29 April 2009

Dutch Tulips

One of the things I love about the Lyon exchange program is the diversity of international students that I meet here. One of my friends, who currently goes to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, grew up in Den Haag in the Netherlands. It's always fun to hear stories and learn about each other's lives growing up in a different country. In random conversation I told her about a documentary I had seen about tulips in Holland on PBS. I was so happy when she told me how I could see them for myself this April! So, this spring break I took the 4 hour trip from Brussels to the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens in Holland to see the most amazing and colorful arrangements of tulips in the world.

The garden covers 32 hectares and has 4.5 million tulips in hundreds of varieties. Unfortunately I went on a rainy day, but that didn't keep me from wandering into a hedge-maze, skipping on the stones next to swans in the pond, and taking in the sweet fragrance that filled the air. When it started pouring, I was in luck that there were multiple indoor displays spotted around the enormous park. The 2009 theme of the garden was "USA, New York 400 years". The theme only meant that each tulip variety was named after something "USA, New York". It was kinda corny, especially the large display at the entrance that read "I (tulip) New York" instead of "I (heart) New York". Besides the theme, the garden was absolutely spectacular. It was impossible to see the everything in one day, but one thing is for sure, the Dutch have the tulip thing down to a science! Even on the way out of town I passed numerous colorful fields of tulips. What a beautiful tradition!

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