On Sunday, after our train ride from Brussels,
we boarded the UniWorld River Boat, River Queen for our adventure Holland and Belgium at Tulip Time.
The River Queen is not a new boat but has all the essentials – clean rooms, nice beds, nice lounge with full bar and of course a dining room with way too much food at all meals. This particular river cruise is only offered 3 or 4 times during the year – always hoping it will be at the height of the tulip bloom and spring in abundance everywhere. Well, we scored a home run. Not only is the weather just about perfect but also spring is underway.
The first off-ship adventure (Monday) was a bus ride to Keukenhof Gardens. Keukenhof means Kitchen Garden in Dutch but is also known as the Garden of Europe. This is one of the world’s largest flower gardens situated in South Holland about 45 minutes from Amsterdam.
The Gardens, which has become a destination and park, is privately owned and covers an area of 32 hectares (that’s about 80 acres for my US readers) and plants approximately 7 million flower bulbs annually. The place is open mid-March to mid-May and we toured the grounds at a beautiful time for sure.
The Keukenhof features a variety of different garden styles – English landscape, historical garden, water garden, Japanese country garden and a variety of other areas.
Each year a theme is chosen and various displays are created on that theme. This year it was Flower Power – bright colors, hippies, peace signs and music were all part of a display. Beatrix pavilion dripped with every kind and color of orchids.
In the center of the garden was a large green house – filled with color beyond imagination.
Just walking through that space was a thrill of color. Other bulb flowers, such as daffodils, hyacinth, narcissus and crocus spring up through the “lasagna” planting (placing bulbs at different depths so the blooms are staggered) in the gardens keeping each change of season colorful.
It is clear this Garden changes day by day and it would be interesting to come back in a week to see what has bloomed.
After walking around for a few hours it was time to head back to the Boat. Once we returned, it was time to have some lunch and relax for the rest of the day.