Easter weekend and an urge to travel made us pack our bags and set off to Amsterdam! Unlike most of our previous trips, we “didn’t” plan much. We vaguely had an idea though, of what we wanted to see in the city. No doubt that the city has some of the best and unique museums, but our agenda this time was to spend less time in the museums and to explore more and to do something different.
I guess the “do-differently” attitude set its mark first with our almost 0 pre-planning :) However,as a last thing I did find some information about the “Holland Pass“.
The Holland Pass is a wonderful scheme and comes in 3 variations : HP 2, HP 5 and HP 7. Each of this varies in the price, ofcourse, and also in the number of tickets which are indicated in the names. These tickets can be exchanged at some of the museums and attractions ; can be used to get a fast-track entry in some of the crowded museums or can also be used in exchange for a day’s ticket for local city transport! Every scheme comes with a Discount card – this comes in handy when you like to avail discounts in souvenir stores or some of the suggested restaurants. A 300 page city guide is also given to us along with this Holland Pass!
[Photo courtesy: Holland Pass official website]
[NOTE:This pass is valid through out Holland and is not confined to Amsterdam alone! (Self-explanatory with its name, isn’t it? :) )]
With this much of basic info at our finger tips, we planned our 4 day vacation during the 2.5 hr train journey from Germany to Amsterdam Schiphol Station!
Here is what we planned:
- Day 1: A tour to the World famous Tulip Gardens – Kuekenhof.
- Day 2: Den Haag beach and surroundings
- Day 3 & 4: Amsterdam City sight-seeing.
Soon after we reached Schiphol, we enquired about where we could take the bus to Kuekenhof. We had bought our Kuekenhof tickets online and this being a combo ticket for the transport (to & fro) and the garden entry, we dint have much to bother about!
We thought it would be bright and sunny and never carried warm clothes except for a jacket. But it turned out to be very chilly and cloudy! People were dressed in winter clothes and we were in summer casuals :) I dint want to show how cold I felt , so every time when my husband checked with me , I said I never felt cold and that I was loving it!! YEAH RIGHT!!!
Call it the excitement to see a zillion Tulips or the reminiscence of the movie Silsila crossing my mind, I felt energized and ready to rock ‘n’ roll!
Day 1: Keukenhof Gardens
“Dekha ek khwab to ye silsiley hue…” Yes… I had dreamed of visiting this place too.. To go running in the middle of the garden and to sing songs and just be me :)
The cold weather would surely not permit me to do all this!! Nevertheless, it surely looked promising!! The colors of the tulips and the light breeze blowing over my face as I entered the garden really turned me on.
The place is like a wonderland – with so much freshness and life everywhere you see and an enchanting aura which embraced me as soon as I entered!
Usually, Kuekenhof gardens is open during March 21 to May 21 (around) and has travelers from all over the world coming over. However, the flowers are their best (full bloom I mean) during mid April. Hence, in my opinion, we witnessed about 60% of the flowers’ best form. We were a bit disappointed because of this.
Our disappointment was soon overtaken by joy with our visit to the Glass house in the middle of the garden. Here, the flowers were their best! Full bloom, colorful and vibrant! Here is when my husband and I parted – only to take our own set of photos :)
We easily spent about 3 hrs here taking photos and videos of the flowers and experimenting our photo-taking skills each time :) Sometimes, I would take photos and show it to him , he would get inspired and take more photos using his SLR . We did this turn-by-turn and in a competitive manner. Surely, SLR was the winner :)
There is also a Orchids collection here which is kept in an indoor location – again like a glass house. Starting from the entrance till the exit, you will be simply awestruck looking at the variety and the arrangements. I have to mention how much I loved the scented air in the hall! It was marvelous and surely a must see!
A total of 6+ hrs and we managed to see most part of the Tulip garden- including the flower field where the famous song from Silsila was shot.
We boarded the shuttle and set our journey towards the hotel.
A long day it was!! All I needed at this point was some good food and a good night’s sleep!
Photo Credit : Ravichander – My husband :) (Learnt to give credit for his hard work :) )