Following our two and a half hour drive from Bedburg to Amsterdam, during which we were honked at a minimum of four times by drivers a little more used to European roadways than us, we were greeted in our hotel rooms in Amsterdam by beautiful views of the sunset over the water.
My mom has always wanted to visit Holland, Michigan for their annual tulip fest, so I figured why not take a visit to the real deal in the Netherlands! Keukenhof is one of the largest flower gardens in the world, coming in at 79 acres. On my brothers 12th birthday, we visited Keukenhof to check out all the hype. After a 40 minute drive southwest from our hotel in Amsterdam we were greeted in Lisse, the town where Keukenhof is located, by the endless private tulip fields that surround the garden. Pulling into the large parking area, the variety of the license plates were endless. The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Poland, and even more. People from near and far came to experience "The Garden of Europe", and my host parents, mom, me, and youngest brother walked right alongside them.
Upon entering the Keukenhof gates, I was met by a big circle full of assorted tulips. I had never seen so many different types in one place before.
Along with the tulips, there were also lots of pretty flowering trees.
Besides the endless outdoor exhibits, there were also four indoor exhibits that showcased orchids and other flowers.
This is one of my favorite pictures from Keukenhof. I captured this while I was aimlessly taking photos of my surroundings. Once my finger clicked the button, I looked up and saw this man smiling at my camera. I'm not sure if he thought I was intentionally taking his picture, but thinking back it makes me giggle.
Holland isn't Holland without windmills. Originally, we had planned to take a boat ride through the tulip fields behind the windmill, but the line was too long so instead we continued to explore the rest of Keukenhof.
As you can see, Kole was thrilled to be spending his 12th birthday surrounded by flowers.
A little after halfway through the park, we came to these wooden stepping circles where we got the chance to walk across the water. There were swans swimming towards the end and everyone was stopping to take pictures, so it took a while to get across.
These were the tallest tulips I'd ever seen, over a foot tall.
Experiencing Keukenhof was so fun and I'm glad I got to share it with members of both of my families.
Although Amsterdam wasn't quite the rest of my family's scene, I walked around for about two hours taking pictures. It was colder this time than it was on my first visit last June, but seeing the canals and cool architecture still made it enjoyable.
Right before we got back on the road, direction Germany, we stopped at the only place open on Good Friday, a little family restaurant. None of us speak a word of Dutch, but luckily the waitress spoke English.
Seated comfortably in our 9-person van, my grandpa started up the engine and we prepared ourselves for the six hour drive to our next destination.