The first time I visited Holland, it was at the wrong time of the year and missed the tulip gardens in Keukenhof. After many years, finally I did a return visit on 23 April 2013 specially to enjoy the tulips gardens in Keukenhof. Unfortunately due to the extended winter, most tulips were not in bloom yet and the tulips fields were still green. But I was not overly disappointed because there were several colourful patches of tulips were in full bloom. I missed the rows of colourful tulips on the fields and I imagined it would be as colourful as the lavender farms in Hokkaido, Japan. Keukenkof Tulip Garden is in Lisse, south of Holland, also known as the Kitchen Garden or Garden of Europe.
Some members of the group were not too keen to spend 4 hours in the garden and preferred to go shopping but to me 4 hours were not sufficient to really drink in the beauty of the gardens. It was huge and so creatively designed to attract attention.The yellow daffodils were so generous in blooming that it made it worth a visit. The weather was tolerable and pleasant though too cold for my liking. I wanted to spend a whole day there and some hours the next day but the itinerary did not permit us to do so. Along the walking path, there were several blooming cherry blossoms that made me feel that I didn't really miss much by not going to Korea as planned. But I definitely would visit Korea during spring for the cherry blossoms next year. I was ignorant of the names of the flowers in the gardens and in the shade but it didn't matter. They were simply magnificent. The covered show room was filled with colour - unbelievable tulip colour which were not in the gardens. The blooms were large and commanding. The sweet smell of different colours of lilies soothed the mind. I was overwhelmed by the beauty. It was sad when we had to leave.
But on the way out of Keukenhof, Maarteen stopped the bus at a large daffodils field. This delighted the group who got down to take as many photos as possible of the yellow expanse of daffodils colour. It was a feast for the eyes. We were also able to see some tulips farms that were ready but the tulips were not in bloom yet. It would be a magnificent sight if they bloom at the same time.
In a small group, each member was charged 13 Euro to enter Keukenhof Gardens. It's open from 22 March to 20 May 2013. Early May would be nice to visit as the tulips would be in full bloom. 75% of the 800,000 visitors every year are foreigners. As the largest renowned flower gardens in the world, 85 flower bulb growers and exporters provide Keukenhof 7 million flower bulbs like tulips, daffodils and hyacinths, free of charge ( refer Keukenhof Park Guide 2013) planted on 32 hectres of parkland. The idea of staging an open-air flower exhibition started in 1949. For 2013 the main theme of the gardens is ' United Kingdom - Land of Great Garden'. Unfortunately due to constrain of time , I was not able to explore fully this section of the park.
Akmar, Shima and I decided not to go for the silent 'Whisper Boat' trip along the canal around the flower fields because the fields/farms were still green and flowers were not blooming yet. This is my regret and I hope to visit again some day.
One surprise visit brought by Maarteen, the bus driver, was a visit to Amsterdam Flower Auction Market, better known as FloraHolland. This is a new knowledge to me. I couldn't imagine how a country thrives on trading fresh flowers all over the world and the magnitude of the auction process.