Yesterday was Queen's Day, a day marked by orange-clad, drunken Dutch people wandering the streets of Amsterdam. Although our baby wanted to join the crowds in the center, we put our foot down and decided to enjoy the first amazing day of weather in other ways. I did the mom thing and dressed Johanna in Dutch colors. Here she is eyeing our oranjetompoes (thousand layer cake with orange frosting). The tompoes comes from the HEMA, the Dutch equivalent of Target. I told Niek that I wanted to embrace the tradition and buy a slice. Stauch defender of republicanism that I am, I can't quite explain my enjoyment of a holiday celebrating the House of Orange. Can you really say no to the tradition of buying a piece of cake--and a surprisingly good piece of cake to boot? Slicing the tompoes in two was about as close as I came to cooking all day. We had places to be! Oh wait, Niek sliced the cake for us...
Because...wait for it...we finally made it to the bulb fields! Every spring we have said we would go, and there's always been a reason we didn't make it. Yesterday, everything just came together, including the weather, and we hopped in the car. In less than half an hour we found ourselves driving along seas of vibrant colors. Honestly, it really is an amazing site. It looks like someone spray painted fields with swaths of bright colors.
Years ago a friend of mine, who was living in London at the time, invited me to fly over and meet her in the Netherlands just to visit the bulb fields. I can't tell you how disappointed I was then when I couldn't make it. I've had Niek's friends scoff at my desire to see the fields. They think of it as something tourists do. Yeah, I'm okay with that. We joined all the other tourists in taking the requisite picture in a field of blooming flowers.
It was definitely the last weekend to enjoy the tulips. The flowers were really open, and some of the fields had already been cleared of the flowers. The flowers have to be cut away from the plant in order to make the bulbs salable. I wanted to say that the plants are deflowered, but no, that isn't the right word. The plants are topped and then look like this:
We saw a lot of farmers out in the fiels topping their plants. How much do you want to bet that the two boys in the cart were less than thrilled to be spending their Koninginnedag working? At least they're wearing orange.
When we drove past a daffodil field, I made Niek stop the car so I could jump out and take a picture.
Most of the hyacinth fields were definitely past their most beautiful point. We did see these still in bloom. Can you even imagine the amazing smell? The air was so sweet with the fragrance of hyacinths.
So that was our Queen's Day this year. We would have stayed longer, but Johanna was less enthusiastic about the outing than I was. No matter. We can return next year.