Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Netherlands!! Day Three: Pretty flowers & pannekoeken!

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R esearch on Saturday night indicated that the Keukenhof, a giant flower garden near Lisse, would be open on Easter Sunday. We figured that would be a good way to spend the holiday.

What I really wanted to see in the Netherlands were tulip fields in full bloom like these. But, Easter is too early for that, and that's when most people get a couple of free days off, so it's just way more feasible for travel than peak tulip time. Then I found out about the Keukenhof. It's only open two months of the year. I figured they wouldn't be open any time that they didn't have something worth seeing.

Keukenhof Apr 10

Well, it really was too early - at least for it to be worth the 14 EUR admission price. Mostly only daffodils, grape hyacinth, and crocuses were blooming, although they did have lots of tulips and other cool bulb flowers out in planters, and their big greenhouse was chock full of zillions of different kinds of tulips. That was definitely the highlight, but it would have been so much nicer to see the outdoor gardens totally in bloom. They should get there in the next couple of weeks!

Noordwijk Apr 10

After the Keukenhof, we decided to go have a look at the sea in nearby Noordwijk. It was cold and windy!! The beach there is really huge, though, and there were plenty of people out walking along the water. We stayed a few minutes and crunched on some clam shells, then hid inside at the 't Pannekoekenhuisje for a mid-afternoon drink and snack! Pannekoeken are the Dutch equivalent of pancakes or crepes. I thought they were a little high-priced based on my expectation of what we would get, but couldn't resist trying the apple, bacon, and powdered sugar one anyway. It was HUGE!! There were 2-3 (small) apples' worth of baked wedges piled on and several rounds of bacon (rather than a few bits like I imagined). So, it was worth the price after all. Plus it was delicious and I can't stop thinking about the deliciousness of that thing.

Despite the pancake bloat, after we returned to The Hague we thought it was probably wise to have a proper dinner at some point. We walked downtown and wandered around looking for food, finally settling on a place called the Balkan Grill. It was a little more expensive than we were hoping, but super friendly! To make it easy we just ordered a food platter for four to share.


WHOA.

It was delicious, too! And they even put some Shantel on while we were eating. Leftovers became the next day's meat breakfast.

Coming soon: Antwerp!

4 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness! I love the 'steaming pile of meat' picture. I think Cliff's shirt was a better backdrop for capturing the steam than Damon's sweater!

    Kinda wish we'd gotten a picture of that guy jamming out Balkan-style, though.

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  2. I was pretty sad at how late the Keukenhof was running. So we are going back in a few weeks:). We usually stay in Leiden- is the Hague a nice place to walk around?

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  3. G - It's pretty nice, but there's a LOT of construction going on in the downtown area. Looks like they're putting in a tram line of some sort. Unfortunately, we didn't see too much of The Hague itself, but there are some parks and (I think) a palace of some sort in town.

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  4. Sarah: I didn't even notice the big steam ghost in the photo until you mentioned it!

    G: We didn't really explore it that much but J said in a comment on another post that it's really nice, so he might have some tips!

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