Today we left for the Keukenhof Gardens on the Keukenhof Tulip Festival tour from the port of Rotterdam. We had just been here 12 days earlier (see Keukenhof Flower Fields and Bulb Farm with Rembrandt House) via the port of Amsterdam. Today’s excursion however was offered by the De Buck Tour Company in cooperation with Princess Cruise lines and departed from Rotterdam.
Our drive time to the Keukenhof Gardens was 1 hour 35 minutes. Leaving the city, we saw the famous Erasmus Bridge which has cabling and a pylon built resembling a swan. We learned that Rotterdam was completely rebuilt after WWII due to intense bombing raids. The country itself consists of 12 provinces and 25% of its land mass resides below sea level. King Willem-Alexander coincidentally celebrated his 50th birthday in the Capital City of Amsterdam (Kings Day) just the day before our visit.
On the drive we learned that in 1492, there would have been a castle standing on the grounds where the Kuekenhof gardens are today. If you wish to view the gardens on your own, your best bet is to reserve a B&B in the town of Lisse which is quaint little town right next to the gardens themselves.
We arrived for entry to the 68th Keukenhof Gardens Tulip show at 11:25am. Because we had been to the gardens just 12 days earlier we were excited to see what changes occurred in the tulip scenery. The first thing we noticed is that all the blooms were larger. Our previous visit had nice blooms but many of the tulips were yet to fully open.
We quickly turned left after the entry turnstiles and began retracing the steps from our earlier visit. This led us back down the path to Tulipomania. We proceeded in this fashion until we made it to the food court of Wilhelmina at the lake. From there we cut through to the indoor buildings that we had bypassed on our first visit.
Our first stop was at the Willem-Alexander building which was full of cut and container plants of all types. We also saw booths with paintings and other wares for purchase. Our second stop was at Beatrix Pavilion which was dedicated to orchids of all sizes, shapes, and colors.
Next we headed to the Mill area in search of that magical ham sandwich just in front of the Dutch Windmill under the roof titled Warme Beenham. The ham sandwich was 4.50 Euro with its special sauce and just as delicious as before. When photographing the Dutch Windmill on this occasion we noticed the design of the Mill allows for the rotation of the blades into the wind. We hadn’t noticed this before but on this visit the blades were distinctly in a different position and direction than before.
As we journeyed to the fountain and Music Box at the Irene Pavilion (a.k.a. the meeting point) we weaved in and about the paths of the Keukenhof Gardens for final photos during this excursion. On the way we stumbled across the Dutch Colors theme exclusive to the 2017 season. We had totally overlooked this on the prior visit.
Our group met up at the Irene Pavilion at 2:15pm where we walked back to our bus. Our tour guide mentioned that hundreds of different companies plant the bulbs and maintain the displays at the gardens both in the fall and spring. Over 7 million bulbs are planted in the gardens annually. We arrived back at the bus and departed from the Keukenhof Gardens at 2:45pm arriving back to the pier at 3:50pm. All in all a good day out, but once again not enough time to see everything.
Cruise Port: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Cruise Line: Princess Cruises
Tour Name: Kuekenhof Tulip Festival
Tour Operator: De Buck
Steps logged: 9,656