Monday, April 13, 2009

Bike Ride to Keukenhof

Last Friday - the start of a four day Easter holiday weekend (wohoo!) - Laura and I planned to revisit the Keukenhof Gardens. As you may recall, Keukenhof is the Dutch flower "amusement park" and according to them, the most photographed place in the world. We had originally intended to visit the park and bike around its immediate vicinity with the hope of seeing the tulip fields in bloom. However, when we saw the weather report (70°F and sunny!) we decided we had to really maximize our time outdoors.

And so it was that at about 10 am on Friday morning, we set off on a 45 km (27 mi) bike ride from Delft to Keukenhof. The journey took us up a main canal out of town ("Delftse Vliet"), through Leiden, and on to Lisse, the home of Keukenhof.

The entire ride from Delft to Leiden was full of really great scenery. We rode through Leidschendam, a very picturesque Dutch city (as almost all of them are) situated at a particularly wide part of the canal we followed from Delft. Here you see a picture of a traditional Dutch windmill overlooking the canal - here I believe called "Trekvliet" or "Zuidvliet" - and the city of Leidschendam.

We also had the pleasure of riding past many farms and seeing all of the newborn animals. Laura's favorites are the lambs, whose bleeting instantaneously turns her into baby-talking mush. At one stop, a baby lamb chewed on Laura's fingers through a fence while the amused farmer watched - unbeknownst to us at the time - from a higher vantage point while working on his boat.

When we did arrive at Keukenhof, we were not disappointed! The blooms have really started popping since we first visited 3 weeks ago. Below Laura is standing in a field of daffodils, which are everywhere in the Netherlands right now.

On our ride to Keukenhof, we saw many fields of blooming daffodils and hyacinths. The tulip fields in the Dutch countryside are - for the most part - not yet blooming (though they are getting close). Somehow, though, Keukenhof has a field of tulips blooming already; we took the picture below from a windmill platform on the Keukenhof grounds. Soon, the Dutch countryside will look like this all over.

We thoroughly enjoyed our return visit to Keukenhof and were there almost until the park closed. Unfortunately, we had to get back on the saddle for the 45 km ride back to Delft, but we were pleased to have exhausted all of the sunlight the day had to offer.

You can see Laura's pictures from this visit to Keukenhof or look at the ones from the previous visit if you like.

Posted by Matt

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