Tulips, Keukenhof, Holland

Tulips, Keukenhof, Holland

“I suppose there must be one or two people in the world who choose not to like tulips, but such aberration is scarcely credible.”
— Anna Pavord, The Tulip

We came to the Netherlands in April to see the tulips, but this year’s lasting cold weather meant that the tulip season was late.  We were too early for the blooming peak.  Still, we went forward with our plans to visit the famous Keukenhof gardens, and I’m glad we did.  The gardens there were spread out over acres, and it felt like we were walking on a grand estate, with flower beds under a forest of tall trees, a lake, a hedge maze, a windmill, arbors, outdoor sculptures, and several indoor pavilions with bulbs and blooms.  I hope my photos convey the pleasures of this day trip.

Early morning sun through the leafless trees, Keukenhof

Early morning sun through the leafless trees, Keukenhof

IMAGE_AA19047A-B4A1-4B6A-8F25-EC7CDB12F790

View across the lake

View across the lake

Tulips waiting for a bit of warmth and sunshine

Tulips waiting for a bit of warmth and sunshine

IMAGE_67FC0730-1719-4F22-8CC2-68AE3CC61324

Nearby fileds in Lisse starting to show color

Nearby fields in Lisse starting to show color

View of the adjacent flower fields from the windmill at Keukenhof

View of the adjacent flower fields from the windmill at Keukenhof

IMAGE_EEA6179E-194C-41E8-AB29-E2A9030E38C6

Indoors at the Willem-Alexander pavilion the display beds were in bloom for all to enjoy.

Indoors at the Willem-Alexander pavilion the display beds were in bloom for all to enjoy.

A photographing frenzy

A photographing frenzy

Still dressed for the cold in mid-April

Still dressed for the cold in mid-April

IMAGE_B7B7DBE6-E4A3-490A-B7B5-0215ADC520E9

IMAGE_EE5A406B-0897-4D9A-8D81-620416B88950

IMAGE_E1A4D002-843C-4B0E-8294-6075E11259ED

IMAGE_8BAC2232-4542-48D8-B01F-6B66E0C86239

IMAGE_39AB14D7-553F-40E8-BC36-6FFCFF8F33F1

IMAGE_3C008D03-4F6E-4498-8922-4CD43CDFE372

IMAGE_4C43B664-66BE-4288-9246-4EDFD34EE9E2

View of fields near Lisse from the tour bus window

View of fields near Lisse from the tour bus window

Last look at Holland from the airpolane window, my last day

Last look at Holland from the airplane window, my last day

"Tulip" by Ellsworth Kelly, 1984 from the book, Plant Drawings

“Tulip” by Ellsworth Kelly, 1984 from the book, Plant Drawings

In the tradition of art training, this is my attempt to copy Ellsworth kelly's tulip drawing

In the tradition of art training, this is my attempt to copy Ellsworth Kelly’s tulip drawing

Watercolor and ink sketch of tulip "Schoon Solffer" copied from Bratholomeus Assteryn (1607-1667) found in Anna Pavord's book, The Tulip

Watercolor and ink sketch of tulip “Schoon Solffer” copied from Bartholomeus Assteryn (1607-1667) found in Anna Pavord’s book, The Tulip

Watercolor sketch of tulips

Watercolor sketch of tulips

Another watercolor sketch of tulips

Another watercolor sketch of tulips

Delft plate with windmills

Delft plate with windmills

"In the Month of July" showing a windmill on a polder waterway by Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriel, Rijksmuseum collection

“In the Month of July” showing a windmill on a polder waterway by Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriel, Rijksmuseum collection

Think of Holland and you think of windmills and the distinctive blue and white of Delft pottery.  We saw both by using Amsterdam as a base for daytrips to the town of Delft and to Zaanse Schans.

There are over 1150 working windmills in the Netherlands.  Zaanse Schans, a short bus ride (bus 391) from Amsterdam, is a “living history” destination with the opportunity for a close-up look at several old windmills.

