None of us would imagine a trip through The Netherlands without seeing tulips or windmills. But, of course, tulips don’t bloom year-round. And with that thought, we figured that if we booked a tour of Holland in May, we wouldn’t expect to see tulips in bloom.
But Viking’s cruise — Holland and Belgium — had other plans. Knowing that we were opting for the advertised “trip through a tulip farm,” we anticipated hearing about the business of planning, fertilizing, harvesting, packaging, and shipping tulips from one of the premier growers in the world.
But we never thought we’d be fortunate enough to actually see blooms on stems. But we did. Although a bit past their prime, the blooms charmed us with color and stature as they swayed in the early-morning breeze.
Here are the tulips, budded and full-blown, their swoops and dips, their gloss, and poses, the satin of their darks.Margaret Atwood
But the surprises took another turn. The owner of the tulip farm (after her informative slide presentation) revealed a fortunate random act of kindness: her neighboring farm owner had planted several rows of late-blooming tulips that we could see if we re-boarded our buses and headed out to his farm — a surprise that lifted the spirits of all on board.
Perhaps it was the vastness of the land dedicated to these brilliantly colored flowers that impressed us. Or the careful tilling of the land, the planting, cutting, harvesting, and shipping. Whatever it was, we learned first-hand the remarkable nature of this business.
The magnitude of the acreage as well as the backdrop of elegant wind turbines looming in the background formed a vision that will stick with us for a long, long time.
On the way back to the cruise ship, the bus driver stopped at De Herder windmill so we could wander around the structure and marvel at its construction.
According to a website dedicated to the history and use of flour mills in the area, Meelmolen de Herder is near the site of one that could have been built in the 1500s. We were allowed to walk around and take pictures, but the interior of the windmill was not available to us.
I found that I loved taking pictures of this foreign-to-me structure, and I loved trying to capture smaller, more interesting angles rather than shots of the whole. I could have stayed much longer, taking in the details of the exterior, the tower, and the rotor and hub. We all could have.
Our next post will feature the windmills of Kinderdijk, a famous UNESCO World Heritage site filled with windmills in a natural, still-workable place in The Netherlands. Thanks, as always, for traveling virtually with us.
See the Netherlands,
Rusha & Bert
This post is one in a series prompted by a recent trip to The Netherlands and Belgium. Thank you to Viking cruises (Holland & Belgium 2022) and our travel agent, Lauren Gunnels of Ortelius Travel Advisors, for the arrangements and free time to enjoy the scenery!