LookNookHook Travels to Amsterdam, Netherlands (Part 2)
Besides taking in the beautiful sights and walking along the streets of Amsterdam, what else is there to do while you’re there? Why, make a trip down to Keukenhof of course!!! That is, if you’re visiting during the right season. Keukenhof, also widely known as ‘Garden of Europe’ is the world’s second largest flower garden (after Dubai Miracle Garden). It’s only open from late March to mid May every year. You will not however, regret making a trip there during that time. The flowers are so lovely, it was truly worth our while.
Located at Lisse in the Netherlands, there are approximately 7 million lower bulbs are planted annually in the park, which covers an area of 32 hectares. You can easily spend more than half a day there. We rented a car for the day, so we could drive down to Keukenhof and then drive around and explore the area after. The drive from Amsterdam to Keukenhof was under an hour if i remember correctly, and there was plenty of parking onsite. If driving is not an option for you, you can either walk in to one of those shops selling tickets and tours to various tourist attractions around the Netherlands (plenty near centraal station) or book online at viator.com in advance. They also provide transport if you wish to make it an all-inclusive tour. They can be a little costly, but it would be one less thing to worry about.
It was fairly easy to buy a local data SIM card to use while we were there, so we had Google Maps to lean on for the drive down to Keukenhof. Otherwise, most places in Amsterdam actually have free wifi. Be it the cafes and restaurants or the museums, almost all the places had good and fast-speed wifi available. Another reason to love Amsterdam!
Warning, this post is going to be picture heavy – so be prepared. 🙂 … and enjoy!
We took our time walking around, enjoying the beautiful weather and the lovely flowers. I was reluctant to leave, but we had another place to go to for the day before we returned the rental car so off we went in search of Haarlem – our next destination.
Haarlem is a lovely historical city, located on the river Spaarne at no more than 20 kilometres from Amsterdam. It boasts a magnificent old centre with plenty of monumental buildings. The city was home to several first class Dutch painters, including Frans Hals, so there’s a lot of art to go around. Haarlem’s centre undisputably offers a colorful mix of large chain stores, specialty shops, boutiques and art galleries. And yes, the famous New York City neighbourhood of Harlem is named after this once powerful Dutch city.
We didn’t have a lot of time, so we just had lunch at the Grand Cafe Brinkmann (recommended! the food was delicious) in Haarlem’s main market square (Grote Markt), enjoyed some people watching and just simply let our legs wander in the area before we had to start making the drive back to Amsterdam to return the car. There are actually several shops and museums in the area but since time was not on our side, we had to give that a miss. If i do return to Amsterdam again, i’ll definitely dedicate a day or two to really explore Haarlem in greater detail.
This fresh mint tea was divine! Just fresh mint leaves dunked in hot water really… but it was SO refreshing! I loved it!
Next stop – Paris, the City of Love! Stay tuned for more…