Monday, April 19, 2010

Fields of Flowers

With tulips popping up everywhere these days, the Netherlands seemed the perfect subject for this week. Though tulips are the big draw in Holland, they are not alone in washing the countryside in a vibrant palette of color. But first, let’s clarify the “what and where” of Holland, as some people mistake it for a country. Holland is a region in the western part of the Netherlands. It’s capital is Amsterdam. One of the largest cities in Holland, Rotterdam, is home of Europe’s largest port.

Okay, geography lesson over. Let’s talk flowers. Each spring, countless tourists come to Holland to view huge fields of tulips. There are many types and colors covering vast areas of land (see the aerial view photo). But tulips aren’t the only flora worth seeing in Holland. Fields of crocuses burst forth in early spring, followed by daffodils and then narcissi. In April, tulips and hyacinths cover the land, blossoming until the middle of May. This is also the time of year when the Bollenstreek Flower Parade takes place. Volunteers spend months creating floats with 1.5 million flowers! Imagine how beautiful they look cruising down the street.

And still there’s more! Come August, the gladioli grow tall, each plant bearing numerous large colorful blooms.

To visit the tulip fields, go from late March through early May. They are located in Lisse between Leiden and Amsterdam. And as you might expect, there are plenty of hotels located in Lisse.

Check back in a few days for a Netherlands recipe!

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