April, 2015 I woke up this morning at about 6:30am because the early bird catches…
This morning, I met Sally at the bikes and after a quick stop at Albert Heijn for some picnic snacks, we cycled over to Centraal. There we met Rebecka, Line, and Lucinda, and began our epic adventure day! We rolled our bikes into the station and to the ticket machines. Sally informed us we were to train to a place called Voorhout. She did not know how to get there, just that we had to. I googled it, and it showed we had to train to Haarlem and then transfer to a Voorhout train. We bought the tickets and rushed down the platform to the train. There is nothing more awkward than walking a bike through a train station. Scratch that. There is nothing more awkward than taking a bike up an escalator in a train station.
Cut to five foreigners on a train gasping and squealing at the sight of every tulip field we past.
We arrived in Voorhout and were almost immediately lost. We tried to find the signs that were to guide us along the path, but we couldn’t find any. Finally, we consulted a map. Once we were on our way, we knew we were on the right path, because there were massive tulip fields everywhere. Tulips, tulips, tulips. What a beautiful and totally frivolous crop to grow. I love it. We cycled past fields and fields of them. We cycled past daffodils too, and then hyacinths, hyacinths, hyacinths. The smell of these flowers is intoxicating and almost suffocating. I couldn’t believe there were fields and fields of them.
We were lost again. And then again. The signs we were looking for were few and far between, and if we saw one, the numbers were so unsystematic, we had to keep referring to our guide to remember which number we were looking for next. The path was kind of a nightmare.
We cycled past the huge fields of Keukenhof and saw a guy surfing in the canals! He was riding a wakeboard and held onto a rope that was being wound in by a huge crank. A guy on a nearby ladder took epic photos of this guy wake boarding through tulips with windmills in the background. Oh Holland…
It was time for lunch, so we found a nice little green spot next to the tulip fields and spread out our picnic. It was nice to sit in the sun, smell the flowers, eat our snacks, and drink beer. And what lovely company with whom I shared this moment. We soon continued our cycling. I had to make a few executive decisions because at the rate we were going— stopping along the way to take pictures of/in front of/with every single tulip field we went by— we weren’t going to be done until midnight. We ditched the bicycle pathway and cut back towards Voorhout. We bicycled right past many tulip fields on the way, but one hyacinth field in particular had “photoshoot” written all over it! We took photos and videos in the fields, and I could have passed out from the smell. It was phenomenal.
After six hours of cycling through tulip fields, we had become desensitized to their beauty and on the train home, not one of us made a peep as we trained by the multitude of flowers. We were coming up to Haarlem and Line suggested we have dinner there! We hopped on our bikes and trained to the city centre. We found a patio square in the sun, near a cathedral and a carnival, and declared it the perfect place for dinner. I had a delicious sandwich and a well deserved glass of wine. After dinner, we walked over to the ferris wheel to inquire about prices. It was only €2 for a ride. How could we not. We rode that ferris wheel as the sun went down over the cathedral. It was the perfect end to the perfect day.