Keukenhof, Part Two: The Flower Parade

The day we chose for our Keukenhof visit happened to be the Saturday of the yearly Flower Parade.  The parade covers a 40 kilometer route from Noordwijk to Haarlem, passing Keukenhof at around 3:30 in the afternoon.  The following day, the floats are all on display in Haarlem.

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It’s Captain Stubing!

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Singapore Airlines sponsored a float.

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“I can’t see!  Can you see?  I can’t see a thing!”

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Floral yoga?

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Nope.  Aerobics.

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DJing from inside a floral pod.

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More nautical themed floral design.

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…but this one had mock surfers.

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There were four or five marching bands in the parade.

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Better visibility than the other car, but man these flowers are heavy!

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Dancing to the groovy sounds of the Beach Boys.  I’m not really sure why.

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This was the ‘please give us money’ float.  I missed the giant floral piggy, alas.

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The energy company’s float.

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Another marching band.

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This one looked a bit like it was going to destroy us all.

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I think this was supposed to represent farming?

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Hey hey, it’s (not quite) the Beatles!

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Cooking with flowers!

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Who doesn’t love a good marching band?

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I think I’m going to start using this next picture whenever someone asks me what kind of plugs are used in Germany.  These look just like the charging plug for my phone.  Except, you know, giant and made of flowers.

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Faces!  Very Easter-Island-y.

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This school bus was being eaten by a shark.  Again, I don’t really know why.

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The purple and white cow was riding a motorcycle.  I couldn’t get a better shot of the whole float though.

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One of the last floats in the parade was actually a stage with a live band.

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Have you ever seen the Keukenhof Flower Parade?

Keukenhof, Part One: The Park

The Tulip Festival in Holland has long been a big item on my Geographic To-Do list.  Jenny also wanted to see the Tulips, so on the first Friday in May, we all piled into Robert’s car and headed up to Keukenhof, about thirty-five kilometers from Amsterdam.

Keukenhof is the world’s second largest flower garden, only exceeded by Dubai Miracle Garden.  The park is only open for about eight weeks each year, typically from mid-March to late May.  During those eight weeks, Keukenhof sees around 800,000 visitors.

When we arrived, we were greeted by staff members handing out maps in traditional dresses.

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At least I think these are traditional dresses.  When I tried to research “traditional Dutch dresses,”  I kept finding lots of things with pointy hats.  This girl is definitely not wearing a pointy hat.

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I don’t really have too much to say about the flowers in Keukenhof.  I took a tremendous amount of pictures, but I’ll try not to overwhelm you with flowers.

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Needless to say, it was really colorful.

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Really, really colorful.

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We arrived a week or two too late to see the giant colorful fields of tulips that we were hoping for.  Warmer weather broke early this year, and we couldn’t visit in time to see the best blooms.

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That poor timing didn’t make the flowers we did see any less spectacular, though.

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The problem with going to a place like Keukenhof on the busiest weekend of its year, the weekend of the flower parade, is that everyone has basically the same idea.  To get any of the pictures I posted above, I had to wade through a whole lot of this:

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And, for some odd reason, weird sculpted fish.

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Flowers and people, as far as the eye can see!

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In order to get flowers without people, you have to get really  close to the flowers…

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Some of the people had very little courtesy.   They tromped through other people’s pictures, and in some cases damaged the flowers themselves.

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These signs?  Yeah, they were completely useless.

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I did my best to stay off the grass most of the time, because they gave us paved walkways that went right up to giant banks of flowers.

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By lunchtime, this is what the Keukenhof crowd levels looked like.

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This is some sort of art-deco tree.  I have no further comment.

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Some people didn’t think the flowers were pretty enough as-is, and made their own versions.

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There were some indoor exhibits about the history of the tulip, the planting methods used by Keukenhof, and so forth.  I thought this illustration of the worth of tulips was interesting.

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I liked these white ones quite a lot.

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And also these dark red ones.

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This picture and the one before it are taken from the exact same place.  This one just shows you all the crowds walking through it as well.

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Keukenhof is broken into sections.  There’s a historical garden, an English garden, an Asian garden, and so forth.

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One area of the historical garden has a sun-dial.  It was actually quite accurate.

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There were several picturesque fountains around the park.

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The carts you see on the opposite of this fountain?  Waffles and hot dogs, basically.   The waffle was delicious.

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Tulip-shaped candy pops?  Check!

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Giant windmill you can climb?  Check!  I skipped this one because of the crowds.

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On our way out, we passed some wooden busts of composers that I thought were nifty.  This one is Chopin.

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This one is Brahms.  Insert your own Brahms Lullaby/”sawing logs” joke here.

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And last but not least:  Orchids!

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Have you ever been to Keukenhof for the yearly Tulip Festival?