What are some of the first things that come to mind when I mention The Netherlands?
Cheese, clogs, windmills, the colour orange, weed… tulips, right? Lots and lots of tulips? Even though the flower originally came from Turkey and elsewhere, it’s The Netherlands who is really famous for its cultivation of tulips in many different shapes, sizes, and colours. Once a year, from the beginning of March until the end of May, there is a massive tulip garden in Lisse, where you can walk around tulips for hours. This is called the Keukenhof, and I really wanted to go.
I’m currently working on a story about a long-distance relationship between a Dutch girl and an American girl. The story will be told through the eyes of the American girl, but will be largely set in The Netherlands, so the reader can discover the beauty of the Dutch along with my main character. As you may have guessed, these girls will visit the Keukenhof during one of their trips. And so I really wanted to go as well, so I could write about it as accurately as possible.
Research, you know.
Such hard work.
So at the end of April, my mom and I booked a hotel about 10 minutes from the Keukenhof and spent the night there, so we could get up nice and early (so early) and beat the masses. This turned out to be the perfect idea. We were there at 8:30 and the entire place was empty. For a long time, we had all these beautiful tulips for ourselves. It was magnificent.
I honestly have seen very few things as beautiful as these tulip fields. I didn’t know where to look first – there were tulips everywhere you looked, in every colour imaginable and then some. You are surrounded by seas of these stunning flowers everywhere. There’s nothing as relaxing as walking through nature and I really felt at peace there. This was a feast for your eyes.
The most important thing is definitely to arrive early, because obviously these fields are really popular, especially among tourists. The tourist busses start arriving around 10 AM and then it gets really busy and you’ll have people in all your pictures. I found that everyone was quite gallant; when they noticed you were trying to take a picture, they would stop for a second to make sure they didn’t ruin your frame. Still, it was really nice to have the gardens to ourselves for the majority of our time there.
Mom and I took about 2,5 hours to see the whole garden, though I know we missed bits and pieces. Still, the both of us combined took about 300 pictures in two hours’ time. There was so much to see. I think, if you take it easy, try to visit everything, and have lunch somewhere, it’ll take you about 4 hours max. The place is big, around the size of an amusement park, and most spots are accessible for wheelchairs.
This place should be on your bucket list. Our photos turned out really well (if I may say so myself), but they still don’t do the real thing justice. I’m definitely planning on going back next year. If my mom will take me again…