The windmills of Zaanse Schans

The windmills of Zaanse Schans

IMAGE_AE5715E8-5031-4D7D-9A47-302B0EE2BD1E

IMAGE_9B25F0F4-AFAD-4690-9D01-38466588430F

IMAGE_0B2FA15D-23E9-4F85-9D1F-2BFBF621937C

By covering the blades with canvas, the windmill catches more wind.

By covering the blades with canvas, the windmill catches more wind.

IMAGE_1A08FCEB-A8E2-42B4-B77C-C8B5B2821743

IMAGE_B8B201F6-645C-4D92-84CF-50FAFC964538

We took the train from Amsterdam Centraal to Delft.  The train, filled with commuters going to the Hague, was a smooth, quiet ride.  We saw a few fields of yellow daffodils from the train windows.

The central train station in Amsterdam

The central train station in Amsterdam

Commuters reading the newspaper on the train

Commuters reading the newspaper on the train

Fields of yellow daffodils

Fields of yellow daffodils

Audrey and I both loved Delft.  On the day we visited, there was a general market in the main square, an outdoor flower market, and a flea market.  Our main activities there were strolling, looking, and nibbling.

"The Little Street" by Johannes Vermeer showing a street in Delft, from the Rijksmuseum collection

“The Little Street” by Johannes Vermeer showing a street in Delft, from the Rijksmuseum collection

 

Shop selling Delftware

Shop selling Delftware

Painter at one shop demonstrating the art of Delft painting

Craftsman at one shop demonstrating the art of Delft painting

Detailed painting

Detailed painting

Delftware with tulips

Delftware with tulips

At the Delft flower market

At the Delft flower market

Delft flower market

Delft flower market

So many cheese shops, Delft and everywhere in Holland

So many cheese shops, Delft and everywhere in Holland

Rhubarb for sale at a green grocer in Delft

Rhubarb for sale at a green grocer in Delft

Old windows, Delft

Old windows, Delft

Stone surface in the market square, Delft

Stone surface in the market square, Delft

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer with kaleidoscope effect.  Vermeer was born in Delft.

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer with kaleidoscope effect. Vermeer was born in Delft.

Another view from the train window on the ride back to Amsterdam

Another view from the train window on the ride back to Amsterdam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Park behind the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Park behind the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

Newly re-opened Rijksmuseum

Newly re-opened Rijksmuseum

After a renovation of nearly 10 years, the Rijksmuseum re-opened on April 13th, perfect timing for my sister’s and my stay in Amsterdam.  We were very impressed with this museum, light, airy, spacious — and with its collection of new and old masters.  With the re-opening comes wide open access to the works.  We were free to take photographs (no flash), and over 130,000 high-resolution images have been digitized and are available from the Rijksmuseum website for free, with no copyright restrictions.  This museum is truly a gift from the Dutch people to the world.

Covered thru-way where you can wait for the museum doors to open

Covered thru-way where you can wait for the museum doors to open

IMAGE_F73E3C24-CD60-4619-BBC2-730D6CC0114A

Come early to avoid long lines

Come early to avoid long lines

Rembrandt's Night Watch, one of the "must-see" paintings housed here

Rembrandt’s Night Watch, one of the “must-see” paintings housed here

Interior, Rijksmuseum

Interior, Rijksmuseum

Interior, Rijksmuseum

Interior, Rijksmuseum

One of several Vermeer paintings on exhibit

One of several Vermeer paintings on exhibit

Canal reflections, Amsterdam

Canal reflections, Amsterdam

Our room in a guesthouse overlooking the Prinsengracht Canal

Our room in a guesthouse overlooking the Prinsengracht Canal

For our five days in Amsterdam, my sister and I splurged on accommodations in a guesthouse on the Canal Ring.  These concentric canals — the Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht and their transverse canals — are the historic and cultural heart of Amsterdam, and in 2010 were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Our room had a balcony overlooking the busy Prinsengracht Canal, and we enjoyed watching the tour boat, bike, and pedestrian traffic that paraded past.  When we were not in our room, we spent hours just rambling along the canals, where we soon felt at home.

