May 2, 2018. Europe Trip Day 1 – Kansas City to The Netherlands
Lindsay, who is my best friend in the whole world moved to the Netherlands a few years ago and I have wanted to visit her ever since. She has a daughter named Mila that is exactly 3 month younger than my daughter Eloise. The girls FaceTime and get along surprisingly well considering they only see each other once, maybe twice a year. They pick up right where they left off.
So, I happened to not be pregnant or nursing a baby. My husband told me I better go visit her while I have the chance. I did not hesitate! And I had to take Eloise because she wanted to visit Mila. So my awesome husband stayed home and held down the fort.
I didn’t just go visit her though. I mean we went there, but first we planned the most spectacularly amazing European Castle road trip we could imagine….that we could get done in 12 days. Because, you know, I have four kids, I can’t be gone longer than 12 days even if I am taking the most difficult one of them with me.
12 days, 9 countries, 2 moms, 2 four year old girls, a dad/photographer/driver/body guard and a dog……..here we go!
**Side note, I did not take my “fancy camera” on this trip. 99% of my photos where taken on my iPhone because it was easier, more convenient and I just wanted to enjoy my time and have memories without worrying about hauling my giant camera and arsenal of lenses around. So they aren’t as fantastic of photos as I would like, but seriously. 9 countries in 12 days with my best friend that I never get to see and two 4 year olds (there is no perfection going on here and I have come to terms with that)**
Wheels up time!
We flew from Kansas City to Chicago first. I made sure we flew out of the closest city to KC and the latest flight so that we could just hop on the international flight and go right to sleep. We left Chicago at 7:00pm slept on the plane and woke up at 9:20am in Amsterdam (2:20am Kansas City time). Tired, but not exhausted. I’m glad we had the one long 8 hour flight instead of two 4 hour flights. that way we could get a longer period of sleep in.
When we arrived we went straight to the airport bathroom, changed clothes, grabbed Starbucks and left straight for the tulip fields of Holland. It was May 2nd and the tulips were starting to get chopped! They have big machines that go in and take off the heads of the tulips before they are fully dead. It is crazy to see because it looks like they are just chopping down a field of beautiful flowers. I guess that is what they have to do though because they are growing them for the bulbs, not the flowers.
Lindsay and Mila picked us up in their car and we left from Amsterdam airport and headed for Lisse, Netherlands which is the place to be for tulips. In Lisse seeing tulip fields during the season is like soy bean or corn fields in Kansas. They are all over the place and you can just pull the car over and run through the fields! We drove along some beautiful scenic roads and would stop whenever we saw a new color of tulips to run through. It was pretty windy that day too, reminded me a lot of Kansas. Except instead of the long fences along the fields, they have canals to separate the land. The tulip fields only bloom for 3-4 weeks out of the year though so you have to time it just perfectly. And we did! If we would have shown up 2 days later we wouldn’t have seen any tulip fields in bloom.
Lisse, Netherlands Tulip Fields
The tulips are such a bucket list thing to do and have to be hit at the right time, chances are we won’t get to see them again.
It was so neat when we flew in to Amsterdam to look out the airplane window and see the massive fields of tulips! A great first impression of The Netherlands.
And of course some videos and “outtakes” of our windy tulip field visit.
After running around the tulip fields we decided to go visit Keukenhof Gardens
Keukenhof in Dutch or “Kitchen garden” in English also known as the Garden of Europe, is one of the world’s largest flower gardens, situated in Lisse, South Holland, Netherlands. Approximately 7 million flower bulbs are planted annually in the park, which covers an area of 79 acres. The park is open from mid-March through mid-May each year.
Nijntje “Miffy” the Bunny
This is also where we learned about Miffy the sweet little bunny who is pretty much the mascot of the Netherlands. Everywhere we would go we would look for Miffy.
Miffy (Dutch: Nijntje) is a small female rabbit in a series of picture books drawn and written by Dutch artist Dick Bruna. The original Dutch name, “Nijntje”, is a shortening of konijntje, “little rabbit”. The first Miffy book was produced in 1955, and almost 30 others have followed. In total they have sold over 85 million copies
We also tried our first stroopwafel (literally “syrup waffle”) is a waffle made from two thin layers of baked dough with a caramel syrup filling in the middle. It is a favorite Dutch treat.