Saturday, May 1, 2010

Keukenhof Tulip Festival

**Warning: Lots of pictures (just like all my other posts)

Can you tell it's taken me a long time to post about this trip? There were so many things that took my breath away so it's been hard for me to put into words what we saw.

I also have had a hard time with the fact that the pictures don't even come close to how beautiful and breathtaking it was (I definitely have to take a photography class while living over here). Just to give you an idea...the two pictures below show the view you see outside your window much of the time. Fields and fields of tulips just growing in mass proportions. It was amazing. But these pictures can't even capture how dreamlike it was.

The only thing I was sad that I didn't get to do was to run in the fields of tulips along the sides of the roads. I just had a hankering to, but never did.

Us getting ready to go in. Can you see the 6th member of our family in the background? Otie, our dog? Yes, we had to take him on this trip cuz I didn't feel comfortable asking anyone to babysit him when he's not housetrained quite yet. He was pretty good, and the girls are great with him. And the Germans love dogs so they're welcome in quite a few places.
Can you see the sun shining in the picture above with Spencer? We couldn't have asked for a better day to go. Because the next day it was pouring rain and pretty cold. But poor Spencer and I. We both got sunburns. Didn't even think to put on sunscreen cuz it wasn't very hot at all.

Spencer ALWAYS finds the rocks. It's so funny. He loves to pick them up and then watch them slowly drop out of his hand. Remember the Spielpark (the huge park) post?

So, most of these pictures are of the flowers growing there (with some people mingled in as well.) I hope they don't bore you but I want them for me to look back on. Plus there have been a few people who have asked me to post lots of the flower pictures so they could experience it, since they probably never will.

Without further adieu, here we go through the Keukenhof...

What is the Keukenhof you ask? It's a large outdoor Arboretum-type park that holds a huge festival every Spring to showcase the myriads of bulb flowers growing in Holland. They plant them in shapes, in rows, and in big planters. They even have a theme each year, and this year's theme was From Russia With Love. They had an area where they showcased all sorts of shaped planters, wooden dolls, etc. to support the theme. They also even had a huge greenhouse showcasing their orchid displays.

Now for the pictures? Here ya go!

All colors of Hyacinths (the flowers in this picture):

What would Holland be without wooden shoes?

This walkway didn't have as many flowers down it, but I just loved the trees. I'm sure when they all bloom with pink and white blossoms, it will just be magnificent.

We were told that April is the best time to go and that if we waited til May, all the flowers would be dying. So, we thought Spring Break would be perfect. But I think because Germany had such an abnormally cold winter, all the flowers waited to bloom. There were lots of areas where the flowers hadn't bloomed yet, just as in the picture below. You can only imagine how beautiful it will be once they have all bloomed.
So, you know I'm a florist (well used to be, but sometimes dabble in it a little). And every wedding I have my favorites. Well, here at the Keukenhof, I loved all the flowers, but for sure had my favorites. I'll name them as I get to them in this post (but in no particular order of which one I like best). These next red ones are Favorites #1: How cool are they? Folding back over themselves.

Beautiful Pond with Swans and Stepping Stones and a fountain and fun little village behind it.

The girls standing by a random sculpture.

You can see the flowers that haven't bloomed yet and who cool they're going to be when they do.

The Stepping Stones. They were pretty sturdy, although I got a bit nervous walking across them. I kept thinking of how many stairs I accidentally miss when I try to run up them (anyone remember my mishap at Heather's wedding?), so I could only imagine that I would accidentally overshoot, or miss one by just a tad and fall in. It kinda makes me giggle imagining it, but I'm sure I wouldn't be laughing if it really happened.

Spencer was so excited to see this swan and wanted to touch it. He wasn't scared at all, nor was he scared of the water. That was our biggest problem there with him was every fountain and every lake we came across he didn't even stop running and would have run straight in without stopping had we not run after him.

Favorites #2: Check out how cool their designs are. Checkered!

They had random, but really cool, sculpture art around the park. This one had busts (heads, bodies, etc.) hanging from a tree. At first glance it was a bit creepy but then the more I looked at it it was kind of cool.

The Chess Park. Remember the other one in Heidelberg we used to frequent? The girls were ecstatic when they saw this.

How much do you think I was wishing that the flowers were blooming on this archway? I can only imagine how beautiful it will be.

I think I loved the mixed flower areas the best, rather than the ones that were clusters of the same flower. I love how they put different heights and the aesthetic airy look of them. I first saw this look at the Shwetzingen Castle last year.

