Sunday, September 30, 2012

Keukenhof, The Netherlands

It seems a Herculean task to get back to blogging after a long gap. Yes, this time, it has been a very long break and I must say, I didn't regret making it. However, I'm glad to be back again and have already started peeping into fellow bloggers' updates. Now, I wish to share with you all some of the beautiful memories we had during our unforgettable trip to the Netherlands.

It was in the Spring of this year that we visited the flower paradise on earth :) I should say, it was a long cherished dream fulfilled for me. I had been waiting for more than four years for this trip. Every year in Spring we planned visiting the Netherlands and somehow it would get cancelled. So, until we stepped into our car and half way through, I didn't believe we were really making it.

We were four in number, along with another couple and we started from home on a Thursday morning. We had booked an apartment for four days in Noordwijk, a coastal town in the South Holland province. Noordwijk was a pleasant surprise for us. We were initially concerned if it would turn out to be a boring place. We were completely wrong there. After checking in to the hotel around 4 in the evening and little refreshing, we walked straight to the beach in front of the hotel.

Sunset over the Atlantic at Noordwijk beach

I must admit, it was the best beach I had ever seen till date. It was sheer tranquility. A vast stretch of fine sand. A thin film of crystal clear water over the fine sand for a few feet followed by the waves of the ocean. At that evening time, we had the beach almost to ourselves and we witnessed a very beautiful sunset. A few kids were flying kites in a distance. There was a gush of cold wind on one side and the mild warmth of the golden setting sun on the other side. All we could hear were the waves and the songs of the sea gulls. We spent a good hour enjoying the serenity and taking snaps. After the sun has set, we took a long walk along the beach and returned to the hotel.

Lighthouse at Noordwijk beach

It was a beautiful morning the next day. We had a hearty breakfast at our hotel, where they served at our table in person (not like the usual buffet breakfast). There were huge spongy black breads  and I was wondering how black bread could be so soft ;). And, it was soon time for the highlight of our trip. We headed to the Keukenhof. For those who do not know, Keukenhof is just a big park, where beautiful flowers of the Netherlands are put in display during Spring and visited by thousands of tourists every year.

The Keukenhof is located in Lisse, a small town in South Holland, south-west of Amsterdam. It is a good 30 mins drive from Noordwijk to Lisse and the way goes through the renowned bulb region of Holland. Tulip is my favourite flower and naturally, I was super excited to witness vast farmlands cultivating Tulips. It is only a few weeks in April-May every year during Spring and we were there at the right time to see the flowers beautifully blooming in every farm in rows of different colours. Some of our friends who have visited the region before have told that when they went the farms were empty or that the Tulips were still buds, etc. So, it is very important to be there at the right time.

Tulip farms in the bulb region of the Netherlands

Here, I must not miss to tell you the charming country the Netherlands is. We were seeing the rows of beautiful Dutch houses with typical red bricks as the outer walls. Each house has a small garden in front, which is being passionately maintained by the owners displaying colourful flowers. Also, most houses have big french windows and a small platform before the curtains would sport an array of artistic Deco items, which kept me ogling at every house.

Beautiful pink tulips at the Keukenhof

Enjoying these scenaries, we reached the Keukenhof. Right from the entrance, we were busy taking photographs. We were filled with awe on seeing the hundreds of varieties of Tulips in different sizes,  shapes, and colours.They were beautifully arranged along with other flowers and we spent the entire day there at the park. The weather was gloomy for about one or two hours and then it was fair and sunny. My favourite were the pink and purple ones.

Daffodils at the Keukenhof

Rows of purple Hyacinth at the Keukenhof

It is not only Tulips which steal the show. Other Spring babies like Daffodils and Hyacinth are also to be witnessed in full bloom almost in every farm. I have learned Wordsworth's famous poem "The Daffodils" at school and it was then that I saw those in real life. Hyacinth was completely new to me. They were small sized flowers compared to the other two, but also to be seen in many colours like Tulips. The significance is their enchanting smell.

The Keukenhof

We could never get tired of witnessing thousands of flowers, but then they were about to close the park and we had to leave. I had a good night's sleep, dreams full of flowers.

As this post has become unexpectedly long, I'm saving the rest of my narrative for the next part. Hope you have enjoyed my experiences till now ;)

8 comments:

  1. that pic of the lighthouse is so daunting, yet so beautiful you want to just be there....
    welcome back...and look fwd 2 seeing some kick ass recipes :)

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  2. Wow beautiful clicks, we are planning to visit Netherlands since a long, thanks for this virtual treat.Loved reading this post.

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  3. Welcome back Aysha! Thanks for sharing such gorgeous pictures, truly a paradise on Earth!

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  4. Welcome back...Loved reading the post...Nice pics, they are beautiful...esp the light house....

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  5. yayyyyy... your back!!!! Welcome, welcome!!! :) This is a well written post Ayeesha..The way u have described the scenery, I could actually picture it :) Lovely, spectacular pics..The landscape is picture perfect, like the whole setting the flowers, trees, water etc etc was all planned & inserted.. :)Glad u had a lovely holiday..:)

    Prathima Rao
    Parts Corner

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  6. When ur post itself is so bubbly and full of energy , I wonder how would u have reacted when u first sighted these bulbs ! Great to see u back with eye catching pics !

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  7. beautiful pictures thank you for sharing Eid Mubark

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  8. The Tulips and lighthouse are absolutely mesmerizing!!

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