Posts filed under europe

Pack Your Bags: Keukenhof Tulip Festival

I can't think of many things that I welcome more than spring. The warm weather and bright skies after months of grey just... well, wake me up after a long season of watching The Good Wife and eating comfort food inside. But I can tell you now, the beauty of spring in Holland made me want to strip the tights off my body and prance around in all my pale glory.

I will say, while the site of those thousands of tulips were amazing, getting out to see them wasn't exactly the easiest thing I've ever done. So, here's a few things to help you if/when you visit Holland's famous tulip festival, Keukenhof.


WHEN IS IT: The dates shift from year to year, but it will always be- hold your breath- in the spring! The dates for 2015 are March 20th through May 17th. And while it may be "spring" earlier on in the festival, it will still be pretty chilly in the end of March and start of April. Mid-April will give you the perfect balance of seeing the tulips at their finest, as well as avoiding certain buzz kills such as... you know, snow during your visit. 



GETTING THERE: To get there, you'll need a bit of patience. If you want to get there the cheapest way, there are shuttles that run to the site from the airport. This entails a train from the main station to the airport, and then queuing in a (potentially) massive line to get on board a bus. (Note: We went on what ended up being the busiest day by x4 of the season, so our experience may be a bit outside of normal.) 

The shuttle costs (as of 2014) €23 when you buy a "Combo Ticket" which gets you transportation + admission to the park. This is the most cost-effective option, so make sure you buy this before you leave the station. 

Get more information on the site via their journey planner.



WHAT TO DO: The park is enormous. We only gave ourselves a few hours to spend there before closing, and didn't make it to half of the park. If you want to see it all- get up early and plan on spending the day out there. There are several sections to Keukenhof, and each takes longer than you may think. 

Don't miss out on the food, either. You'll find fresh waffles being sold in carts, generous cups of strawberries crowned with whipped cream, and all the other yummy treats that would make your day complete.

Don't miss the opportunity to ship some of Holland's gorgeous bulbs back to your home while you're there. The prices really aren't steep and you'll have the chance to bring a piece of the beauty of Keukenhof home with you. 



Traveling to Amsterdam? Find more of my travel tips for Amsterdam here!






*images original to Aspiring Kennedy


Posted on March 12, 2015 and filed under europe, travel, blog world, pack your bags.

Here vs. There | Dining Out


Having new students arrive so often leaves me with the chance to ALWAYS be seeing & explaining the cultural differences between the US & Britain. I also get to answer a lot of the same questions again and again. (Will they take US dollars? What is a pudding? Why is everyone so quiet on the tube? Etc.) Generally, I like it. My dorky side enjoys explaining the cultural nuances so it's pretty fun to constantly rehash the same conversations. Though I have yet to come to a good defense for their passion for meat-flavored crisps. Gag.

The biggest hurdle for visitors to adapt to in Europe is definitely dining out. The ingredients and portion sizes are always noted, but it's the speed of service that always gets people. (Do you think that they forgot about us? Do these people not want to make money? And the most popular, Where the %&$! is our bill?)

Moments like that are a definite contrast to life in the States where you can always count on being asked if you "saved any room for dessert?" as the pre-printed ticket is slid on the table. 

The pace in Europe is just... slower. It, generally, suits my style. Though sometimes I get confused in dining out in London. They seem to pick & choose between "metropolitan city" and "quaint village" paces at moments of varying discretion. Overall though, I like it lingering over a meal and sitting with a coffee for until I feel completely satisfied with food and conversation. 

What about you? Do you love it or does it drive you crazy?





*image original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on September 2, 2014 and filed under england, europe, travel, life as an expat.