Thoughts and memories of living and traveling abroad

The not so great flower fields experience

Ding, Ding! Round 3. For various reasons we have tried…. and tried to get to the flower fields at Keukenhof with no avail. But the third times a charm, right? I mean, we need to get out there before they all die!

So we took the train from Centraal Station to Haarlem which took about 15 minutes and only cost €4 with Heath’s discount. Ah, but we already new that since we took that part of the journey once before and failed. But we did end up with a nice afternoon in the park that day.

Moving on… we then rented us some (brand new) bikes… yes, I got Heath to ride bikes with me… and started on our journey. When we asked for directions from the bike rental man he said, “Yes, it is easy”, picked up a map and drew a line from where we were to… well, off the page. Ok, that’s nice. 

However, I had done my research and was fairly confident we could find our way with no problem. And if I have gained anything from my father I think sense of direction is high on that list! Thanks, dad. Me in Dad

So there we were peddling along! I must say it was quite a nice ride. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect and the scenery was beautiful. 

There were several big houses tucked away.

There were several big houses tucked away.

tractor

I was hoping this wasn't a premonition...

I was hoping this wasn't a premonition...

ha

So after about an hour and a half things started looking less like the above and more like I-75. But all the signs and senses were telling me to press on! Heath however had some other suggestions. Such as… “Shouldn’t we go towards the church?” (Who’d a thought those words would come out of his mouth?) and after asking for directions “I don’t know he just nodded at everything I said!”. So with tensions on the rise I agreed to stop at the gas station and stare at yet another map without enough details. Don’t these people know what a “You Are Here” sticker is??

But Alas! Another 30 minutes of biking and we were at the entrance to Keukenhof. Whew. We had decided beforehand to save on money we were not going to go in the actual park. It’s like a theme park/tourist trap and we just wanted to see the fields. Besides you can’t bike inside the park. You can however, bike along the outside and see all the beautiful flower fields. So we made our way around the park…. and around… and …. hmm. Is that it?

gone, gone I tell ya!

Yup. They CUT THEM ALL DOWN!!! 

windmill

I couldn’t believe it. We joked about them all being dead but not all cut down on purpose! Ahhhhh. 

So I pretended to take some photos of the random tulips that were still standing while Heath made some very “talkative” friends. 

stay strong!

Moooooooooooo

I'm sorry, did I udder?

Fortunately, there were a couple of fields on the way back. But they were defiantly on their last leg, so to speak.

lame

pathetic

Tending to... dirt.

As my dad says, "Two farmers who are outstanding in their field!"

look out

We went down this but nothing too exciting. Unless you like empty flower fields. Or other people's backyards.

We went down this but nothing too exciting. Unless you like empty flower fields. Or other people's backyards.

quaint

Since we circled around the park we continued on the path and started going back to Haarlem a different way. Can you see where this is going? 

As we were making our way in the general direction of where we came from something happened. I’m sorry but I can not explain exactly what happened, but what I do know is that I looked down. Bad idea. Because when I looked back up I think the only word that came to my head was “curb”. Since I had my camera around my neck (another bad idea) my mind was now focusing on proper dismount when it should have been saying, “Whitney! Get control of the situation!” So naturally, I fell off, camera swung around my neck  and I landed on my knee… hands…. side…. elbow. Ouch! But I thought ahead and brought bandages. Ok, ok, I admit I brought them for Heath! As I’m typing this it has been over a week since this experience and I still can’t bend my knee all the way without… well, I’ll spare the details. 

So needless to say that was not very fun. Especially when we’re trying to save money and I just busted a brand new rental bike. So after we bandage my knee and try to hide the damage we continue on our way.  We stop and look at the map (why do we bother?) and can’t find any of the streets that we’re on or passing. We get back on the bike and something doesn’t feel right. Ah yes, that would be a flat tire. We pump it up several times and continue without much conversation going on. Finally we ask someone and she tells us, “Keep going straight. It’s a long ride but just go straight.” Ok. But what happens at the fork in the road? We go right! Why? I don’t know. So one more look at the map. Nope, nothing there. We ask someone else and much to our surprise he says, “Well, where we are is not on this map”. Thank you Netherlands for letting English be your second language! The kind man directed us and we were on our way again, but not before some more pumps to my tire! 

Finally we are in the city of Haarlem but my bike was just not going to make it. We walk it through the rest of the city. But I think by this time between our frustration, disappointment and injury we are more than happy to be walking down the home stretch! 

Sooo… who wants to plan their trip around the flower fields???

xoxo from Amsterdam!

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2 responses

  1. Pingback: Bike trip to Leiden « Whitney and Heath’s Expat Experience

  2. Great pics – sounds and looks like a good time! Back in March of 2004 I gave a lecture in Amsterdam, and Missy and a few friends went to Keukenhof to see the flowers – and were told they were about 2-3 weeks early…

    Love to you both!

    June 8, 2009 at 12:07 am

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