Tulip Time in Amsterdam
About a year ago at the end of April, we flew to Amsterdam with a group of about 60, led by our tour designers, Joy and Terry Feulner, who also are Independent Contractors with World Travel Bureau. They create unique tours for their friends and family, and this was the starting point for our first river cruise from Amsterdam to Vienna. But first we were going to explore Amsterdam.
When we arrived, it was early afternoon, so our bus dropped off our luggage at the hotel and immediately took us downtown to see the Van Gogh Museum and the nearby Rijksmuseum, which is a Dutch national museum dedicated to the arts and history of Amsterdam. We could have seen both museums as they were close to each other, but we just chose the Van Gogh museum after our long day of traveling, spending most of our time in the museum restaurant people watching.
The next day our tour bus took us to see the tulips at a famous place called Keukenhof, also known as the Garden of Europe, which is one of the world’s largest flower gardens, situated in Lisse, South Holland, Netherlands. After driving past lots of fields of flowers of red, yellow, and pink tulips, we arrived. There were many busses parked there as this place draws people from all over the world.
Keukenhof was full of gardens and rows and rows of tulips, daffodils, etc. Admission is about 17 Euros per person, and they advise you to allow about three hours to tour the grounds. We had a guide who told us all about the gardens. This is primarily a showcase for the many growers of tulips, and you can see a sign of the various companies for each section of flowers. The colors of the flowers were so beautiful. We learned that all of the fields that we had passed getting to Keukenhof, were going to have their flowers chopped off and destroyed, because what these growers really sell are the bulbs beneath the ground. They only allow the flowers to exist up to a certain time to maximize the prime selling age of the bulb. And the gardens of Keukenhoff are just the showcase for the bulbs that will be purchased by the buyers.
Within the park was a windmill that we climbed into and upwards to get a nice view of the gardens and surrounding fields. There were also Pavilions where other types of flowers were on display such as orchids.
We enjoyed a snack nearby and after we had been there a couple of hours, we got back on our bus and headed to Zaanse Schans which was a windmill park in a residential area in which the 18th and 19th centuries are brought to life, full of wooden houses, mills, barns and workshops. In one house we saw a workshop with a guy demonstrating the making of wooden clogs which was very interesting. They also had a fine collection of clogs you could buy to wear as well as tiny hand painted clog magnets. See the picture of me and my friend Kim sitting inside a giant clog! We also saw a house in which a dutch girl demonstrated how to make cheese and we could buy lots of different cheeses they had made – and some beer too!
We climbed up a giant working windmill and saw great views of the park. There were lots of other shops and demonstrations that we didn’t get to see. One windmill was grinding paint – it supplies chalk, pigments and oils for artists across the world.
You might wonder why we were wearing orange on this day, April 27th, as we toured the two parks. Check out our fearless leaders in their bright orange wigs – we never got lost!! This is known as Kings Day and it’s a nationwide celebration of King Willem- Alexander’s birthday, held each year in April in the Netherlands. There were parties and celebrations that evening, that I slept through due to sleep deprivation from our long flight the day before.
The next day, we took a tourist canal cruise and we spied our river cruise ship, the River Navigator. We also saw houseboats in the canal that people live in, and the only way you can have that spot is to buy the houseboat that resides at that spot. Then you could replace it with a newer houseboat. The guide pointed out the Anne Frank house and we could see the line of tourists waiting to go in. In and along the canals we saw evidence of the partying done the night before from Kings Day celebrations.
Afterwards we ended up in downtown where people could go visit the “Red Light District” Lots of our group were curious and later told us that the “ladies” objected to having their pictures taken! It is frowned upon, but some of our group forgot!
My husband and I instead chose to go up to the 10thfloor of a nearby Hilton Hotel, where we ate a wonderful lunch in the Sky Lounge and we enjoyed the magnificent view of the whole city. The hotel was near the main train station, and as we strolled through it, there was a grand piano that people could walk up to and play if they wished to provide music to the travelers.
The following day, we boarded our river cruise ship, but that story is to be continued at another time! Joy and Terry Feulner are Independent Contractors working in association with World Travel and they create unique tours all over the world.
There are so many types of experiences to take on your travels. Whether you want tulip time in Amsterdam or an another travel adventure, travel advisor Joy and Terry Feulner will help you explore all the possibilities available for an amazing experience during your travel adventures.
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