May 18 2011 Day 5
We woke up around 6am thanks to the jet lag to a chilly morning (50 F). When I say we, I mean Anna and I, packed up everything we could then finally had to wake the kids up. On cold nights Henry would just slide deep into his mummy bag (not sure how he kept breathing). We hadn’t gotten any Euro change yet and hadn’t realized we needed coin for the showers so we just packed up and headed north on a 3 hour drive to Holland to see the Keukenhoff Bulb Garden (point B on the map)
We saw dikes, old style windmills, and reclaimed land along the way, but as we got near the area we saw lots of green tulip fields with no blooms and started getting concerned. It was the week before the garden closed, but we saw tour busses in the parking lot and they happily took our 45e (70$) so we figured they must stagger their bulbs so they would have blooms. We were largely wrong. They had a few small beds of tulips in crates, but due to the unusually warm spring everything in the ground bloomed early (hottest in 50 years…bet that Global Warming will be the favored term instead of just Climate Change this year in Europe).
The gardens were still reasonably nice gardens and they had a great playground for the kids where Henry rode a zip line, climbed on a ropes course sort of contraption, and had a falcon zip 3 feet above his head (on my shoulders) during a Raptor show.
Lizzy liked talking to the animals at the little petting zoo and the poffertjies.
There was an indoor display area full of giant lillies from the Jurassic period (not really, just seemed dinosaur sized) that filled the air with an amazing scent.
We left feeling pretty disappointed and irked they hadn’t notified us before buying our tickets or cut the price and headed to Delft (C on the map). Delft was cute, we walked around the square and saw the two historic churches in the City (the “Old” and “New” church).
The “New” Church is where William of Orange (namesake for William and Mary college) and all his heirs were buried—so new means about 15th century here. The style said a lot about the Dutch, very simple and efficient inside with wooden crosspieces supporting a wooden ceiling that gave it a slightly Norse vibe.
We had lunch at a little café with dutch pancakes—plate sized thin pancakes (almost crepes) with butter and powdered sugar or syrup. Oh, bikes and bikes lanes everywhere, big bikers those dutch.
That evening we drove to Belgium and after we couldn’t find anyone at the nice campground we had planned to stay at we found one in Ghent (point D). We got set up there and popped out for a big bag of Fritjes (Belgians are big into ”French Fries”). The cheap and huge bag was some nice hot filling food after car snacks.