The Netherlands

Secret Garden

By no means was it a secret as there were so many people there. But with 79 acres of gardens, you could find some peace and quiet. Normally the tour would go to an outdoor living history museum. As it was spring and the flowers were still in bloom, we had a treat to be able to see this magnificent flower garden. I could not get over that some of the tulip blossoms were as large as my fist — and I have some mighty big hands.

We rolled out to the bus to meet Richard, our Heidebloem bus driver for the majority of our trip. This stylish conductor was quick with a helping hand and advice as he complemented Stephanie leading our group.

We had a few hours at the garden to look around, and I found it to be an amazing experience to see and smell so many beautiful flowers in one place. It was a photographer’s dream with all the patterns and colors. We met some of the other male tour members over at the herring stand. It was our last time to try herring in the Netherlands, so we munched on herring sandwiches with onions and sweet pickles.

We wandered some more and made it to the flower stand. They were selling bulbs of the various varieties on display in the garden. All you had to do was write down the kind you wanted, and you could bring them home. I wish I would have known that to start. Oh well.

Pretty as a postcard

Traditional Dutch clothing

We got some Dutch apple pie in the cafe, and wow. That was good. They had paintings like you would imagine in Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. They were various-sized TV monitors where there was slight movement every so often. It was a fun exhibit. Found some souvenirs. We took a group photo and got back on the bus.

We hit the most amazing rest stop. Big arm chairs with fireplaces, fresh foods of all sorts, and the most amazing buffet of food with shops. Here we were introduced to pay toilets. Pay on your way into the bathroom and get a coupon for money off a product in the store. This was our goodbye to the Netherlands.

Our tour group

It’s time for Germany. Let’s go to