ItchyFeetTraveler

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.
Saint Augustine
Nature’s Canvas in Bloom at Keukenhof Gardens
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Anytime during the nine week opening is a good time to visit the gardens since each period has its own blooms. Crocuses, narcissus and hyacinths are the earliest bloomers followed by early tulips then late tulips. During this period you are also likely to see azaleas and other spring flowering shrubs. No matter where you point your camera, you’ll find breathtaking beauty awaiting you.

With so much natural beauty, the garden is a prized site for both proposals and wedding photographs. Keukenhof estimates that every day somebody proposes on “Bride’s Lane” located near the windmill on the northwestern edge of the park. To capture nuptial memories with pictures, Keukenhof grants free garden access for the bride, groom,
photographer and bridesmaids. The rest of the wedding party may join them, but must pay standard admission.

Keukenhof also offers something for the child in all of us.  Both young and older visitors will enjoy navigating the path leading to the elevated viewing stand located somewhere in the seven foot tall perfectly manicured maze. After climbing the steps and looking out over the maze to trace your circuitous route to the viewing stand, you can then plot an exit route. Once out of the maze, follow the path to the elevated observation point to catch a beautiful view of the ribbons of flowers in the nearby bulb fields.

Continuing on the path toward the huge Dutch windmill, you should make a quick stop on the bridge that crosses one of canals to take a picture of the windmill. Climb the steps to the upper platform of the windmill then walk around the outside to get a different view of the park. On your way down, you’ll get a unique perspective and tutorial on how the windmill works.

Before stopping at the souvenir shop to pick up post cards and other must have items, exercise your youthful exuberance and sit inside the big yellow wooden shoe for a photo-op.

Touring Keukenhof Gardens takes about five hours although it would be wise to plan on spending the entire day to see the gardens and displays at a more leisurely pace. To rest and refuel, you can take a break for a full meal or just light refreshments at one of the park’s four restaurants. All offer the option of inside or alfresco dining.  Many visitors choose to relax on one of the many benches along the garden pathways or just grab a spot on the grass in the special picnic areas.

You don’t need to be a gardening or photography expert like Elizabeth Murray to enjoy this garden. Nature’s art as painted on the Keukenhof Garden canvas is one that can be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates beauty in wide open spaces.

Getting to Keukenhof Gardens on your own is easy using public transportation. From Amsterdam’s Centraal Station, take the train to the Leiden about an hour’s ride away.  Train service is also available from Rotterdam and Utrecht. As soon as you exit the train station at Leiden, you will see the Keukenhof Express Bus Number 54. The bus departs every half hour and takes approximately 30 minutes to reach Keukenhof Gardens.

If you have a long daytime layover at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport and want some fresh air, bus number 58 will take you directly to Keukenhof from the airport. Carry-on bags can be stored at Hoofdingang entrance to Keukenhof.

Keukenhof Gardens Visitor Information
http://www.keukenhof.nl/

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