Monday, 23 April 2018

Mon 23 Apr 2018. A very full day round Keukenhof Gardens, Lisse

Mon 23 Apr 2018. A very full day round Keukenhof Gardens, Lisse
Woke early, 12° (red-wine headache? jet lag?). We’d forgotten that the shops don’t open weekends so couldn’t pick up groceries yesterday. Luckily the Bread Van comes through the park each morning, so we chose fruit salad and croissants for breakfast, plus milk to go with the teabags Julia kindly donated last night.

Julia and Pocket Earth guided us to the massive Keukenhof Park full of millions of tulips, narcissus/daffodils, hyacinths and other bulb flowers. Started at children's nursery and clog-making area before hitting the main floral displays. The 2018 theme is Romance which the many gardens and massed displays reflected: Cupid’s Garden and Delft Blue Garden. Great views of spectacular bulb fields from the windmill. 

Couldn’t believe that in 8 weeks, well over a million people view the park’s 7 million Spring-flowering bulbs. We read that to do this Keukenhof uses lasagne/ layered planting; the bottom layer contains late flowering varieties, the middle has April flowering bulbs ( the ones we are seeing today) and the top layer contains early flowering bulbs. Over 40 gardeners plant BY HAND in mid-September (takes 3 months). Also new grass is sown before every opening season. At the conclusion, all the bulbs are dug up and destroyed.

Buying orchids for Julia’s daughters/ daughter in law was a challenging task in the Beatrix Pavilion - much to-ing and fro-ing on iPhone sending photos and taking calls until three orchids were satisfactorily purchased.

In the Willem Alexander Pavilion we admired creative displays, then sat in a glassed enclave to eat the sandwiches Julia had packed.

After lunch we moved to busy Oranje Nassau Pavilion with its elaborate displays of love, love, love. Some of their flowers were most unusual. Watched a demonstration of grass weaving and decorating to make a heart arrangement. 

Inverted lillies - hollow stems filled with water for orchids!

Reluctantly said farewell to the gathered beauty of the gardens. Wandered back to the carpark astounded at how many vehicles had turned up (now where was our hire car??)

On the way back to camp stopped to take in the stunning vistas of the tulip fields, with their almost-too-bright lines running into a distant single point.

Wanderoos turn to cook dinner; browsed shops and market in Noordwijk (flower town).

The cheese wheels were so tempting...

With the fish shop closed, settled on pork wrapped in prosciutto with potato and khol salad. Eskil brought his own contribution, “New Herring” raw, dipped in onion, held by tail and eaten from head (apparently it’s a Dutch tradition). 

This was complimented by Niemolet, a hard gold-coloured cheese. Very tasty. BoyRob had picked up Cornet beer, which turned out to be very “hoppy” (AND 8.5% alcohol!!) Half way through dinner the power went out, next thing the park was full of strolling people (sad for them - no TV!) Luckily the sky was light until 9pm so we could see to eat, and the power returned just in time for hot water for the dishes (but internet a no-go; it was only available on one device anyway)

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