It is that time of year....actually the only time of year to go and view the tulips in the Netherlands.
My first trip to see the tulips took place in May of 2000. My husband was working in London and had a football game to cover in Amsterdam. So I got my college roommate to go with me and we were on the search for the fields and fields of gorgeous tulips and the Keukenhof Gardens. We searched and searched. I swear the guide book said that you could see tulips into May, but however, I guess that did not really mean the end of May. There was nothing but empty fields and when we finally found the Keukenhof Gardens it was like showing up at Wally World. Closed down....done...not opening again until March of 2001. There wasn't even a guard we could harass to let us in and enjoy it all to ourselves. Probably because there was nothing to enjoy. It was literally 'dead'.
So I was very fortunate to have a second opportunity in the Spring of 2003 to try and see the tulips. This time...I did my research and actually found out what the best week to go was. Again my husband was working in Europe and my in-law's were living in Belgium, so I was staying with them. So on my husband's off day we all drove up to Amsterdam and visited the Keukenhof. This time it was mid-April. This time tulips were all around. This time it was perfect.
Keukenhof Gardens: outside of Amsterdam
I highly suggest you make this trip once in your life. It is gorgeous and if you have kids...it will be an experience they will never forget. I showed Sarah these pictures the other day and she was in awe! I can't wait to take her some day. (She was technically there, as I found out I was pregnant with her just a few days before, but you know what I mean!)
Not only is the Keukenhof amazing, Amsterdam is a joy of a city as well. It is gorgeous with the canals and everything is easily accessible by walking or bike. It gets stereotyped so much for it's red light district and "coffee shops", but it is truly a great city and very kid friendly. I would for sure do the Anne Frank house. Older kids will especially get something out of it. It is truly amazing to see how her and her family lived and truly amazing they did for so long. Very moving. Also...the Van Gogh museum is great. There is good shopping, there is a Hard Rock Cafe if you need a break from European food and need a nacho fix, and there are even boats you can take out on the canals. Amsterdam and the area surrounding is so pretty and should be added to any one's European travel plans...especially in April!