This morning is perfect here in The Netherlands. Clear blue sky, mild, almost no wind, and the flowers including the tulips are starting to bloom.
It was a perfect morning for a loop bike ride. Nieuw-Vennep, Lisserbroek, Lisse, Hillegom, Beinsdorp, back to Nieuw-Vennep. It was a route I did almost every day for several years when I worked at the world famous bulb garden’s The Keukenhof. Now in the early morning I didn’t have the pressure of getting out the door to get to work on time and was able to slowly cycle the route and stop and get some pictures of my favorite areas.
First was right outside our house where I planted some tulips 3 years ago on the city property in order to have a nicer view from my office window. Each year we get free bulbs from a friend at the end of the season and that year I felt that some color was need in the neighborhood. I think the city planner was not happy as later that Spring the entire neighborhood got letters stating that they did not appreciate flowers being planted on city property after they had discussed all the planting options with us for months prior to the reconstruction of the area. I always felt their choice of plantings were rather bland for a country known internationally for flowers.
Bad me!!! But, happy me to this day as I look out to see the flowers blooming.
Then I cycled to my favorite house in Lisserbroek, it is owned by a former bulb grower. His front garden is filled each year with pots of blooming bulbs of every sort. The best part is they are all blooming at the same time! Each year I stop for a few minutes and admire his handy work, snap a few pictures and move on.
Then off over the Ringvaart bridge, and into Lisse, the home of The Keukenhof. At 8:30 am the town is busy with mostly local traffic of kids cycling to school and people heading to work. But, this morning I passed a bike tour (always easy to identify as tourist when they are wearing helmets and looking like they have no clue where they are going). Through town, and then past The Keukenhof. Already, this morning the parking lots were full of tour busses dumping guests at the front gate to enter the gardens. I am sure most of those who entered this morning got some wonderful pictures in the cool dapple light.
Then, I turned right, to ride between the fields that extend from the Keukenhof into the small old town of Hillegom. Many of the tulip fields are still about two weeks from blooming due to the late Spring we are having. But, the landscape is filled with the colors of blooming hyacinths, and daffodils. I did see a couple of fields of early blooming tulips.
Now, I was starting to get run off the road as trucks, tractors and local traffic started to compete with the tour buses heading towards the The Keukenhof. Smiling as I cycled, I know that by mid morning and into the afternoon the roads will be clogged with even more traffic from tourists in their cars all stopping to snap pictures of the fields. I am lucky to be living in such a place and to be able to experience at my pleasure this landscape that most wait a lifetime to visit. Happy that Spring here has sprung!
I then took my cycle route back across the Ringvaart, into the small town of Beinsdorp. Where a few short weeks ago this small village was celebrating a young Olympic Gold Medal 5000 meter Champion speed skater, Esmee Visser. As I slowly cycled through the small area close to the fields, I passed a lady walking her dog that made sure I knew she loved the weather we were having, I smiled and answered it was wonderful weather.
As I cycled back towards Nieuw-Vennep , I reflected how far I have come on this new journey I started 11 years ago with my Dutch hubby. What all seemed so new and wonderful in the early years of living here are now part of my normal daily life. How I back then I wouldn’t have known what the lady walking in Beinsdorp had said to me today to me. Now, I not only knew what she said but, could give a nice response without even thinking about how to phrase it in proper Dutch.
Back at the house, I sat and had coffee looking at my back garden blooming with tulips. I noted to myself that I am still a Minnesota gal but, I am very happy and feel at home being an adopted Dutch woman.