Get your brightest outfits ironed, folks, it’s Keukenhof time! If you haven’t been to Keukenhof before, you’ve probably still heard about ‘The Garden of Europe’ and its 7 million tulips, which only show their pretty faces for 7 weeks every year. There’s more to see at Keukenhof than tulips though. Here’s what we got up to in 2017 – we’re sure 2018 will also be a blast!
Yay! The smartphone tickets to Keukenhof worked a DREAM, meaning we got from the car to the tulips in about 5 minutes without having to line up. Winning.
2. Drop some hints in the Proposal Garden
This bit is pretty special. A whole place dripping in pink bouquets and cute little signs you can hold up for photos. You can then post them on the Facebook walls of people you fancy (or not).
3. Get the obligatory clog shots
Who doesn’t love a good clog shot? Keukenhof is the world’s best location to get as many as your iPhone can handle. Here’s one I call ‘The Clogfather.’ My dad loved pretending it was a car, and so did the tourist who climbed in after him and copied his moves. Bless.
4. Say hi to the hot herring man
Or is that a man, selling hot herring? Either way, he let me get some lovely shots of his fish. I never actually knew how nice beheaded fish can look in photos, but you have to agree, it looks quite delightful at Keukenhof.
5. Pose like the coolest gypsy ever
There’s some seriously cool stuff in the Oranje Nassau exhibition hall, including this awesome caravan! I won’t spoil the other stuff inside because it’s better to be surprised, but I will say this; there is a cow and an elephant. And they’re better than the ones at the zoo.
6. Take some time to smell the flowers
There are sooooooooo many flowers, your nostrils will be working overtime. Smell them. Get up close and breathe those babies in. Sometimes the smells are so amazing you practically get visions when the fragrances hit and it’s enough to make your eyeballs bulge. The hyacinth fields in particular smell like Ryan Gosling covered in glitter, sliding down a rainbow. Fact.
7. Catch some rays by the river
There are plenty of strategically placed seats at Keukenhof, including sun loungers by a pretty river speckled with cherry blossom. You’re not in any rush – top up that tan. Or if you’re anything like us sun-deprived Brits, just pray you’ll leave with slightly less transparent skin.
8. Get an original windmill photo
That windmill is the prettiest mill of all the mills in the land of mills and YOU need your own special photo of it. The thing is, it’s harder than you might think. Everyone wants an original photo and you’ll see people scrambling all over the place to get it. Challenge yourself and your group. Whoever gets the best shot buys lunch.
9. Run from the creepy doll ladies
You’ll be going about your business, maybe tucking into a sandwich, and up they’ll pop in your face like extras from a horror movie. They’re characters from some kind of Delftware collection, of course. Maybe your Dutch aunt has little blue people like this grinning out from the bottom of a few bowls or something. Whatever. They’re weird and their faces never change. But they do make for good photos.
10. Kiss a girl (and like it)
I definitely liked it. This Dutch beauty is kissing people all day at Keukenhof and sadly there’s no skip-the-line ticket to lock lips with her either. Wait your turn, pucker up and get in there.
11. Meet the miller
This handsome chap was standing at the top of that windmill, and can you blame him for looking so proud? Ask him anything about windmills. Anything. He is a total windmill oracle.
12. Watch the farmers in the tulip fields
Well, from one side of the windmill you’ll see the tulip fields, and from the other you’ll see unicyclists, herring and hot dog vendors, and hundreds of people taking it in turns to squeeze into a tiny yellow shoe.
13. Keep it wheel
I always thought I could eat my body weight in cheese, but I was wrong. This was one heavy wheel. Give yourself a cheesy workout on your own with this lot, or use that palette thing behind me to lift up 4 wheels (or more) with someone else. WHY? What do you mean, why? Why do you need a reason to lift cheese?
14. Watch the kids with the kids
There’s nothing cuter than watching a kid playing, whether that’s a human child or a baby goat. But watching them play TOGETHER? It’s a cuteness overload I wasn’t quite ready for. There’s a whole petting zoo here. It’s quite small. Just goats and rabbits really, maybe a pig, but hey, you’re here for the flowers.
15. Get amongst the orchids
The orchids in the Beatrix exhibition hall are always amazing, and this year was no exception. I particularly enjoyed the mirrors behind a whole row of them. Orchid you not (sorry), literally everyone was snapping orchid selfies in here!
So there you go. That’s just scratching the surface really, but it’s definitely not just about the tulips at Keukenhof.
Oh. Remember how we won at getting into Keukenhof with the skip-the-line smartphone tickets? What we didn’t win at, was remembering where the hell we parked the car. Took us a while to locate it in the field, (hint: there are numbers by each row, make a note of yours once you’ve parked) but what a day!
**All words and photos by Becky Wicks