Sunday, April 6, 2014

Keukenhof Garden

Keukenhof Garden is known as the Garden of Europe and is the largest flower garden in the world. After our crazy day in Amsterdam this was the perfect place to "stop and smell the flowers!" 
It is located in Lisse, The Netherlands, which is about 20 minutes southwest of Amsterdam. 
Keukenhof is only open each year from mid-March to mid-May and the best time to see the tulips in full bloom is usually the middle of April.
So as you can see not all of the tulips were in bloom yet. It was a beautiful sight with endless rows of tulips and other flowers.
They have a traditional Dutch windmill in the park. We got to climb up to the platform and look out over the fields.
There is also an enormous green house with every kind of tulip you could dream of.
Maddie loved trying to grab the flowers and the other tourists loved Maddie's big smile and wanted to take pictures of her.
Throughout the park there are 7 million bulbs planted annually so it is truly a blaze of colors!
This is a design of Dutch rowhouses made of different types of flowers.
Can you tell what's happening in the picture above? Sometimes when the baby is hungry and there is a lot to see and not a lot of time, she has to eat on the run- ha ha!! Although I wouldn't recommend it too often; your arms get tired!
After a beautiful morning, we left just as the rain arrived! Until next time Keukenhof!

A Friend in Brussels

Almost a decade ago (this makes us feel kinda old) while living at the Helaman Hall dorms at BYU I met Shannon Crowley! We have been great friends ever since. This weekend she flew all the way from DC to come to visit us in Brussels.
Shannon arrived very early Thursday morning and brought me a nice house warming gift or payment for the Fowler Bed and Breakfast!
We spent the day touring Brussels Centrum. First stop: Grand Place.
Then we headed to the Mannakin Pis. It is one of Brussels most famous attractions. 
As you can see it is a statue of a tiny man  taking a pee!! He has over 800 coustomes and if you are lucky you get to see him dressed up. Today he was representing a school, dressed in normal clothes with graduation cap.
We then met Kellen for lunch at Grand Place. And Maddie had to have a wardrobe change!
Next stop was the Kings Palace and surrounding gardens. 
We also paid a quick visit to the downtown church. 
Since Maddie goes with us everywhere, sometimes we have to improvise to get her "trolley" or stroller up and down the many flights of stairs.
We made sure Shannon's first day was topped off with a Belgian waffle!
Day Two
For our second day we decided to tour the area of Brussels where I live. We headed out early to the local bakery which has a large selection of mouth watering pastries.
After all, when in Europe why not eat a chocolate croissant everyday? We then walked to the Parc Cinquantenaire.
As we walked through the park we noticed hundreds of tour busses and wondered what was going on. Then we found out there was a huge, yet peaceful, protest about workers rights happening nearby. They had blasting music, food vendors, and thousands of people marching through the street. They were advocating for workers rights all throughout Europe and were doing it in Brussels because it is where the European Parliment meets. We walked around the European Parliment and went to the Parliment Museum. Then we went to Place Jourdan to get the most famous fries in Brussels. 
I have been told Belgium's fries are so good because they are fried two times. This makes them twice as healthy and twice as yummy!!
After a quick recharge at home we went downtown to meet Kellen for dinner.
On the menu tonight was another Belgian special: Mussels. I must say I am not a huge fan of mussels, but we ate in one of the busiest resturant districts in town so the people watching was great.
And of course we had to have one more waffle before we said goodbye to Belgium and headed to The Netherlands for the weekend.