Monday, April 30, 2018

Amsterdam Spring 2018

We've always intended to visit Holland with the Tulips in bloom, although this trip was more accidental in timing than planned it worked out wonderfully.

Helen and I were one quarter of the group who made our way variously to Amsterdam, meeting up for dinner on Friday night.

Saturday we split into two groups of four, with our group managing to run and catch the tourist ferry with just 2 minutes to spare, across the inland sea to Muiderslot Castle also know as Amsterdam's Castle.   It dates back to around 1400 having been developed and maintained since then and is a very impressive structure:

We passed this derelict vessel on our approach to the Castle:

We had a good old explore, enjoying the outstanding weather, which proved informative and enjoyable as was the coffee and the beer, before catching the return ferry and making our way into town to meet up for dinner.

On the Sunday we'd pre-booked coach seats and entry to Keukenhof Gardens from our hotel rather than via the airport.   We'd been advised the queue from the airport for the bus routinely exceeds an hour, so this seemed a smart choice.

As the road to the gardens was already busy our knowledgeable driver dived off at a roundabout and took us down single lane roads through the planted Tulip fields, they are seriously impressive and indeed clearly visible on approach and departure form Schipol. 

We photographed these from inside the gardens as there a couple of decent vantage points:

The gardens themselves are very impressive, well organised, accessible, well priced and generally very European in organisation.   And florally stunning too:

The formal arrangements are equally impressive and often too big to capture, particularly with the ever growing throngs of visitors (the sunshine, the timing and the location meant roughly 50,000 visitors on that Sunday):

We really enjoyed our half day at the gardens, and the 24c warmth and continual sunshine helped that, as did the odd beer :)

From Keukenhof it was back to the hotel and then into town for our final dinner and drinks.   A cracking weekend with some outstanding company, weather, food, drink and general sunshine!


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