On Sunday, a group of Windhappers (Alfons - trip organizer, Marianne, Willie, Elly, Twan, and I) set out to view the tulips from a less crowded place: our kayaks. Click Read More to see endless flower photos and hear about a minor mishap that almost resulted in carrying 6 kayaks over a busy railroad track...
In Keukenhof, we turned right into a canal that enters the park (yay no entrance fee!). We were greeted by masses of tourists, shuffling along in the queue to and from the park's windmill. When we entered the canal, we immediately became the main attraction. I expect we'll be featured in many tourists Facebook albums in the coming days.
From there, we paddled through a series of channels through the vast flowery fields north of Keukenhof. See photos below! We stopped for lunch at the grassy Beltpark in Hillegom, about half way through the route. Lunch was the only time that we experienced a bit of drizzle (mmm wet sandwiches). As usual, I wondered to myself why I always think a thermos of hot tea is unnecessary. At least I brought my wool hat...
We briefly considered the option of climbing up the steep banks and over the busy railroad tracks with our 6 kayaks, but after Alfons did some scouting, it was clear this would only result in extensive nettle burns and the possibility of getting hit by a train. We finally ceded to the option of retracing our steps (more or less). As you can see from the map below, this nearly doubled the trip. But we saw lots of tulips, got some good exercise, and enjoyed the decent weather.
We wrapped up the trip with a visit to the nearby tulip stand, where we left with our arms full of 1 euro tulip bouquets! Though you have to exit your kayak to see anything but tulip bottoms (will bring a selfie stick next time - better angle for tulip photos), I highly recommend this approach to seeing the tulips every April!
Click on a photo to enlarge!
Distance: 21 km (12.8 miles)
Duration: ~6 hours, with lots of stops
Weather: Better than expected. Cloudy, cool, drizzly once in a while, but low wind.