We sailed from Shoonhoeven about 3AM and docked in Utrecht around 8AM. As soon as we finish breakfast we will board buses to transport us the the Keukenhof Gardens for the morning while the boat makes its way back to Amsterdam.
The day is cold and threatening rain. Hopefully it will hold off until we leave the Gardens.It is about a 45 minute drive to the Gardens and when we get there at 9AM there are already many buses parked in neat rows headed by different countries flags...we park in the USA row. We are given maps and suggestions of things we should see and turned loose just inside the gate.The Gardens are only open eight weeks a year and cover 70 acres with 7 million planted bulbs in bloom! There are five or six pavilions and food courts at various points around the gardens. It is a beautiful place even in the misty conditions.
There are beds in full bloom featuring every kind of bulb. We walk counter to the path most people are taking and find many spots to ourselves.It starts to rain at some point and we head to one of the food courts and have some wonderful hot chocolate until the rain stops. It is cool today so the hot chocolate is just perfect.
We then head to the windmill so we can climb to the top for a good view of the tulip fields around the gardens and then see some more of the gardens. Carolyn finds an area set up like a florist shop with beautiful flower arrangements and a place to order bulbs that can be shipped to the US this Fall. She some what over indulges with some things that will grow in our climate and some tulip bulbs just for the fun of it.
It has stared to rain seriously now so we head to the show parvilion where thousands of tulip bulbs are planted in sections by type and color indoors. What a display! It is a riot of color with many blooms that don't even look like tulips. By this point our feet are killing us and we are damp and cold...it is almost time to leave.The three hours have flown by in this beautiful oasis of flowers. We make one last stop for something to drink and then head back to the bus.
We get back to the ship in time for a welcome hot lunch. The ship is back at the same berth in Amsterdam.Carolyn spends the afternoon packing.Tonight we are going to the special Chaine des Rotisseurs dinner.It is the alternate dinning option and each night the dinner is served to up to 16 guest in the small dinning room on the aft of the boat.
It turns out to be eight of us for tonight's dinner. We are wined and dinned with great wines and wonderfully tender tasty roasted beef and sides and a great desert, five courses total. The meal is part of the whole cruise package and is a wonderful way to end a great week. Just one more reason that this has been a great cruise. Well fed we retire to bed and dream of beautiful tulips!