I had saved a very special excursion for my last day in The Netherlands.
After dropping my bags at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport, Toni and I boarded a bus for the half hour ride to the Keukenhof, The Netherlands national gardens and billed as the ‘world’s largest flower garden’.
I had read a blog post a couple weeks before that said that, due to an exceptionally cold winter in Northern Europe, the garden’s famous tulips had not started blooming yet. Since my visit was still a few weeks away, I figured I would be hitting the gardens at the perfect time to visit. Upon entering the gardens, and seeing all of the tulips beds without the flowering plants, I began to get the impression that my hopes of a fully blooming garden would not be realized.
We were obviously disappointed not to find the flowers in full bloom. There were some of the non-tulips varieties that had flowered, specifically Hyacinths and daffodils, but the tulips were noticeably absent. It was still a pleasant weather day to be walking around a large, beautifully landscaped place, so we made the best of it.
After a nice long walk in the beautiful April sunshine, we made our way to Beatrix Hall, and it’s outstanding display of orchids. (A full photo essay on the orchids in forthcoming.)
The real highlight of the visit was inside the massive Willem-Alexander pavilion, where we were able to see hundreds of different varieties of tulips on display.
It was time for me to head south and for Toni to head back for a day in Amsterdam by herself. It’d been a great 2 1/2 days hanging out with a friend who, up to that point, had only been a virtual one.
I caught a train south to Rotterdam, where I transferred to a second train headed to Brussels. I was finally was out on my big Eurail adventure…