Our first visit to Keukenhof was within a day of moving to Amsterdam. We spent all of our time walking in the gardens and wistfully looked at people cycling by a field of tulips outside. I didn’t know cycling back then and the wife wasn’t sure how badly her cycling ability was atrophied after years of disuse. Come 2013, and we not only gave the garden a miss, we queued patiently outside the temporary bicycle rental shop for 40 minutes to get our bicycles.
Spring has been extremely late this year and although Keukonhof opened its doors to tourists in March as usual, there wasn’t much to see till late April. However, by May, things were back on track and we got our fill of fields of tulips stretching for miles and miles:
Although tulips dominate the fields around Keukehof, you do come across other varieties of flowers:
I remember this field not only because of a strong, pleasant smell that the breeze carried to us but also because of the houses that looked perfectly colour coordinated with the flowers.
It was an extremely windy day and cycling occasionally took some effort despite the well-maintained, dedicated biking lanes. We kept stopping for breaks in these fields and kept forgetting our fatigue.
Although you see millions of tulips around you, you’d be hard pressed to find a shop selling a bouquet for your home. You do come across these small, unmanned stalls that work on honour system. The hand-written signs tell you how much you should pay for each bouquet. You take the bouquet and leave the correct amount in a box near by.
The park closes at 6:00 PM and the bicycle rental an hour after that. With the evening getting colder and wind fiercer, we reluctantly turned back to return but took our own sweet time, stopping several times along the way:
Kenukenhof has now become an annual spring ritual of sorts for us, the sort that your year feels incomplete without.