Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Holland part 1: Stop to smell the roses

This is part 1 of a 3-part series on a weekend trip to the Netherlands. Click here for part 2 and here for part 3. If you just want to see pictures, click here. If you’re actually interested in a bit of narration, please carry on.


I have dreamt of going to this place ever since I saw my friend’s pictures on Facebook a few years back. Now, this is reality.

What beautiful weather we had! Unfortunately, there weren’t any roses. What I’d give to be in a garden of 5000 roses (TLP reference)! They’d be there in two weeks, but really, I can’t complain when there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of TYPES of flowers in bloom all around me. The fragrant smell, the endless waves of colours, so vibrant and so INTENSE…can you just say, breathtaking?

Some colleagues and I rented a car for the weekend road trip, and as I was the only one with a valid driver’s license, I drove the entire 650 kilometers in total (including getting lost, returning the car, etc.) It is surprising that the distance from Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium to Lisse in Holland, where Keukenhof is located, is shorter than the distance from Toronto to Kingston. There’s Europe for you in a relatively understandable scale.

The trip was smooth for the most part, thanks to handy dandy Ms. GPS. The only small stretch of traffic occurred interesting right at the Belgium-Holland border, just before we crossed the invisible frontier. It was strange because we were stuck there for a good 40 minutes, but there were no “slow down” signs, border patrols, collisions, or anything that visibly caused the jam. A colleague’s hypothesis is that leaving Belgium is an emotional event for many drivers and they took their time to slow down and say goodbye before entering another country. Personally I think it’s some sort of force field. Just sayin’.

From this point on I’m not even going to write bother writing long paragraphs. Just let the colours refresh your eyes and enjoy the beauty of Keukenhof, starting with the gallery of macros (click for full size).


The garden at a glance

Again, click to see the full size. Captions appended whenever appropriate.

Whatever those little light blue thingies are, I now call them “brush plant” because they remind me of the brushes that we use to clean glassware at the lab. Ahem. Obviously too much work?

Tulips are definitely what the Netherlands are known for. Even the tulips in Ottawa are gifted from the Netherlands each year. They used to be my favourite type of flower, but in recent years roses have replaced them as #1. Simple yet delicate, tulips are still so very lovely.

Some tulips haven’t yet bloomed, and this reminds me of a line in Jay Chou’s lyrics from the song “Blue-Green Porcelain”. It goes, “Your smile is as sweet as a budding flower waiting to bloom.” Excuse the poor translation, but it sounds much more poetic in Chinese.

Little green thing is pretending to be a flower. It probably got tired of being grass and dressed up as one of its companions, but being green, it camouflaged well…whether intentional or not.

In the end…

Mom always complained that I don’t take enough pictures of myself. Well, it’s not as convenient when I travel alone, but with a group of 5, there were plenty of opportunities.

This field of tulips reminds me of the grasslands of Mongolia that I want to visit at some point, except instead of a sea of grass, we see rows on rows of flowers of alternating colours. How I wish I could jump over the fence and roam into the fields like a child…

No, they weren’t floating. If they were, no one would be on there, or we’d see people in the water instead. Quite fun though, especially when you have two lanes of traffic with children and dogs jumping around.

My Iranian friend, Amir, with whom I went around the garden the entire afternoon. We lost the other three friends that accompanies us and didn’t see them again until we met up at the designated waiting area at the designated time. The entire trip around the garden took approximately 4 hours, though I was sure there were parts of the park that we’ve missed. Still, it was a worthy and soul-lifting experience.

Next stop: hostel in the middle of nowhere, then Amsterdam, hopefully making it there and back alive. Stay tuned for Part 2!

4 responses to “Holland part 1: Stop to smell the roses

  1. sherry cheng April 12, 2011 at 22:48




  2. Eurotrip Tips April 19, 2011 at 19:27

    Great photos! I hear the roses are only out for a limited time, from late-April to mid-May. I guess you’ll have to come back next year 😉


  3. Pingback: Montreal, Quebec City, and Ottawa in May | Annie Bananie en Europe

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