Another big field of flowers that you could only see from a balcony overlooking it off the side of the park.

They had lots of things for kids, which made it really fun. The girls are just about to enter the maze (I'm a serious sucker for mazes like this. I like to pretend I'm in Alice In Wonderland in the Queen of Hearts' maze.)

The Farm/Petting Zoo...
Spencer couldn't get enough of this. He chased after the chickens for the longest time, sat next to the baby goat, and wanted to pet the cow.
I'm a little embarrassed about this video. We have a new bully in our midst. And how much do I love Brian's discipline techniques? Leave it up to the 11 year old Xanthe in the background to tell him he was bad. Know that when he's done this at other times, he is taught it's not nice.

When we were at the petting zoo, we had just missed getting on camera the perfect moment of something Spencer did. Remember his addiction to material? He loves sucking on his blankets, and when we go to a store he sticks his hands out to touch all the clothes he's walking by? He'll even walk next to someone sitting at a restaurant and just without thinking, stick his hand out and run it along the person's pant leg as he's walking. Kind of like a kid does with a stick along a fence. Well, he did that with the sheep right here. The sheep were both standing next to each other and as he was walking by, just stuck his hands out and dragged them along the tops of the sheeps' wool. It totally cracked me up.

He just wanted to sit next to this baby goat.

They had these climbing ropes that were almost like an obstacle course. They had slides and a zip line even. The kids loved it.

A tunnel for the kids to run through. The girls played "spy" through it.

Then out on one of the lawns they had these things called "Fat Boys". They're these big huge canvas pillow beds filled with sand. You go and you lay on them in the sun, and I'm not kidding, they were so comfortable. They just sort of molded you and you could stare up at the sky and soak in the sun. I didn't want to get up.

Favorites #3: These look like palm trees with coconuts hanging down.

Part of the Russian tribute...This is about all we saw from this part. We didn't venture in.

And of course, what would Holland be without a windmill?

There was a guy there whittling wooden shoes. He had also made out of wood some replicas of Elvis Blue Suede shoes, highheels, soccer cleats and penny loafers. Here are a pair that were big enough for even Brian to try on.

And this motorcycle was part of the Russian theme. I'm guessing this was used in the movie "From Russia with Love". I don't remember the movie too well.

Favorites #4: Deep Eggplant Purple Hyacinth. This picture doesn't do it justice. The color was like nothing I've ever seen before with this flower. I loved it.

I'll end with this one...
Favorites #5: These blossoms were blooming EVERYWHERE. So breathtaking. The whole thing.

I'm seriously glad we made the trip. (Don't know why blogger is underlining my whole sentence.) And of course, after we did this in the morning, we all headed back to Eurocamp and did the Amusement Park and Water Park. We couldn't get enough! How sad is it when your campground is almost as fun, if not funner, than the European city you just visited? haha.


Randi said...

Ok, The part in this post that I can't get out of my mind is an image I have in my head of you falling off of the stepping stones into the pond! HAHA I have the giggles now!!! That place looks like your kind of place. I love all of the flowers. Too bad you cant bottle them up and keep them beautiful forever. I also love that you called your sweet little boy a bully. He is not even close to being a bully. That little girl just needed to move it so he could see that goat. Some things are too important for being polite!!

amber buhrley said...

I thought this post was going to be pretty cool when I first read the title, but didnt realize how cool it really was! All those flowers...amazing! I bet you were in heaven. Sounds like alot of fun.

ruth said...

1- the random sculptres look like duck butts.
2. I officially hate you and your amazing life of traveling europe. You suck.
3. i love hat Spencer pushed that girl. Classic boy move.

meyerprints said...

Laura said...

Hi Christy,
Random Brown cousin, Laura, here. I've been reading your blog for a while and I'm super jealous of you and your cute family living it up in Europe! I want to to the same with my family some day. (I'm serious and may call you sometime when we decide the time is right.)

Anyway, I LOVE all the pictures of the beautiful flowers and I just wanted to add my two cents that I think the random sculpture is of "bulbs" that they use to plant all of those flowers.

Have a great day!

pnarula said...

It's really interesting to compare your photos to mine. We were there on April 29th and it was fantastic. Almost all of the tulips were in bloom -- just a very few of the very late bloomers hadn't popped up yet. I was afraid that going at the end of April would be too late in the season but like you said -- the weather must have made caused a delayed spring.

We missed the fat boy sand beds. Where did you find those?