Sunday, 6 April 2008

Think Tulip, Think Holland

Ah, still have more than one hour before my flight back to Penang. Thank goodness for free Internet at KLIA.

So, here's a tip for anyone of you intending to visit the famous Keukenhof Tulip Gardens about one hour from Amsterdam. There's the basic trip which takes 4 and half hours. Alternatively, the flyers suggest that if your love flowers and gardens and love photography, you should take the 7 hours or 9 hours package. Costs more of course. Dilemma, right? Let me put you out of your misery. Take the short trip. Don't get me wrong. The Keukenhof is amazing. All the tour company does is just drop you off at the garden and the bus goes back to pick up the next batch of tourist. The guide doesn't do anything at the gardens and food is not included. OK, I must stop whining. It's a beautiful garden but you really have other places to see too.

Well yes, tulip is very much associated with Holland but its not native to the country. In fact it was a wild flower imported from Turkey in the 17th Century. And you probably know already, tulip flowers are not major export of Holland. They have to let the flowers bloom and they harvest and sell the bulbs.

Weather was gloomy throughout my 2 and half hours on the garden itself so the photography was a little wanting. After you have taken 100 shots, it gets a little tiring. But I have seen tulip gardens before at the Skagit Valley in Washington State. So, this was a little nostalgic.

Well, like I said, you have other things you want to do or see. That's what I did in the afternoon. I managed to get in one hour of cycling - rental cost 3.50 euro per hour or 12 euro for whole day. You need to provide a photo ID and 50 euro security deposit. Being kinda of short, the lowest sadle was still too high for me to sit and have my feet touching the ground so that was little tricky especially as I was about to turn in to return the bike. The pedestrians (especially visitors) do take notice of bicyclists so I had to brake to avoid hitting one of them and a bike from behind gave me a little bum. But, all's well.

There used to be more than 10,000 windmills in Holland. Now there are only 1,000 and most them are not operational, being taken over by electric pumps. The windmills were central to the agriculture of Holland. The land use to cultivate crops were actually lakes which had been pumped out using this sustainable (renewal energy) technology.

She must be close to 80 but still active and leading an economically productive life.
Bought some grapes from her and she even washed it for me.
During the GUNI conference, it was noted that by 2030 or so, about one third of the people of Europe would aged 60 and over.

Would you believe that I had noodles three nights in a row in Amsterdam at three different Chinese Restaurants in the Red Light District? That's how crazy I am about noodles. Were they any good? Yah, they were all authentic, not westernised.

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