The Dazzling Keukenhof Gardens on 14Apr2014

10010694_10152324154439494_1968114574386018393_o

2 things wife wanted to do was to cycle in amsterdam & see the tulips at keukenhof gardens, hence the “detour” from the initial vacation plan of lake como & cinque terre. 🙂

we had the holland pass so we used the gold pass for entry to keukenhof gardens (cost 15euros). we used a silver pass for the bus return from schipol airport to keukenhof (cost 9euros). for the journey from amsterdam central to schipol we had to pay 4euros as it was not covered by the holland pass. if you do not have holland pass, you can get a combi ticket here including return from amsterdam central & entry to keukenhof for 28euros.

keukenhof is located in lisse and used to be the part of the the estate of teylingen castle.  games were hunted & food collected for the kitchens of the castle, hence keukenhof or kitchen courtyard in dutch. in 1857 the same architect who designed vondelpark, redesigned the castle gardens in english landscape style, the basis for keukenhof today. there is wifi throughout the gardens & you can download the map here.

1491404_10152324154584494_1619558432335781847_o10001141_10152324154609494_6870061805670920859_o 10003841_10152324154699494_8980318293973010180_o

10003936_10152324208294494_844549599903163559_n 10010156_10152324154879494_2861123729725982064_o 10258868_10152324154884494_6720150756093696445_o

tulips galore! 🙂

10001060_10152324155119494_6349223419015359546_o 739980_10152324155124494_136405312973249447_o 10271389_10152324155224494_842057631764006474_o 1614236_10152324155484494_7706630115468208641_o 10012075_10152324155469494_711312121734909555_o 1116126_10152324156019494_2387449843793534145_o 1502891_10152324156069494_2888144509955405673_o1973952_10152324156379494_3657093105507262807_o10011808_10152324156484494_1527914064701039584_o 10257431_10152324156629494_474461201624268161_o 1398123_10152324157074494_9053284647028024686_o 1973400_10152324157174494_712403490240528705_o 1956877_10152324157324494_4390928423311559882_o 10013482_10152324157469494_4812909756787090674_o

flowers were mostly in full bloom and it was a wonderful stroll through the garden. very pleasant indeed. 🙂

1979962_10152324157449494_1470062341815761313_o 1796905_10152324158314494_3956684801797591382_o 1980081_10152324208059494_6344168547851811484_o 1973781_10152324208129494_4626466393959763582_o

floral art. 🙂

10264070_10152324157564494_9007116004039798518_o 1277752_10152324157789494_6230438069410845159_o 1801140_10152324157774494_7266530276112006582_o 10258680_10152324158289494_4960030152666608316_o

sakuras. quite pretty these, but of course nothing could compare with seeing sakuras in kyoto or tokyo. 🙂

1116160_10152324158774494_1336341812136941219_o 10264231_10152324159229494_721334408663903420_o 10264170_10152324159194494_1508266347786034865_o

10265440_10152324160299494_8054472473679887779_o 1980081_10152324208059494_6344168547851811484_o 1979290_10152324161264494_4694955522168463893_o 10269303_10152324161324494_8483296566816762400_o

there was an animal pen.

10256670_10152324161424494_7264271184260834671_o 10269047_10152324161569494_21218678877618617_o 10256614_10152324161614494_2750283464990532671_o 920018_10152324161654494_5984812188920496513_o 10269201_10152324162229494_4879311589163227092_o 1966174_10152324162339494_668193052270916864_o 736144_10152324162239494_491995898939640256_o 10014129_10152324162824494_8489715076114964709_o 1974102_10152324162819494_3135737160635632888_o 1597049_10152324162829494_8552048483693300192_o

fun time for the children, and adults too!

10001157_10152324163029494_1894278971887202253_o 1493354_10152324163054494_2388286247868304531_o 10003823_10152324163049494_191249325642484268_o

such beauty! 🙂

1962143_10152324163339494_7719732654879106286_o 1556445_10152324163379494_9173515927126708875_o 1836634_10152324163374494_5763490590371558691_o 10010670_10152324163824494_1109040333191114391_o

keukenhof was really beautiful. a very enjoyable day. we visited villa carlotta later when we visited tremezzo in lake como, and that was extremely beautiful too, and villa carlotta gardens was in a landscaped natural terrain setting, not garden plots, so it had added attraction. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Zaanse Schans Windmill Country on 13Apr2014

10154992_10152322766529494_5972594795960691374_n

when i think of netherland 2 things came to mind – tulips & windmills! maybe milkmaids?

zaanse schans is the beautiful windmill country. the train station at koog-zaandijk is just 4 stops 17minutes from amsterdam central, & then a 15mins walk to zaanse schans village.

the zaan region used to be 1 of western europe’s oldest industrial area and boasted some 600 active windmills & factories powered by wind in the heydays in 18th & 19th century. it was also the centre of shipbuilding in the 17th century during the dutch golden age.

now there are some 10 working windmills in zaanse schans. though the windmills were relocated here piece by piece, today zaanse schans is a living & working community, with clog- and cheese-making, shops, boutiques, stunning buildings & meadow landscape.

read more about zaanse schans here.

10151232_10152322766799494_5246590538714103131_n 10151336_10152322766939494_7863278132538297429_n 10253896_10152322766999494_2892787340597417816_n 10257382_10152322767094494_5271313283940225230_o 964232_10152322767234494_7574517096297015157_o 1544378_10152322767294494_4558087477816582997_n 10153632_10152322767384494_4397902922724659252_n

we had planned to cycle at zaanse schans. there is what appears to be a good cycling guide and cycle routes/map. it indicated that one could rent a bicycle at zaandam station. i arrived amsterdam on a sunday & we took the train from amsterdam central to zaandam but was unable to locate the bike rental. we asked around in the station & some staff said the rental shop was closed on sunday, which was odd since it should really be catering to the tourist crowd so why closed on sunday?

anyhow we did not have much time as we had only 2 more days in amsterdam & we had purchased the holland pass & would be using the pass for keukenhoff gardens & the museums & canal cruise & also planning to cycle to waterland. so we decided to just take a bus from zaandam station to zaanse schans & skip the cycling.

1609770_10152322767454494_8276641769516014816_n 1598027_10152322767519494_7093951691410788578_o 1898821_10152322767774494_5077774461009761213_o 10153688_10152322768074494_2558381583607998812_n 10150593_10152322768149494_5093608505702936470_n 859839_10152322768229494_2869547218983391415_o 10006576_10152322768319494_5044593719053216010_n 1961009_10152322768359494_5967887956511746718_o

zaanse schans village was idyllic as described in the guides & the windmills along the river were magnificent. we had a very pleasant stroll & if we had more time & were able to locate the bike rentals it would be quite fun to cycle in the surrounding meadows.

10153732_10152322768634494_374091804218501940_n 10171125_10152322768724494_1122582107172122114_n1230006_10152322768524494_8260542062472932812_n

we wondered into a cheese shop & factory & the cheese were just fantastic. every cheese we tried were really nice & we bought 3 including a goat cheese. 🙂

we came by the train route (the bus we took from zaandam stopped at near the koog-zaandijk train station as the one that stopped nearer was a 1 hr wait). on the return trip, we took bus 391 which stopped right across the bridge on the other side of the river from the village. it was a 40mins ride back to amsterdam central.

though regrettably we did not get to cycle, it was still quite a wonderful day & we were also looking forward to dinner at beulings (& indeed we had the most wonderful dinner) which we had made prior reservations before the trip. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy