Sunday, June 8, 2014

Tulips and Easter in Holland

Back in April Kyle had six days off, with Easter weekend right in the middle.  You know that we could not pass up that opportunity to travel!  Since Easter was so late this year, it just happened to coincide with the tulips blooming in Holland, so that seemed liked the perfect Easter-ish location.  Even better, Kyle's brother Cory and our sister-in-law Lynn were able to meet us there from London!  Sounds like the making of a great holiday weekend!

Kyle and I decided to make the six hour drive from Stuttgart so that we could bring Gizmo along.  We rented a nice little apartment in The Hague (Den Haag, in Dutch) from airbnb.com.  We arrived in the late afternoon.  After unloading at the apartment, we took the tram downtown to check out Den Haag.  It's a beautiful city that is the seat of the government in the Netherlands, even though Amsterdam is the capital.  The weather was not great, so we only saw a very small part of the city.  We had some Belgian beers at happy hour before ducking out of the rain in a restaurant for dinner.  (It was a Mexican restaurant that looked promising.  They were even playing the right kind of music, but it was a disappointment like most Euro-Mexican restaurants.  Maybe one of these days!)




We were supposed to pick up Cory and Lynn at the train station in Amsterdam late that night, but they were held up by several hours (along with hundreds of other irritated people) because of a problem in the Chunnel.  I think it was Lynn's state of being almost 8 months pregnant that helped them get to the front of the crowd.  They ended up catching the train and staying the night in Brussels before making it to Amsterdam the next morning.

Kyle stayed with the car that was parked extremely illegally (on a sidewalk, in fact) while I met Cory and Lynn at the station.  From there, we headed about 45 minutes north to the quaint town of Alkmaar to see the historic cheese market.  At the market, the cheese carriers, who belong to a guild, carry and weigh the huge wheels of cheese on the old scales.  It was pretty neat, but hard to see because of the large crowds of people.  Since it was Friday of Easter weekend during the peak tulip season, I think it's safe to say that most of Holland was pretty busy.  We made our way through the crowd, bought some different flavors of delicious Gouda, and found a cafe for lunch.  We hadn't seen Cory and Lynn since early January, so it was great to catch up!





After a nice leisurely lunch, the crowds had cleared out and we enjoyed a more relaxed walk through town.  It's a beautiful little town that's worth a visit even when the cheese market is not going on.  It was late in the afternoon when we were leaving Alkmaar, so we decided to just hang out at the apartment that evening so that Cory and Lynn could recover from their night of little sleep after the train fiasco.  The apartment happened to have a Playstation 3, so Cory and Kyle were pretty content playing Grand Theft Auto for a while.  (And by "for a while," I mean every night we were there:-)




The next day was tulip day!  The place to go during tulip season in Holland is the Keukenhof.  It's a large park that is covered by gorgeous displays of flowers.  There must have been hundreds of varieties of tulips along with many other types of flowers.  We all really enjoyed the heavenly smells of the hyacinths.  It was most definitely a feast for the eyes!  We also took a little "whisper boat" ride on the canals through some tulip fields nearby.  It was delightful!



















We brought stuff with us to have a picnic/baby shower, so after our visit to the Keukenhof we went searching for a good picnic location.  In our minds I think we pictured sitting and picnic-ing in a field of tulips, but we settled on a nice park instead.  We had a great spread of food, and we "showered" Cory and Lynn with gifts for our niece that we're so excited to meet!




We had gifts for the Mom and Dad, too!

For changing diapers...

After our picnic, we found some tulip fields to frolic in.  It's so beautiful to see the tulips in full bloom growing in perfect stripes of different colors.  The colors were so brilliant with the sun shining on them!  We had a nice little photo shoot in the fields while we were trying to soak in the beauty.  My eyes just couldn't get enough!  (One surprising thing: the soil pretty much looked like sand!)









Since it was a beautiful day, we went to check out Haarlem after our picnic.  It's just west of Amsterdam, and is like a smaller, more quaint version of it.  We strolled around, chilled out by a canal, and headed back to the apartment. We ordered some pizza and spent another evening relaxing.




We spent a sunny Easter Day in the picturesque little town of Delft that was just a 15 minute tram ride away from our apartment.  We spent the day going from cafe to cafe, with some walking, shopping, and boating in between. Delft is known for their porcelain pieces, painted with blue scenes and designs.  Lynn and I both picked out some nice pieces!  We spent an hour on paddle boats, making our way through the quiet canals.  A stop at an Italian place turned into dinner.  It was a wonderful, relaxing day!






The tower is definitely leaning...



Cory and Lynn were heading out the next day, but not until late in the evening.  The weather wasn't wonderful, so we stayed local.  We took a tram downtown in Den Haag and planted ourselves at a nice outdoor cafe with heaters, for pretty much the entire afternoon.  It was great!


Kyle and I left the next morning, but stopped in the gorgeous town of Leiden for breakfast on our way out.  I wish we could've seen more of it!  All of the towns we saw on this trip were so charming!




This trip was a great mix of site seeing and relaxing.  I had always really wanted to see the tulip fields in Holland, and they were even more beautiful than I expected.  We lucked out with the weather for the most part, and had a wonderful time with family.  It's hard to believe that the next time we see Cory and Lynn they'll be a mom and dad!

1 comment:

  1. I had always really wanted to see the tulip fields in Holland and through you and Kyle I have some what experence it Thank You for sharing your trips. I am reading this so late that Cory and Lynn are Mommy and Daddy now LOL!

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