Canal life, Amsterdam

Canal life, Amsterdam

Houseboats lined the canals, but residents also used little boats to get around.  Tour boats passed by regularly.  It tickled us to think that when they saw us sitting on our balcony, they thought us Amsterdam residents.

Canal tour boat decorated for the investiture of King Willem-Alexander on April 30th

Canal tour boat decorated for the investiture of King Willem-Alexander on April 30th

Bikes and bridges

Bikes and bridges

The Bloemenmarkt (flower market) on the Singel Canal

The floating Bloemenmarkt (flower market) on the Singel Canal

A quiet morning in Amsterdam

A quiet morning in Amsterdam

Vase of tulips

Vase of tulips

Amsterdam is full of little decorative touches.  Everything was embellished — doors, windows, bridge posts, etc.

Plaque on one house showing tailors at work

Plaque on one house showing tailors at work

Animal plaques on the face of a building

Animal plaques on the face of a building

 

Skinny houses.  This was our guesthouse at 555 Prinsengracht

Skinny houses. This was our guesthouse at 555 Prinsengracht

The skinny buildings brought their own challenges for residents, especially while moving furniture.  We watched the drama unfold for these movers:

Hooks on the tops of the buildings, necessary for moving furniture into the skinny spaces

Hooks on the tops of the buildings, necessary for moving furniture into the skinny spaces

IMAGE_E315F1C8-8568-47FA-A667-4A11F2956E3FIMAGE_5A106982-BF14-4747-BDFA-DFCA7809DE0F

IMAGE_8F650E5C-1B80-419A-B1E3-10F2D257E1BC

IMAGE_1D823BBC-A6B6-4380-9BB3-15CB0D1453B2

IMAGE_CF2FDBD9-3C8D-47FF-B695-9F0E7831AB21

Zebra striped bicycle on a canal in Amsterdam

Zebra striped bicycle on a canal in Amsterdam

I am totally in love with the bike culture in the Netherlands.  It’s impressive.  EVERYONE bikes.  Older people, parents toting children (1, 2 or 3 on a single bike!), shoppers, men in business suits, women in high heels.  In Amsterdam, the bike lanes are more than twice as wide as the pedestrian sidewalks where you often have to walk single file.  And the Netherlands has an excellent system of paved paths between towns and cities.  I wish we could do half so well here in America.

Parked bikes, Haarlem

Parked bikes, Haarlem

Getting ready to leave the Grote Market with her purchases

Getting ready to leave the Grote Market with her purchases

Shopping at the market by bike

Shopping at the market by bike

Bike loaded with shopping

Bike loaded with shopping

Mother and daughter biking along a canal in Haarlem

Mother and daughter biking along a canal in Haarlem

Classy rider with heels

Classy rider with heels

Bikes parked along a narrow residential street in Haarlem

Bikes parked along a narrow residential street in Haarlem

My sister called this the latest version of the "covered wagon."

My sister called this the latest version of the “covered wagon.”

Double-decker bike parking near the train station in Delft

Double-decker bike parking near the train station in Delft

Dad with kids

Dad with kids

At the Delft flower market

At the Delft flower market

Innovative carrying solutions

Innovative carrying solutions

This older woman gave a graceful hop onto her bike -- you could tell she had executed this movement thousands of times in her life.

This older woman gave a graceful hop onto her bike — you could tell she had executed this movement thousands of times in her life.

Weekend bikers aon a trail near Zaanse Schaans (example of trail between towns)

Weekend bikers on a trail near Zaanse Schaans (example of trail between towns)

Decorative bike guard on a canal in Amsterdam

Decorative bike guard on a canal in Amsterdam