Keukenhof…the disaster

Keukenhof gardens
Keukenhof gardens

Keukenhof Tulip Gardens, Lisse, Netherlands

Well after all this time of looking forward to Keukenhof tulip gardens, I get here to find I’ve made a horrible mistake. 

The car park was easy enough to find but it was of course locked at 1am. So I found somewhere random to park for the night and set about cleaning lenses, charging batteries, formatting memory cards etc. I was all ready!

6:30am UK time (I live on UK time when abroad due to work) I was at the gates and got straight in, the first person in the car park. I had to wait for the gates opening but the sun was out by the time they did and it was a gorgeous day. I picked up a free map of the gardens and set off wandering. 

Red tulips at Keukenhof gardens
Red tulips at Keukenhof gardens

At first all I could find was numerous flowerbeds with colourful flowers in. Lovely to look at but not the fields of tulips I’d come for. I can’t remember the exact moment that it dawned on me that when Keukenhof told me that yes, the tulips were still blooming, they actually meant the gardens, NOT the fields where they are all grown. 

I found a viewpoint and saw all of the fields where the millions of tulips are grown…empty. Harvested. Dead til next year. I was totally dismayed. 

Moving on…

White flowers at Keukenhof
White flowers at Keukenhof

You have to get over things quickly though. It was some fun just watching the mostly Asian tourists taking their selfies with great enthusiasm: hiding behind displays and popping up with a wild grin to get ‘that shot’, or standing by a display and pointing to it to ensure viewers see the huge flowers, or even posing as if to hug the whole bed of flowers. Total but simple enthusiasm and they were all at it and it was nice to watch. It matters not what you get pleasure from, only that you get pleasure. 

Later I was to be seen running madly over the wooden stepping stones that allow you to cross the shallow lake. I was trying to see how fast I could go and not put a foot wrong or end up n the lake. Maybe the tourists might have looked at me and wondered why I wasn’t simply posing by the flower beds. 

I call it a disaster but really it wasn’t, it was just a misunderstanding by me and it’s not the end of the world. There’s always next year and the gardens were pretty even though that’s not my thing. little setbacks happen constantly when you’re travelling, especially to new places that are unfamiliar and I’m used to it to some degree so I mostly put it down to experience and enjoy what I did get anyway. 

Here’s a few more pictures I shot in the short time I was in Keukenhof:

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Ahh I’ve so long wanted to come to Amsterdam. I remember when I was young enough to think it was the capital of Holland and that Holland was a country. Now I know better of course but the excitement still hasn’t left me. 

 Amsterdam City CampI stayed at what could be called a campsite, Amsterdam City Camp, but really it’s just a decent parking ground for campers. Secure, and you can see from the photo just how secure the gates are, with water and toilet emptying facilities and something I’ve never seen before: the ability to pay per 24 hours.

Most sites allow you to arrive anywhere from 12 pm onwards and expect you to depart before 11 am the next day. However that means on arrival day and departure day you lose a large part of that day, which kind of goes against the grain of a holiday. With this one you pay at the electronic terminal, and you are allowed to stay for 24 hours from that time. It’s a smooth and seamless process and your ticket allows you entry and exit through the pedestrian gate, and exit form the site when you leave.

Amsterdam City CampThis without doubt is the way forward for campsites. It’s much better value, it doesn’t take any profit from the owner and it maximises the time you can enjoy your holiday. I mostly enjoy my days sight seeing and travel in the evenings as I’m less likely to be doing anything at that time so for me that method of charging is perfect.

You can see from the second photo just how large this space is. And when you come out it is about 5-10 minutes walk to a free ferry that takes about 10-15 minutes to dock at the amazing central station of Amsterdam. Bicycle parking

The ubiquitous bicycles are very apparent everywhere you go. There’s literally thousands of them parked on the streets, in storage racks, in bays, and sometimes just left right by the side of the road. Considering some of these bikes sell for about €2000 I’m surprised people don’t take more care. 

There are about 6 rows of these dual story cycle parks on the wharf at Amsterdam central station. These cycle parking stations appeared in several locations, thousands of cycles all safely stored. Some had clearly not been moved for years.

David's hatThe 2014 movie The Fault in our Stars was about a couple named Hazel and Gus who are both cancer sufferers. A scene from the movie has them sitting on this exact bench in Amsterdam which has since become a shrine for lovers from all over the world. In the picture the young man is holding a leather hat, you can read about this if you follow the link David’s hat

The canals are as beautiful as they always appear on TV and in photos. I was lucky in that the day I went was a scorcher of a day so I think I saw it at it’s best. you can find more photos in the album but they are only small size for the blog.