The land of tulips

After thinking about going to Amsterdam and visit Keukenhof ever since we moved back to Sweden (December 2008) we finally managed to do it this year!! I was so excited ahead of time and I did not get disappointed at all. What a place! Not only is Amsterdam nice with all the canals and beautiful historic houses but Keukenhof was simply WOW. There is nothing I can write that will give it justice, only a visit to the park will do. I will definitely go back again!

Arrived to the airport. Hello Amsterdam! :)
Arrived to the airport. Hello Amsterdam! 🙂
We used Airbnb instead of staying at a hotel. The place we originally booked got a water leak shortly before our arrival but the owner managed to find a new place for us to stay at in the Jordaan area. Very stylish apartment with the typical steep stairs.
We used Airbnb instead of staying at a hotel. The place we originally booked got a water leak shortly before our arrival but the owner managed to find a new place for us to stay at in the Jordaan area. Very stylish apartment with the typical steep stairs.
A canal in Amsterdam
A canal in Amsterdam
Beautiful windows and shutters.
Beautiful windows and shutters.
A view of tulip fields on the bus to Keukenhof.
A view of tulip fields on the bus to Keukenhof.
The main entrance at Keukenhof. Yes, we were not alone. :) I have so many pictures from the part, and it was very hard to pick, but these are a few of my favourites. 
The main entrance at Keukenhof. Yes, we were not alone. 🙂 I have so many pictures from the park, and it was very hard to pick, but these are a few of my favourites.
Keukenhof
Keukenhof
Keukenhof
Keukenhof
Keukenhof
Keukenhof
Keukenhof
Keukenhof
Keukenhof
Keukenhof
Keukenhof
Keukenhof

I remember my (paternal) grandmother talking about the garden of Keukenhof and wanting to go for a visit, but she never managed to do it. I know she would have loved it too!

Food

It was a lousy wifi connection both at the hotel and the airport so I didn’t manage to post anything this morning as I originally planned.

I just wanted to share a few photos of the fantastic buffet tables during the past week. The dinner and breakfast served (we bought half board only) was great with many different choices and varieties.

20120801-205629.jpg

20120801-205703.jpg

20120801-205722.jpg

20120801-205756.jpg

20120801-205818.jpg

20120801-205838.jpg

20120801-205858.jpg

I hope I didn’t make you hungry! 😉

Sunrise

We woke up at 6 am this morning in order to see the sunrise. So beautiful!

20120731-203835.jpg

The rest of the day (and this week really) can be described with one word… lazy! We’ve never been on a trip and done as few excursions! We’ve left the hotel three times in total: 1) visiting Knossos 2) Cretan night and 3) eating lunch in Elounda. We had some ideas to visit two places more but we stayed by the pool instead! Having a private pool is such a luxury and we’ll definitely do it on any upcoming trips if possible. We actually looked for this type of room when we booked our trip but they were not available then. I suppose the charter company only has a few to sell and the hotel keeps the rest for their own guests.

This is how we spent much of the day today…

20120731-204458.jpg

20120731-204614.jpg

Tonight we’re packing and tomorrow morning, at 8.50am the bus will pick us up. Will be interesting to see how long time it will take to get to their airport. It should take 1 hour and 15 minutes but as the flight don’t leave until 12.40 I anticipate a long ride with plenty of hotel stops.

Elounda

We took a taxi to the nearby town of Elounda today where we enjoyed gyro pitas for lunch.

It was probably the warmest day today with 35 degrees Celsius so the vanilla milkshake with the lunch tasted fantastic!

20120730-222139.jpg

After dinner and drinks in the bar we went back to our room to take a evening bath in the pool. The sun had almost set so the pool’s lighting were on. Made a very cozy environment to swim in.

20120730-222652.jpg

While swimming a band suddenly started playing so instead of me walking out of the pool Mathias jumped in and we enjoyed the music for a bit. It was possible to see the band and the disco lights from where we were but I can’t say I saw much as I’d taken off my glasses by then. It was very cool with a little evening dancing in the pool to live music before bedtime.

Upgrade

For our last two nights we decided to upgrade our room to one with a private pool. We checked for the availability of the upgrade on Saturday already but the rooms were all booked but this morning when we checked again they had one available. Before we made a decision we were shown the potential room.

Back at the reception we were told the price which we thought was a little too high so we declined at which point they offered it to a lower price. We accepted it and has now moved all our stuff to our new room. We’ve also had time to swim and rested on our lounge chairs. Now we’re off to the town of Elounda (~5 minutes by taxi) for lunch and a little town adventure.

By the way… as I wrote yesterday that it was windy I suppose today could be called a storm! Wow, there are some strong winds today!! If this had been in Sweden I would have thought it were Fall storms!

Here is a picture from our new room with a view of both our private pool and the ocean!

20120730-123737.jpg

Blown away

We’ve had a very lazy day today. Did not eat breakfast until 9.30 am. Clearly having breakfast that late is very popular. It’s never been so many people during the previous days (we’ve eaten around 8-8.30 then). We had some issues finding a table but luckily one of the ushers came and helped us. I think I like eating around 8 instead. Lucky for us that we have excursions planned the next two days so we have to eat early.

Today has been a very lazy day. We’ve spent most of it on the balcony with a few hours at the beach bar where we ate lunch and enjoyed the ocean views. It has been VERY windy today so every now and then we had hide in the hotel room.

We have a small tree right outside our balcony (or should I call it a porch as we are on the first level!?) and when the wind blow as hardest it looked like the tree wanted to hide. 🙂

Now we’re sitting in the main hotel bar enjoying drinks. A perfect place to be in not only because the serve drinks but also as it’s one of the few places where the free wifi is strong enough (most of the time. Sometimes it’s so slow that nothing happens at all). In the hotel room we aren’t able to connect at all (even though the charter company claimed we would) and from our balcony it’s like flipping a coin.

Cheers!

20120729-203434.jpg

Cretan night

Last night we went on a bus tour in order to travel to a village, Karouzanos, that had a Cretan night experience.

We were picked up outside our hotel at 5.30 pm and at ~7.30 pm we arrived at the village. During those two hours we’d gone from hotel to hotel to pick up more passengers. I could probably write a blog post only about bus tours/drivers. 🙂 It’s a quite scary experience as they drive like crazy. It’s amazing that they can drive on some of the narrow roads. I’m glad I’m not a bus driver on Crete!

At the Cretan night we were treated with food and dancing. I wasn’t able to get any good photos with my iPhone but I’ve got plenty of photos with my regular camera. Unfortunately the battery went out halfway into the show. I suppose it didn’t matter to much as the lighting of the stage were quite poor and we had some problems to get really good photos even before the camera quit.

At 11 pm we were on the bus heading back. I think we went to bed around 1 pm so I’m glad we’ve got a lazy day planned today!

20120729-105418.jpg

20120729-105514.jpg