Keukenhof is Paradise

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written Thursday 15 April 2004

Keukenhof is Paradise

So, the parents flew over from the US for a week. This being April, we had to start with flowers.

This post is about our first day roaming, near the North Sea between Haarlem and Den Haag, and our discovery of paradise.

Now, everyone's heard of the Netherlands' tulips. Well, I'm here to tell you: the springtime here is for real, and not just tulips. It's beyond description, so I won't much try to describe--I'll give you photos and you can decide for yourself. This post will take a while to download. And some of the photos are available by clicking where you see "(large format here.)" Now, these pictures are large, and if you click for them, you're on your own with download time.

We lunch semi-outdoors in Haarlem, and cruise south. We stop at the first flower field we come to. I click away on my fully charged camera, and the parents burn film and the digital camera, too. Pretty soon we see that it's hopeless--but on we click.

This handsome guy from whom I stole half my genes thought this field was already worth the long trip. HA--they hadn't seen anything yet.

The space between where we abandoned the car in delight and where the church steeple rises is filled with row after row of flowers. You can get this picture in large format here (you know to right-click the downloaded picture, to capture it to your computer, right?)

The farmer didn't seem to mind our wandering though his livelihood.

Wherever you drive along the most ordinary roads, the fields just go on and on like this. (Large Format here.)

...and on and on...

...and on.

After a half hour or so of looking up close, looking across the fields, coming across yet more fields, and the aromas--OH, the aromas--it was, well, intoxicating. You wanted to run to the next fields around the corner, but also you didn't want to leave the one your were in. But there was much more to see.

...I say...mama...mama...there's MUCH MORE TO SEE. Come on, come on!

I had heard of this place called Keukenhof. The traffic toward it was heavy, and I began to fear the theme-park worst. Ha.

Keukenhof is paradise.

It's paradise.

(large format here.)

(large format here.)

(large format here.)

(large format here.)

I can't remember when I have fallen in love with a place so rapidly and irrevocably as I fell in love with Keukenhof. I could show you dozens more photographs, but it just wouldn't do. I have never seen a place so full of obviously experienced photographers--not even at a shuttle launch or an air show--and most of them walked away from each shot knowing they had not captured it. Sooner or later, a photographer comes to realize that the very best, most special shots are precisely the ones that cannot be had.

But it's important to try. So we continue...

(large format here.)


(large format here.)

You have to take a break from it. I walked through the enormous indoor orchid exhibit, simply for a change of scale. This gentleman from whom I stole half my genes communed with feathered ones. And mama...where in the world has mama... I look everywhere.

There she is, in a daze, the kind of daze we all found ourselves in about every five minutes, all afternoon. She doesn't respond. Mama, we have to go now, they're closing. I say ... mama ... mama ... they're throwing us out...

And we did leave. It's hard to leave paradise. I don't know when any of us will return.

posted by eric at 23.27 CET


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Readers' Comments

I MUST have these flower pictures Please! Send me all you will, I beseech you!
Thanks and regards,

Posted by: Ryan on May 13, 2004 04:26 AM

Very beautiful
baie mooi!

Posted by: Johan Hanekom on October 14, 2004 02:07 PM

Dear Eric,
I stumbled upon your blog this morning and have spent more than four hours engrossed in your experiences of the Netherlands.
I am astounded by the beauty of Keukenhof as represented in your excellent photographs!
Thank you for sharing these with the rest of the world.
I had lazily dreamed of one day visiting the Hawaiian islands, but now, through your blog, I have seen that the Netherlands is not the grey, wet, flat, cold place I had once thought it might be. Tulips in your dreamscape anyone?

Posted by: Marilyn Miller on November 13, 2004 09:45 PM

Lovely photos. Great compositions! I live some 30 km from the Keukenhof and when its open (march 24-may 20 only) I go there several times.
Have a look too at my 2 keukenhof albums.. You find them on my site:
Titles: Keukenhof Reloaded and 7.000.000 flowers etc. Hope you enjoy Greetings Anna Oldenhave, Holland

Posted by: anna oldenhave on February 28, 2005 08:35 AM
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