Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Netherlands - Keukenhoff Tulip Garden, Lisse

*WARNING: Heavily loaded with pictures*

I had been waiting since last year to visit Keukenhoff, but I was in Paris and Lund in April and May. I saw pictures of my friends in the Netherlands, and I told myself I have to go there no matter what. I wish my mom were there, too - she really loves flowers.

If you'd like to see the rows of colored tulips, you can visit the farms just outside Keukenhoff (around 10-20 minutes walk). Nevertheless, Keukenhoff is also beautiful. The temperature was around 15C when we went there in mid April. It kind of fluctuated, but it's never too cold. But since most things are outdoors, it's better to dress warmly enough.

If you take the train to Leiden or Amsterdam Centraal, you can buy the combi ticket from the tourist centres for 23 Euros. It includes the ticket to visit the park and a return ticket for an express bus to and from Keukenhoff. The entrance ticket itself is 15 Euros, and the bus ticket would cost you 4 Euros per trip. There is no discount if you buy the combi ticket, but at least it saves you from queuing at the Keukenhoff entrance for the entrance ticket. 

We went on a Saturday in mid April, and it was crowded at the entrance. It wasn't that bad inside, though. The park was big enough to give everyone some space :)

There were many tulip variants you can ever imagine, all arranged neatly and beautifully.

This is also a tulip!

This is also a tulip! It reminds me of a lettuce :)

This is also... a tulip?

I think this is by far the most classy tulips I've ever seen!!

The colour reminded me of glow-in-the-dark ornaments. I love the shades!

Shades of red

Some of the tulips are pretty large!

Red and white!

This is also a tulip!!

The special themed-arrangement this year. Supposed to look like traditional Dutch houses :)

We stopped by to play a chess game next to the Oranje Nassau.

And saw a bridal photo shoot! How nice!

 There is also a French-styled garden close to where we played the chess.

At the back of this French garden, you could also see tulips from different continents. And if you notice, the ground was not covered by pebbles, but by sea shells!

You can also buy Amsterdam cheese at this garden. Many tourists come to this place. Cheese is definitely a good souvenir to bring home, if you like cheese.

Say cheese! :)

There are some small exhibits around the garden. I suggest taking a look at them as well; sometimes you'll find interesting flowers or plants, like this Bleeding Heart.

The bleeding heart

I've been in the Netherlands for 7 consecutive months, but I still feel like a tourist :)

There was also a talk about flowers, but in Dutch. I could only understand a little part of it. I think it was about selecting the right varieties for breeding.

After walking around for 2 hours, we finally felt hungry. There were food stalls close to Willem-Alexander, but don't expect anything too fancy. I remember seeing hotdogs, waffles and poffertjes (mini Dutch pancakes drizzled in powdered sugar), but my favourite is this warme beenham (warm ham in bread). It just smelled so good from meters away!

We sat on the grass while enjoying the flowers right above our heads. The experience reminded me of hanami (flower viewing) experience in Tokyo, Japan, 2 years ago.

Speaking of a Japanese experience... hey, there's actually a Japanese garden just next to where we had our lunch!

The maple leaves were very beautiful!

If you visit the Beatrix on the north-east side of the garden, you'd be greeted in various orchids. It's really pretty inside. Although Singapore's national flower is orchid and I've been in Singapore for 6 years, there are still some orchids I have not seen before. Or maybe I just didn't spend that much time to observe flowers when I was in Singapore.

I highly recommend visiting Willem-Alexander and Oranje Nassau. Aside from tulips, you will be greeted with various gorgeous flowers.

You can also find a small market selling flower bulbs and crafts. There is a Bulb Information centre very close to the main entrance of the garden.

I also love the special flower arrangements in Oranje Nassau. Some of them are extravagantly beautiful!

We also visited the maze, close to the border between the garden and the tulip farms.

As I mentioned before, you can visit the tulip farms outside the garden, but you can't access them from inside the garden. Make sure to have some energy left to visit the farm after checking out the garden!

Such a wonderful experience. Very relaxing and pleasant. I love Keukenhoff!

P.S. Don't forget to smell the flowers; some of them smell really good!


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