2013 Gratitude Project – Travel: First Int’l Adventure pt 2

2013 Gratitude Project – Travel: First Int’l Adventure pt 2

This month will be a celebration of travel. I am so grateful for the many opportunities I’ve had over my nearly thirty years to explore the world. Click here to read about my 2013 November Gratitude Project – Travel 

 
005 copyAs mentioned in my last post, after my adventure in Latvia I spent time with family in London and The Netherlands. You saw the pictures of me in Trafalgar Square and at St. Paul’s Cathedral yesterday. London was great. However, it was spring and we went to The Netherlands!

When people think of Holland they think of windmills, canals in Amsterdam and tulips. All for very good reasons. We didn’t spend any time in Amsterdam or The Hague, but we did get to see millions of blooming flowers and the giants from Don Quixote’s skirmishes.

Besides visiting some windmills and getting wooden shoes, one highlight was Keukenhof – the world’s largest flower garden. This once royal hunting ground is home to millions of varieties of flowers in spectacular arrangements in hundreds of flower beds. This isn’t where there are fields of tulips like you see in movies, though you pass by them on your way, but it is completely worth the trip when it is open in the spring. They also have graceful swans and a small menagerie.

We also got to watch the flower parade. It has floats covered in flowers and marching bands on bicycles. Most amazing is that this parade travels for about 40 kilometers. It must be one of the longest parade routes in the world.

We were staying with family who was living there, so we got to experience some of the real-side of Holland too. Behind their house was a canal that we boated on, and we rode bikes into town for my first taste of European ice cream. That’s where I learned that lemon ice cream is delicious!

At one point, the parents went to Bruges leaving the kids in the care of an elderly babysitter. During the day when my cousins were at school, I joined this local on my favorite adventure of the trip. We hopped on the bikes and rode to the North Sea. It was such a pleasant experience riding across the Dutch countryside and arriving at the seaside. I don’t remember how far it was, but it took us a few hours in each direction.

I am very grateful for the extra time we spent in Europe to see some spectacular sights and do a few unorganized things, non-touristy things. I am very thankful for my parents who made the sacrifices to make the trip happen. I can’t wait to make a return trip. 

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