CP Travel Ambassador Jaimye Levine got to check off a flower lover's bucket list item by visiting the Netherlands during peak tulip season. Find out if wooden clogs are still in fashion these days in the land of windmills and so much more.
What specific cities and /or countries did you visit? Netherlands
What was your favorite memory from this trip? The beautiful flowers at Keukenhof!! 7 million flowers in one place and is only open 8 weeks a year. The colors were amazing. Wow, just wow! As a bonus our tour guide brought us to his house in the Hague because we had some extra time. Definitely not your typical stop.
Top excursions and landmarks/sites to visit: A canal cruise in Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House, the Rijksmuseum to see Rembrandt's "The Night Watch", a visit to Keukenhof Gardens, the Royal Delft Pottery workshop, the UNESCO Cultural site of Kinderdijk by boat to see 19 working windmills. The Airborne museum in Arnhem where you can learn about the Battle of Arnhem during World War II. Visit Giethoorn known as "Holland's Green Venice", the village has no roads, only waterways.
Were there any standout restaurants or foodie must-haves on this trip? Cheese, you must have cheese! Bistro De Bok was a fabulous find in the small college town of Nijmegen. This isn't a big touristy town so the find was extra special. Restaurant De Waegh, was an old weigh house in the small village of Monnickendam. Dutch pancakes are a staple as well! Stroopwafels, yum. There were street vendors serving picked herring on sandwiches with pickle and onion. Not on my list but my husband enjoyed multiple times. A local food is Dutch Croquettes-beef ragout, breaded and deep fried. Another yum.
How would you describe the people and culture of this destination? Any interesting cultural lessons? The people were friendly in every city or town we visited. This was highlighted by our Connect with Locals dinner with the Pauw family at their dairy farm where they fed us a local feast. The use of bicycles as the primary mode of transportation is a true cultural difference. The world renown knowledge of their engineers and how to deal with the waters levels to keep the country from flooding with the use of dikes, dams and windmills is incredible. Wooden shoes are still actually used, especially for gardening.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about this destination? It was interesting to learn that people aka "Millers" lived in the windmills. They had to be available at all times to ensure that flooding didn't occur and the mills were functioning properly. Kitchens were built in a secondary building as not to chance a fire in the windmill. The name Amsterdam was derived from the Amstel River when it was damned to keep the area from flooding. Also, the Dutch are known for being the tallest people in the world!
Top 5 Tips and recommendations for this trip:
- The Anne Frank house must be booked ahead of time, a minimum of two months.
- Watch out for the bicycles, they will run you over.
- Try to go in spring to see Keukenhof.
- There are several art museums to see, and some of these can sell out ahead of time so please plan accordingly.
- There are several forms of public transportation and it is easy to get around within the various cities and in between.
Did you travel via cruise ship? If so, please describe the experience and some of the standout features that you ere excited about. This was a land trip with Trafalgar
What makes this destination a must-see in your opinion? Go in the spring time to see the tulips! Since the tulips blooming is based on mother nature it is hard to pinpoint the perfect time to go, but late April this year was perfect.
Additional thoughts and insights? As a country the Netherlands is roughly the size of Maryland. Although most people refer to the area as Holland this is actual just a nickname. There is a North and South Holland provinces.
To check off the flower fields of Holland off your list, contact a Cruise Planners agent near you!