(My first time stitching together different pictures to make a panorama! I used autostitch's free software. I was a bit off, but overall happy with my first attempt)
We walked immediately to the windmill so we could reserve at the booth nearby a canal boat ride through the fields of tulips before the early times were all taken. While waiting for our time, we wandered around the garden until time for the boat.
(After getting a stroopwaffle for breakfast of course)
There were tulips of all sizes, of course, but also daffodils, grape hyacinth, normal hyacinth, azalea, wisteria, and more.
The canal cruise was pretty blah and got me sunburned. I had pictured a boat ride through fields of daffodils in their color rows like in all the pictures of dutch tulip fields, but did not figure in that the water would be lower than the fields--oops.
We stopped briefly at the hothouse
before heading back towards the entrance along the main pond, past more tulips of course!
There were lots of people there though, especially as the day got on. Definitely recommend getting there early. But the gardens were so beautiful with so many different types of tulips and other flowers.
We next caught a bus to Leiden right outside the entrance (maybe around 1:20 pm), a university town about a half hour from Keukenhof. The town was very pretty with (surprise, surprise) loads of canals! The bus let us off at the train station, and we walked into town over the Singel (the old town moat).
We ate lunch (greek food) on a floating platform on the canal, off Beestenmarkt.
After lunch we followed Rick Steves' walk,
up the Galgewater (Gallows water) Canal
then up to Rembrandtplein--Rembrandt was born in Leiden in 1606 and spent his childhood here, leaving for Amsterdam at 17.
We wandered down streets,
Next was a moment reminiscent of Secret Garden. We walked through this doorway on the edge of the church square,
We continued the walk on the Breestraat, past city hall
past Leiden's university,
the Gerecht (17th century court and prison),
and in the square,
with St. Peter's Church.
The Pilgrims worshipped here after leaving England in 1609 and before they came to America.
and down the lane to St. Peter's hofje (funded by donors to house poor people). These houses would be arranged around courtyards, like this one.
Next uphill to the Burcht, where a castle would have been since 1150, for views around town.
Now it is nothing but a shell surrounding huge trees.
A few more pictures as we walked full circle back to the train station.
After catching a train back to Amsterdam, we took a tram back to the Museum district from yesterday. We had seen a stand there yesterday selling ,"American hot dogs." They were a good cheap dinner (but not really typically American--not beefy or meaty enough).
We then walked up to start our canal cruise (with a glass of prosecco in hand).
When we bought our tickets in advance, we choose to start right before sunset, so we could watch the sun come down from the canal.
(So many houseboats along the way)
Afterwards we look a tram to Dam Square where we had an ice cream before walking back to the hotel.