Friday, May 11, 2012

Tiptoe Through the Tulips

The timing of our trip to Amsterdam hinged on a side trip to the famed Keukenhof gardens, which are only open for two months out of the year.  It was well worth the effort!  The beautifully landscaped gardens are full of acres and acres of tulips and other brightly-colored blooms, surrounded by acres and acres of tulip fields.

Although tulips are closely associated with Holland/The Netherlands, they actually originated in Persia and Turkey, but became so popular after they were introduced to Western Europe that they were traded as a commodity. Many people lost vast fortunes when the tulip market collapsed in 1637.  Today there are over 100 species of tulips, many of which are on display at Keukenhof each spring.

It was an easy day trip by train and bus from Amsterdam.  I took A LOT of photos, so here are some highlights...
"Main Entrance"
You had to pay for a map, so we just took a photo of the one they had posted.  (It worked better on Josh's iPad)
Tulips, tulips, everywhere!

Funky Fritillaria

Big shoes to fill

Strange sculpture
Wedding orchids
Lady Gaga orchids?  Dress made from eggshells
View of tulip fields from windmill
Black tulips
Frilly tulips

Pyramid of birds
Birds as colorful as the flowers

Cherry blossoms
Bizarre musical sculpture
Josh photobomb

Double tulips
River of grape hyacinth

Our tickets included entrance to the adjacent "Keukenhof Castle," which just opened this year and was purported to have an excellent art collection.  Unfortunately, when we arrived we were told the castle had already closed for the day, so we were limited to strolling around the grounds.  There was quite a bit of art to see, but most of it was rather strange...  But at least it was a respite from the crowds across the street,
Josh attacks the puffy poodles
No more monkeys hanging from the tree!
Italian sculpture garden
Part of the grounds appeared to be a working farm, although the barn was in use as an exhibit space -- albeit one that would never pass a safety inspection in the US.
Creepy exhibit in a barn
House converted into a cute cafe
The "Castle"

Guinea Fowl
The Ravine of Misfit Sculpture
Climb the stairs for a view of... nothing.
Back at Keukenhof gardens, we were glad to return to the colorful flowers and less avant-garde sculpture.

What a beautiful place!  We were glad we planned our trip to Amsterdam around a visit to Keukenhof.   I hear the gardens are re-landscaped annually, so it's different every year.  Maybe we can go back again next year...

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