So, we wound up going to the Keukenhof on Saturday (just too exhausted on Friday after arriving in the Sauerlands at 0200). We had stayed up chatting and drinking with F and G (my in-laws) past midnight on Friday and we wound up sleeping through our alarm at 0500 and not waking until 0700, so we didn't get out of the house until 0730. The trip should take a little over three hours, but this morning it wound up taking 5.5. The last two hours were in a stau (traffic jam) for the last two kilometers. We hadn't realized last week that this weekend, and in particular this Saturday, was the absolute height of the tourist season. Saturday was the Bloemencorso Bollenstreek, a flower parade that apparently attracts 100s of thousands of spectators.
Once we got in, the bulbs were absolutely magnificent. I'm including a few photos here but I hope to find a good slide show to embed so that I can put in more of the (many) photos I took. It was clear that this was a (fantastic) showcase for bulb sale promotion and I made certain that several of my photos contained the name tags for the bulbs so that when I am back in my yard in New York I will know what varieties to order: they are so magnificent in person that I never want to order by catalog photo again.
There was also a lilac (Syringa) exhibition as well. I'm a huge lilac lover and I was enthralled by the exhibit.
It was difficult being "out" in Germany and Holland during Passover: of course, most fast foods here are in some type of bread product. The waffles smelled so good! Luckily they were also selling beautiful strawberries in cups (with fresh whipped cream) and we each had a cup. Then we used those cups to get the home-made vanilla ice cream being sold by the wind-mill, which, with the bananas and apples we had packed, held us over through our visit.
The children spent the usual time at the playground (and I am so grateful that tourist parks here in Europe all seem to have them) and then as we continued walking through the gorgeous and brilliant beds we happened upon a path of rocks through the lake and Thing1 was excited to leap along it. I was grateful that she did not take a dunking because she wouldn't let me hold her hand.
We needed to leave by 1600 in an effort to get back for G's geburtstag party, the primary reason that we were here this weekend. Unfortunately, due to the afore mentioned Corso, the A4 was shut down. Luckily, when we stopped to buy some cut tulips, the women selling them were able to tell us that and which way we needed to go (which was through Den Haag) to get back to Germany. (And wow, were those cheap: 50 tight yellow buds for 5 Euros. G tells me that they are still looking beautiful three days later.)
We only got lost once and the return trip took us 3.5 hours, even with the roundabout of being redirected from the highway. We went by brilliant and beautiful fields of tulips all through the region.