Sunday, 10 August 2008

Holland


It was day 6 of our trip, after breakfast, we went back to our coach and headed for Keukenhof – the largest spring garden in the world. If I remember correctly, it was after I saw Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha dancing around the gardens singing to "Dekha Ek Khwaab To Yeh Silsile Hue" in the movie Silsila, when I was probably 12 or 13 years old, that the dream of going to the tulip garden had formed in my mind; quite unconsciously though. That's why this part of the trip was particularly exciting for me. Our tour manager told us that we were very lucky to have come to Keukenhof during period as bulbs of these colourful tulips bloom only till May 18th; that is, just 8 weeks in the whole year!

The drive from Antwerp to Keukenhof was pleasant, nothing extra ordinary. Saw many windmills on the way which took me back to my school days and the pictures of windmills that I saw in text books. It felt nice. Living one's dreams is definitely a great feeling.

Since we had been travelling everyday with just the night to rest I was feeling a little tired and sleepy, but the thought of missing on something on the way kept me awake. I'm glad that I did not doze off for what I saw next needs to be seen to be believed. I received an email a few years ago where I saw pictures of aircrafts moving from one part of the runway to another through an overpass. I did not have the faintest idea that we would be going past the Schiphol Airport and I would see a sight like that. It was so sudden that I could not click a picture. Nevertheless, I was happy to see what I saw. From then on I made a little more effort to watch out for anything on the way.

We were nearing the tulip gardens and had a little prelude on the way to get an idea of what lay inside the garden. There were many tulip fields on the way, and the bulbs looked stunning! In a short while we reached the entrance of the garden. Our tickets were bought by our tour manager, so we just walked in. We were given 2 hours to see the whole place.

While entering, Joy and I had no idea how big the garden was, so we decided to move a little fast to cover the whole area. The place inside was so beautiful that poets will fall short of words to describe such beauty of nature. I have never seen such variety of flowers on television, let alone in real life! Not only the variety of tulips, but the way they were arranged and planted, was unbelievably wonderful.







































































The people behind were a group of choir singers singing in their own joy. I stood next to them for a while, captured them on the camcorder, and walked about when Joy clicked this photograph.

There seemed to be no end to the different varieties of tulips, and Joy and I were starting to feel a little tired of clicking photographs; but we didn't want to give it up! During the entire period of moving from one part of the garden to another, I was searching for just one thing, the tulip field.I searched and searched for the tulip field and I found it finally only to realise that there was a moat to keep the visitors from entering. I was so upset that I cannot tell. The beautifully laid garden had no relevance in my life, which may seem quite strange to many, but my dream of dancing around the garden remained unfulfilled. I didn't want to let the moment of standing in front of the tulip field go wasted, so with a heavy heart I stood there for a while to savour the moment. Here's a picture...

















It was time to leave, I was not happy. I was excited when I went into the garden but quite sad while going out of it.

Next we went to visit Madurodam, Holland in miniature, replicated in minute detail on a 1:25 scale.






























































Later in the afternoon we went to an Indian restaurant in Amsterdam where they served local meal. We had croquette with french fries and bread.
















After lunch we boarded a glass-topped boat for the canal cruise. We sailed through the canals to witness the city’s colourful past with its 1,000 bridges and fine old houses.

































It was late afternoon when we visited the Dam Square – the real heart of Amsterdam, where the Royal Palace, the Nieuwe Kerk and the War Memorial overlooks this vast and bustling open space.

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