourists from all over the world find their way here. The park and parking tickets can be bought online which we normally do to avoid queueing for a long time. Other things to do include sailing in a silent boat between the flower bulb fields behind Keukenhof. It is also possible to cycle in between the flower bulb fields in the surroundings of Keukenhof.
Another event worth witnessing is the annual Flower Parade which will take place on 21 April 2012.
January 21, 2012 85 Comments
We’re not even halfway through with winter yet I feel that this season is already going on forever. It is because this is the weirdest winter that I’ve ever had in this country since over a decade — warm, wet and gray. Not a single speck of snow has fallen and there seems to be none in the horizon when I look at the long term weather forecast either.
I’m trying to beat the winter blues by thinking of spring already…though that’s still a good two months away. Spring is the season where I won’t be found complaining. On the contrary, spring is the best time to be in this country. Holland opens the spring season with a bang and like a lady in full bloom, she’s at her prettiest.
One place that I never miss going to is Holland’s world-famous spring garden — Keukenhof. It is a garden that’s one of its kind as it displays the creativity of the best gardeners in the world. A step inside this park and you’ll know what I mean with the way this park is transformed into a spring wonderland.
Every year, the park takes on a theme and oftentimes, royalties and/or heads of states are in attendance to open it for the season. Two years ago, the theme was “From Russia with love” and the park was opened by Crown Princess Maxima and Mrs. Svetlana Medvedeva (wife of the Russian president).
We were lucky with the weather on our visit to the park then. The sun was shining and the sky was blue without a tinge of cloud at all. Our little girl initially enjoyed her foray into the flower garden but later we discovered that she was having chicken pox that’s why she was not her usual bubbly self anymore.
Anyway, here are the pictures I took on that day.
January 8, 2012 290 Comments
We live in Amersfoort, a municipality and the second largest city in the province of Utrecht. It is a city with a long history having celebrated its 750th birthday in 2009. This city is known too by a few names such as the “City with a heart” and “Boulder City”. The former is attributed to the heart-shape formation of the city centre which is visible from the air.
Amersfoort is not part of the usual tourist route but below is a list of places to see when in the city:
1. The Tower of Our Lady (Onze Lieve Vrouwentoren) – one of the tallest medieval church towers in the Netherlands at 98 meters. The construction of the tower was started in 1444. The church was destroyed by an explosion in 1787, but the tower survived.
2. The inner city of Amersfoort has been preserved well since the Middle Ages. Apart from the Onze Lieve Vrouwentoren, the Koppelpoort and the Muurhuizen (Wall Houses), there is also the Sint Joris Church, the canal system with its bridges as well as medieval and other old buildings, many designed as national monuments.
If you want to see more of the Netherlands and want to get away from touristy Amsterdam, hop into an intercity train to Amersfoort. The train ride takes just a good half an hour and you are already in this lovely city. It is also very much possible to make a side trip to Spakenburg to see those women in traditional costume (see my earlier blog about them). That is just a bus ride away from the train station.
More pictures of Amersfoort:
December 25, 2011 4 Comments
Keukenhof is one place which I try not to give a miss comes springtime. When you look at these pictures taken way back in 2004, you’ll understand what I mean. In all the times that I’ve been to Keukenhof, this was the best because the weather was warm and the flowers were at their best — all in full bloom. A visit too early would mean that the tulips are still green buds and only few are in full bloom. Thus, the best time is around the 3rd week of April when everything is blooming and bursting in myriad of colors.
Keukenhof is Holland’s most famous spring garden. With a total area of 32 hectares, it is planted with around 7 million flower bulbs of which 4.5 million are tulip bulbs of more than 100 varieties.
Entrance to the park costs Eur 14.50 for an adult and Eur 7.00 for children. Parking costs an extra Eur 6.00.
In 2012, the park will open on the 22nd of March and will shut its door on 20 May. The park is always full of visitors so it is best to arrive early and to already buy the tickets online and print them beforehand. Busiest period is around Eastertime when Holland have its long weekend.
December 21, 2011 8 Comments
Brace yourself for a big surprise — these flowers are cut down (there’s a machine that goes through the fields to cut down the flowers), thrown in a heap to decompose and later turned that into compost. Talking of discarded beauty but that’s how these flowers are treated once they reach full bloom.
Oopps, before you get all upset (which has been the case with me the first time I learned of this practice), here’s the rationale: the flowers are cut off to enable the bulbs to replicate and develop completely without competing with the flowers for nutrients from the soil. The flowers are not grown to create spectacular scenery out here (this is pure coincidental) but rather for the bulbs which are harvested in summer and then exported all over the world where their true purpose will be realized. Flowers and flower bulbs are key export products of Holland.
The best time to enjoy this spectacular scenery of flower fields in full bloom is around the last week of April. Normally the whole process of cutting down these flowers will be around the end of the first week of May.
December 19, 2011 18 Comments
I know this sounds crazy but I’m already longing for spring. Winter is only to officially start tomorrow but I’m already looking forward to the next season.
I hate the short daylights of winter and the dull grey weather. Winter is only fun when there is snow or ice as that is how I associate the season with.
When friends ask when is the best time to visit, I always tell them to come in spring. Mid-April and onwards are best for by then, the country is exploding in colors. Holland is flat with no mountains to somehow make the landscape interesting. For this shortfall though, the Dutch make up for that by transforming the country into a veritable patchwork of floral beauty.
I’ve been in this country for over a decade already yet every spring is still special, like I’m seeing and experiencing it for the very first time.
We still make our annual pilgrimage to Keukenhof but we also make our annual foray into the flowerfields around the Noordoost Polder. The latter is fun because we just drive around some hundreds of kilometers of flower fields in full bloom. Cheap date for hubby and me because there are no entrance fees to be paid, just pure pleasure of being surrounded by such an spectacular beauty.