Friday, April 20, 2012

Flowers, Flowers Everywhere! Over 7 Million, To Be Exact.......

Thursday was a colorful day!  We had tickets to go to The Keukenhoff Gardens, a huge park a few miles from Amsterdam.

It was quite an adventure to get there!  First we had a taxi ride to the train station, then a train to Schiphol Airport.  From Schiphol, we had bus tickets to Keukenhoff.  And that is where the fun began.........

Before leaving Spudville, I had carefully printed out our route, including directions as to where we should wait for the bus.   "Bus  #58 to Keukenhoff leaves from Stop #1 or #2, at Schiphol Plaza."  We walked out there just like we knew what we were doing, and waited.  And waited, and waited.  In almost a half an hour, not a single bus #58 had come by.

So I asked a bus driver, and she said we needed to catch the bus down at the other end.  So we walked (in the COLD and wind) down to the other end of the road.  And we waited, and waited.  Not a single bus #58 drove through the bus lanes.

Long story short:  I asked 5 different drivers, and received 5 different answers!  There was no language barrier--they spoke perfect English, and I showed each driver our tickets with the bus number and destination.  Back and forth we walked, from one end to the other.  Mom was cold, and so was I!  Needless to say, we were getting a little frustrated.  Should we just give up, and head back to the apartment?  We were close to doing just that........

I asked one more driver, and a nice flight attendant on the bus came to our rescue, as this driver didn't speak English.  She kindly translated for me, and that driver explained that the bus we needed was not a "regular bus" but a special bus just for Keukenhoff.  We needed to walk all the way (again!) back to the end of the line, and turn right.  Now why did none of the other 5 bus drivers know this?  Aaaarrrrgh!

We walked around that corner, and saw a small sign that said "Keukenhoff Bus" pointing the way.  Big help that was around the corner!  We also saw this funny sign, and it pretty much summed up how we were feeling :

Our Keukenhoff bus was waiting, and we finally hopped on board, and it was warm!  We settled in, along with about 50 other passengers, for a nice 30 minute ride to the gardens.

Soon we started seeing fields and fields of tulips.  Upon sight of the first tulip field, the whole bus started "oohing and aaaahing" in unison!  It was pretty funny.  Bunch of excited tourists--including us!

Here are a few photos just to give you an idea.  Not the best photos, as they were taken out of the moving  bus window:

A windmill!  But not the pretty Dutch old fashioned kind that we expected!

Our nice, warm bus pulled up in from of the gardens, and we piled out of the bus, into the cold and wind.

We already had our tickets, so no waiting in line for us.  We walked into the gardens, and.....WOW!  Flowers, flowers everywhere!  Amazing swaths of bright color around every corner.  It is absolutely breathtakingly BEAUTIFUL!  Every square inch of the almost 80 acre gardens groomed to perfection, not a blade of grass out of place.

A few facts about the gardens:  It was originally a 15 th century hunting estate belonging to a wealthy Dutch family.  It's the largest bulb farm or gardening the world, at 79.3 acres in size.  There are over 7 MILLION bulbs of many different varieties planted by hand!  Of this 7 million approximately 4.5 million are tulip bulbs.  Naaah--I didn't count 'em--this info comes straight from their brochure!

This is the pretty fountain right at the entrance square:

And our first view into the gardens:

Right past the fountain was an old steam driven calliope.  It was very pretty; but oddly, it was playing Lady Gaga's "You and I"!  Strange, indeed.....

The next SEVERAL ( I took almost 300 pictures!) photos need no explanations--just beautiful gardens and flowers  ENJOY!

Mom, frozen--but still smiling!

A little touch of Alaska in Holland, Forget-Me-Nots!

Pretty color combination:

The three of us, in a photo taken by a nice lady from Chicago that sat by us on the bus:

This was one of our favorite beds, the colors were so cheerful!

The trees throughout the garden were also beautiful--and BIG!

Pretty fountain, complete with big swans:

I like this green oddly shaped "hedge"

Mom and Dad on a pretty bridge by the horse statue.  Couldn't talk Dad into another "French Kiss" like in Paris!!

We all thought this beauty might be our very favorite tulip.  But it's almost too hard to choose a favorite, there are over 100 varieties of tulips in the Keukenhoff:

Closeup of this beautiful tulip, it almost glows!

Walking along, holding hands.  Sweet!

This might have been our very favorite combination, but then again it's hard to choose just one.....

And my funny Dad, in some big clogs.  In my eyes, he can fill anyone's big shoes!!

We strolled and strolled, oohed and aaahed, and snapped picture after picture for almost 3 hours.  It was starting to sprinkle a bit, and we were all very cold, especially Mom.   There were parts of the gardens we didn't get to see, such as the beautiful old windmills surrounded by flowers.  And we'd wanted to take a boat right on a canal boat through the tulip fields, but it was just toooooo cold and windy.   It was time to find our bus back, and it was thankfully a much simpler process this time!

After an 1 1/2  hour bus, train and taxi journey, we were back "home" in Amsterdam.  We all had a nice HOT cup of cocoa or tea, and warmed up.  Dinner tonight was a quick and easy one--scrambled eggs and toast.  Just right!

What a day!

Tomorrow in Amsterdam:  Who knows!  But Mom and I are pretty sure it will involve some shopping.   Dad will be thrilled........ 

Stay tuned!


  1. Your driver given directions made me laugh. It reminds me of the signs in Venice that pointed in opposite directions for the same location.
    Good foto's!

  2. Great pictures Di. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful flowers - I like the mix of the tulips and daffodils. And I especially like the calliope..... but Lady Gaga? In a tulip garden? Say what? Oh yea, the picture of you and your mom and dad is great, too. Thanks for sharing your garden adenture.

  3. Tulips were stunning. I didn't get tired of looking at many beautiful combinations and colors. Your even knowing Lady Gaga's music...this made me smile! Pictures of you, Mom and Dad were awesome. Your Dad in the big wooden holland shoes was cute. Enjoyed the blog Di.

  4. So glad you found the correct bus-finally!
    The gardens are beautiful, bright colors and so many tulips!
    The fountain reminds me of the unknown flower in Wellsboro!
    Those are some huge wooden clogs your Dad found-cute picture!
    My forget-me-not plant is almost 1/2inch tall- just peeking through the dirt...
    Breakfast for dinner :)
    Another wonderful day for you three- thanks again for sharing it.