Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Trespassing Through the Tulips. A Visit to Keukenhof.

Word association game time.  When I say "Holland" what's the first thing that comes to your mind.  I'm assuming 99% of you thought of tulips, maybe the other 1% of you thought of clogs.  Well this post is about the 99%. If you want to read about our clog experiences click here.

Keukenhof Collage
Main Entrance
With our Netherlands days windmilling down, we knew it was now or never time if we wanted to try to see some tulips.  So on Saturday, April 27th we embarked on a journey from Oss to Keukenhof, THE PLACE to see tulips in the Netherlands.  The park is "32 hectares" big? wide? long? (what the heck is a hectare?)  Anyway, it's big, and you can totally get lost if you don't have a map.  Speaking of maps!

KEUKENHOF PROTIP:  Save yourself €4. Visit the Keukenhof website and print (or download to your phone) a park map before you go.  There are no free maps in the park.  

I broke down and shelled out the €4 for the 2013 Park Guide.  But not without having some fun and creating some quality footage for this DannyZ clip.

Sometimes you just need to stop and smell the small change.

Keukenhof map...for free

Photo Credit: John "Throat Puncher" Fay
Can you spot the trespassers?
You may be wondering what all those colored lines surround the park represented.  Well, my friends, they are the tulip fields. We noticed hords of people meandering through the fields from our windy perch on the windmill.  Our immediate reaction was obviously "We want to go to there."  But how?  We were looking for access when we found ourselves at the "Entrance Extra" gate and overheard a pair of tourists asking a park worker how to get to the fields.  Her response was something like it's not encouraged; people shouldn't go; it's disrespectful to the farmer; and people can damage the crop. So we did what any other upstanding tourist would do; we went to the fields.  

It was worth not heeding the advice of the park worker; the fields were amazing, and only parts were in full bloom.  We stayed and respectfully took pictures for about 15 minutes before the farmer appeared shouting in Dutch with a pitch fork, stabbing our friend.  Well, that's how I pictured it going down.  The farmer actually just appeared out of nowhere and quietly ushered us off his land.  
So freakin' Dutch #SFD.  See the windmill behind the trespassers?
Keepin' it classy
We left the fields and returned to the park's "Entrance Extra," and panicked for a moment   Did we need to get a hand stamp or something?  Rut Ro.  We played it cool and handed our ticket to the gate worker.  Confused, she says that our tickets were already scanned.  Not wanting to reveal our delinquent behavior, Vicki quickly responded "Oh, we just went out to look at the..... road?" This gem got us back in the park and hours of laughs. Feel free to use that line if you decide to trespass through the tulips and want to get back into the park.

KEUKENHOF PROTIP: Access the actual tulip fields from  LOOSTERWEG NOORD.  The access point is about a 5 minute walk from the "Entrance Extra" of Keukenhof.  It's technically trespassing on a farmers private land, so be respectful and DON'T TRAMPLE THE CROP.  

Trespassing with pram
Testing the farmer's fence for an electrical charge.
Speaking of tickets, here's a short confused rant.  We bought a "Combiticket" online.  Still questioning the benefit of this ticket.  It did allow us direct access into the park without having to queue to buy tickets.  However, the price included a roundtrip bus ride, the "Keukenhof Express" from Schiphol.  According to (a great journey planning site for the Netherlands BTW) A one way bus trip to Keukenhof from Schiphol costs €3.68 (€7.36 RT).  The price of the combiticket is €22.50 for adults (€12.50 kids 4-11).  A regular adult ticket without transport is €15. So if you do the math the "Keukenhof Express" costs €7.50.  They say the combiticket is the best "deal," but I'm not sure.  Maybe I'm missing something, or maybe I'm just a cheapskate.  

Whichever ticket you get, Keukenhof is totally worth it.  You could spend hours traversing the 15 kilometers of foothpaths snapping pictures. Be sure to have plenty of space on your camera's memory card too because every part of the park is like a postcard picture. You can also check in on facebook using the park's free WiFi.   

KEUKENHOF PROTIP: Don't rely on the park's WiFi to arrange a meeting place for your friend who is coming from Hoofddorp.  It's spotty.

We really enjoyed our day and would absolutely recommend a visit to Keukenhof.  Thanks for reading.

You're welcome.
Have you visited Keukenhof?  Did you trespass in the fields? Did you get pitchforked?

Have you heard about windmilling?

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