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New Dutch Stuff

KeukenhofThe Netherlands was my first European country.

It is also the country that I’ve visited the most, other than Germany, where I am living. Most of my trips follow a predictable pattern: I stay in Rotterdam, travel over to Dordrecht, dance at the Gay Palace, and eat at the same places. There are minor variations, but the general pattern is pretty consistent. I might pop over to the American Book Center, either in Den Haag or up in Amsterdam; visit the Photo Museum, or grab a piece of Apple Tart at Dudok—all things I have done before, and will do again.

So this trip, in addition to going to Hoek van Holland’s beach, I headed to Keukenhof on Sunday. It’s one of the most famous places in The Netherlands, attracting thousands of tourists each spring, all of whom show up, pay a not-insubstantial entrance fee, and then wander the grounds admiring the beautiful flowers.

Honestly, before last week I had never heard of the place before I saw a chance mention of it on some website I briefly read.

KeukenhofI’m not really clear how I could have not known about it, considering the numbers of people who obviously had heard of it: the line at the bus stop (busses every 15 minutes) was rather long), and we (A friend and I) ended up standing for the 40 minute bus ride, a trip that included a substantial amount of time standing in the park’s self-generated traffic jam.

According to the brochure I picked up after the fact, it is “the most photographed place in the world.” I took a couple of photos, but my efforts were simplistic, compared to the masses of people with sophisticated cameras, tripods, and a desire to capture the intimate privates of the flowers. They were everywhere in the park, along with thousands of kids playing, choirs singing, and ice cream carts that had sold out of ice cream.

The weather was absolutely spectacular—contrary to the rainy forecast. The weather probably enhanced the crowds, which were a bit much for us. I do not particularly enjoy being in large crowds, unless its on my terms, and casually wandering a park filled with millions of blooming tulips is one of those places where I would prefer not to have people surrounding me.

The park was incredibly beautiful and one of those things that I can now say that I’ve done. However it’s a one time thing. I cannot imagine a return trip, unless I could figure out how to visit it when it’s nice out, but there are fewer visitors. I’m guessing a weekday, which would be tricky for me to schedule.

Keukenhof

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