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The Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands far exceeded my expectations. I thought it was going to be like many of the other botanical gardens I had been to, but I was wrong.
But before I dive in to how wonderful the gardens were, take note of this pro tip!
Wait at least a couple of weeks after opening day to visit when the weather is warmer and everything is in bloom. Then you’ll get the best visuals your eyes could ever hope for.
The website had said that there would be 7 million tulips in bloom, but because I had gone on opening day when it was still chilly enough to wear a winter coat, scarf, and gloves, a lot of flowers and trees weren’t in bloom.
This made it seem more drab than the photos I had seen online from last year (damn internet for making my expectations so high).
But considering how tranquil the gardens were and how nice it was to explore the grounds with my husband and friends visiting from the United States (who were about to get engaged– EEK!), I was happy as happy can be!
Don’t get me wrong though. There were still plenty of flowers to get lost in like these vibrant red tulips that were somehow a different species than the patch of red tulips next to it yet looked exactly the same to me.
Hmm…I’m obviously no tulip expert, but at least, I’m pretty good at enjoying them!
With or without all the tulips being in full bloom, the gardens still exceeded my expectations. It had so much to offer!
The landscape changed from garden to garden so despite the (obvious) underlying theme of tulips across the park, the scenery never got old like in Golden Age garden and the Beach garden.
Although I don’t have kids, I noticed how amazing this place was for families with its petting zoo, playground, and facilities to eat, shop, and relax at for tired kids to take a break at. It’s set up so that with kids or not, you can literally spend the whole day here with ease.
There’s even a restaurant dedicated to only making poffertjes– yum!
Good things we don’t have kids yet because being kids at heart, we took part in the exhibitions with childlike wonder. We frolicked around and looked up, down, and all around.
But then Dan did something very un-childlike and very adult-like.
Dan expressed his love and commitment for his one true love, Kate, through a surprise proposal amidst the fields of purple and yellow.
He got down on his knee, and after what seemed like an eternity to him, Kate said yes! And the crowd they drew cheered loudly with glee!
Besides the fact that these two are so perfect for each other, this moment was extra special to be a part of because I consider Dan my family! His loving mother took me in in high school since I didn’t have parents, and now I have many happy memories from childhood because of them.
Cheers to all the loving people who helped me get to where I am now.
Side note: if you’re looking for a surprise proposal photographer in Amsterdam, then let’s talk!
After their proposal, we decided to ditch them FAST. Just kidding– we wanted them to have their own time together after such a special moment so suggested they go off on their own.
Can I tell you how sweet Kate is though? After we told them we’d meet up with them later, she asked us, “Are you sure?” LOL! It was her moment, yet she didn’t want to exclude us.
But we were more than happy to let them be ’cause we found this greenhouse where we got a cup of fresh mint tea (so Dutch) to warm up our cold hands![/column]
We examined the greenhouse (one of the many facilities you could take a break and grab a drink or bite at the Keukenhof Gardens) and talked about how this would be a very feasible way for us to grow our own vegetables when we had a house one day…. yes, one day…[/column]
Just when I was finally getting warm, the Keukenhof Gardens threw this fantastic photo opportunity right in front of me, and I had to throw my jacket off to get a picture in the boat with my flower kimono.
I <3 kimonos & good photo opps, which they’re really good at setting up.
The last stop we made at this very well laid out garden was the pavilion full of orchids!
On top of all the exhibitions, various gardens and landscapes, indoor pavilions, and facilities, this orchid show was the ultimate cherry on top because I absolutely love orchids, and to be surrounded by them fully was an absolute joy.
As I walked out of the gardens, I was already thinking about visiting next year and how I’d make sure to come in a few weeks after opening day to see these gorgeous gardens in full technicolor bloom like these tulips growing indoors.
2161 AM Lisse
Cost: 16 euros or
24 euros with a bus ticket from Schipol, Leiden, or Haarlem
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