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As part of an epic road trip from Amsterdam to Paris we planned on stopping in Keukenhof.  It is only open 2 month a year as it is an expo on all Dutch bulbs, mostly Tulips.  We have had family and friends come here and seen may pictures on social media so we were excited about the pit stop.

Driving South from Amsterdam you find yourself quickly in some of the greenest farm country in the world.  Old and new windmills begin to appear all over on the horizon.  About 30 minutes from leaving the car rental place we leave the highway and start to see fields and fields of patchwork colors.  Commercial tulip fields as far as the eye can see.  A few minutes later we arrive at Keukenhof.

Since 1950 the park has been used as an independent showcase of Dutch flowering bulbs.  Over 7 million bulbs are planted each year, not to mention the trees and other flowering plants.  The park besides being a tourist attraction is a living catalogue of plants that can be ordered and shipped all over the world.  At the time of writing this post our tulip bulbs had not yet arrived as it is still summer and bulbs are shipped in the fall.

We only had a few hours here but one could spend a full day.  Besides the rows and rows of flowers here are some things that were highlights for our kids:

  • Petting Zoo
  • Kiosk that sold hot stroopwaffles, Belgian waffles and dutch hot chocolate
  • Climbing into a working windmill that overlooked the grounds and nearby commercial tulip fields
  • taking pictures of everything on their ipods
  • Keukenhof has a kids scavenger hunt that 2 out of 3 of our kids liked

The best way to show how cool it was is with pictures.  We would go back 100 times as it was so beautiful and enjoyable to be in the park.



One Hour in Florence

For our 10th Anniversary we booked a flight from the US to Rome and back from Paris.  We spent 4-5 days in each of the bookend cities but the middle of the trip had 3 nights in 3 different cities as part of an epic road, rail and plane journey to Paris.  Day 1 of this trip found us renting a car at a Rome train station.  We needed to be at our rental house in Vernazza in the Cinque Terra at 3.  By our calculations we had about an hour to spend somewhere along the way.  Based on the map it was a battle between Pisa and Florence.  Pisa never really had a chance since all we knew about it was a leaning tower.  We know there is more to Pisa than this but I digress.

Piazza Della Signoria you can see a replica of the statue of David

Garage Ponte Vecchio if you need to park a car in a pinch in Old Florence this is the place for you

After 3 plus hours of driving through the Italian countryside we find out selves at Garage Ponte Vecchio. 20 Euros to park all day or in our case 20 Euros for the hour.  Worth it!  We are now on the clock.  We walk across the Ponte Vecchio, window shopping along the way.  As we leave the bridge we look for a quick lunch.  A deli is selling Panni and Waffles.  While the Waffle is more of a Belgian treat it hit the spot.  We walked around the square and the Duomo as we ate our lunch.  I will be first to tell you 1 hour is not enough time to spend here if you have just an hour it can be done.  We only saw the outside of the Duomo and the outside of the Baptistry.  Both were amazing, we will be back to see the inside of each building not to mention all the museums and good food that we missed.  From here we shopped our way back to the Ponte Vecchio.  After we crossed the bridge we found a pastry shop.  After a quick stop here we were back on the road racing toward Vernazza and the best Focaccia we have ever had…