From the very first time I saw overhead photos of kaleidoscopic flower fields blooming in The Netherlands, I knew I wanted to see it for myself. In fact, committing to a springtime visit to view the flowers was one of our first travel priorities after moving to Europe.
In actuality, both Belgium and The Netherlands are awash in flowers this time of year. They’re planted along sidewalks, in parks of all sizes and in flower boxes on windowsills. They grow wild in fields and ditches, like someone took a handful of seeds and let them go in the wind.
We passed on the bird’s-eye view helicopter ride and behind-the-scenes farm tour. Instead, we bought tickets to visit Keukenhof, one of the world’s largest gardens. It is open just a couple months out of the year to showcase Holland’s spectacular flowers, which seem to come in every color, variety, shape and design.
As luck would have it, we somehow chose to visit on the same day the rest of Europe showed up. People were crushed shoulder-to-shoulder throughout the entire park; bathroom and concession lines stretched with nearly an hour wait. The only thing I can think to compare it to is Disney, only we were all hustling for photos of full pink tulips, fragrant purple hyacinths and vibrant blue orchids instead of itching for roller coaster rides and a hug from Mickey Mouse.
These flowers are no joke, though. They are absolutely stunning. The crowds were madness, but the flower gardens were downright gorgeous.
I am appreciative to some friends who visited earlier in the week and advised we walk along the flower fields outside the park. It was a much-needed breather after all the people and by far my favorite part of the day.
Sometimes pictures can be deceptive, but in this case, the pictures I saw many years ago fairly depicted reality. Those eye-popping, colorful flowers planted in perfectly straight rows you see in photos are exactly what I saw with my own eyes.
I give this Life List item two very enthusiastic thumbs up!