If you don't like seeing hundreds of pictures of flowers, you might want to skip this post. This weekend we went to the Netherlands. This was the first time for Ethan and I and the second time for Quinn. Ethan has now been to 9 countries, too bad they don't stamp his doggy passport. Yes, he has a passport. It is for traveling around European Union countries to ensure that his vaccinations are up to date.
Anyway, we drove to the Netherlands to check out the Keukenhof flower park. This park boasts the most beautiful and plentiful flower growing area in the Netherlands. The park is in full bloom between March and May. I have heard that it is best to go in Mid March but since it has been so cold here for so long, the flowers bloomed a little late. I think we hit the season perfectly. The drive was less than 4 hours and we brought the bikes along. Here is Quinn with our new bike rack set up! It is pretty sweet to be able to carry them on the car and not have to spend 45 minutes bungee cording them to the back.
There were both indoor and outdoor displays and gardens. Here is a taste of the gardens. Quinn wanted me to add that none of these pictures have been edited to change the saturation. They are really this colorful.
They go to great lengths to ensure that the park is well manicured. There was even a man washing and using a squeegee on the benches.
Back to more flowers.
Here was a cool sculpture made of stones. It was a little city.
There is a theme every year and this year the theme was "England." There was a whole pavilion dedicated to English style arrangements and British pop culture.
You can't have a park in the Netherlands without a windmill.
Cool bird. He was diving under the water to go fishing.
There was a petting zoo.
Surprise again! We just keep popping up everywhere.
Are you tired of flowers yet?
Obligatory wooden clog shot.
Around the farm there are also tons of fields growing flowers for the bulbs. Apparently, as soon as the flowers are in full bloom they cut them off so that they can harvest the bulbs. We got super lucky and were able to see a bunch of the fields in bloom.
We took the bikes around the fields and since we had Ethan with us, we stuck him in the backpack. This caused a lot of interest and cars were slowing down next to us, rolling down the window and taking pictures of us!
This weekend was Queen's day (huge holiday in the Netherlands) so accommodation was very limited. We ended up staying about 1 hour from the flower park in a town whose name might seem familiar, GOUDA! Isn't that funny! This is in fact the town where the famous cheese originates. Unfortunately, we timed it wrong and went for a bike ride instead of cheese shopping. By the time we got back, the cheese shops were closed That's okay though. We will be back.
We took a really nice bike ride around the surrounding villages. The Netherlands is known for its numerous cycling trials. It is absolutely unbelievable to see how many bike trails there are. For every road, there is a bike lane and sometimes on both sides of the road. We were in love! Bikes even have their own stop lights and buttons to push. Bikes get priority and the light turns green immediately for the cyclists. Here are the special bike stoplights.
We also saw many thatched roofs and awesome Dutch architecture. The real estate market is no joke in this area. Many of the farms we road past had mansions on them that cost over a million euro. We know this because we stopped by a real estate shop to check it out. Lots of houses on canals.
More interesting pics.
For dinner we were hunting around for some type of local cuisine and discovered that the Dutch are fans of grilled meats. We were not really in the mood for grilled meats so we started looking for a Tapas bar that we had heard about. We walked around for quite a awhile and could not find it. Finally we asked a nice local couple for help and they said it was closed and sure enough we walked about 30 more feet and there it was, no lights. We asked them for a recommendation and they said, "do you like Japanese?" We said, "of course!" We were quite skeptical of eating Japanese food in the Netherlands because we have not had much luck with finding decent sushi in Germany. We had actually walked by the Japanese place earlier in the night and discounted it because of our not so stellar experiences so far. But, since we had a recommendation from a local we decided to take a chance. We started with a trial order of just one roll. When it came out, I could smell that it was going to be awesome, and it was! We ended up ordering 2 more rolls, some sashimi, and grilled sea bass. It was such an awesome treat! We really miss our Japanese food and having good fish. What an awesome night.
The next day we cruised home and stopped in the town of Maastrict along the way. It was bustling and we sat at a café and enjoyed some Indonesian influenced sate (rhymes with café) and chicken soup. It is really fun to sit in a small European city, on the sidewalk, in a café and people watch. It is one of the quintessential things I thought about when I imagined living in Europe. I love how Europeans will just sit down to have a water or coffee, people watch, and chit chat. It is nice to not rush around with a to go drink hurrying to the next place to be. My new mantra....happiness is when you are content with exactly where you are!
The strange goat statue attacked me!
That's all from here folks.