Everything’s coming up roses….

Floriade 1

The Floriade 2012, an international horticultural exhibition held once in every ten years in the Netherlands, was what prompted the trip that I took to the Netherlands and Paris last September. I thought it would be something that my mum could really enjoy while she is still physically able to make such a trip, and the thought of having to wait another ten years for it to come around again, had seemed a little daunting.

And so, despite having read some rather lacklustre reviews and not so favourable feedbacks from some of the online forums and discussions relating to the Floriade this round, we still went ahead with the initial plans and made our way to Venlo by way of a two-hour train ride from Rotterdam Centraal.

Floriade 3

The weather upon arrival at Venlo was as fine a day as any we could have asked for, to be spending it out in the open. There was a reasonable crowd moving along with us as it happened to be a Saturday, but queues were quick to move and overall there wasn’t too much of a hassle with the transit from the train station to the actual venue.

Floriade 18The Floriade had 40 over participating countries with their different themed pavillions spread out over 66 hectares of converted farmland and woods. And in keeping with a green ethos, the infrastructure built for the Floriade 2012 will be put to good use as an industrial park after the fair is over.

Floriade 11

Floriade 12
The raw wooden path.

As I have pretty much forgotten most of the details from the event (being the non-horticulturist that I was/am), I think I shall just let the pictures do the talking here, if you don’t mind. 😉

Floriade 16

Floriade 2

Floriade 10

Floriade 4

Floriade 5

Floriade 6

Floriade 7

Floriade 19

Floriade 8

Floriade 9

Floriade 15

Floriade 14

Floriade 20
The Green couch.

Floriade 17

Floriade 13Beautiful landscape designs truly does have a calming effect on the mind, while pleasing the senses at the same time. Although my mum and I were just going about the grounds as if we were taking an afternoon stroll, we did come away with more than just a pleasant stroll in the park as the Floriade was certainly not lacking in its offering of informative exhibits that were helpful in raising environmental awareness and some pertinent issues.

All in, we did enjoy our day out among the greens and other vibrant colours of flowers in bloom, while being inspired by some of the innovative ideas being presented. It was a rather refreshing experience, I must say.

The windmills of Kinderdijk

Kinderdijk, a small village only 16 kilometres off Rotterdam, is unique for its impressive network of 19 well-preserved windmills built in the mid-eighteenth century. To get here, one can easily get onto a boat that cruises along the Maas River, starting from Rotterdam right up to this little village. The hour-long cruise is also able to offer one the experience of enjoying Rotterdam’s refreshing skyline of creative architecture at the same time. Much recommended.

It was a truly windy day, as I supposed is befitting that of a backdrop of windmills.
It had been drizzling for most part of the cruise and we were rather worried looking at the dark clouds looming in the sky. Thankfully, the weather held out for us when we got to the windmills.
I would imagine that it must be rather lovely being the occupants of this pretty house along the river banks with a view of windmills stretched out before you.
This was the view I meant.

I wouldn’t mind settling down on this bench with a good book, or a good friend.
The long way home…. bidding farewell to the windmills of Kinderdijk as we make our way back to Rotterdam.
Making the most of the remaining hours of daylight left when we got back to Rotterdam city centre.
And to my pleasant surprise, this was what I chanced upon! A branch of the largest used bookstore in Amsterdam. Joy, oh joy! I came away with a pristine copy of The Diary of Virginia Woolf (Volume Two). A perfect end to a beautiful day. 🙂

Venice of the Netherlands: Giethoorn

Giethoorn, a village in the Dutch province of Overijssel, is also called the Venice of the Netherlands, as there are about 7.5 km of canals running through this little village. In the old part of the village, there were no roads (but nowadays one can find a cycling path), and all transport was done by water over one of the many canals. It took about an hour and 50 minutes by train from Amsterdam Central, and another 20 minutes by bus from the Steenwijk station, for us to get to this idyllic water village.

Pretty cottages can be seen all along the canal banks.
Plenty of arts and crafts/ gift shops as well as eateries for visitors to pop into as they go exploring the village on foot.
And for those who prefer the nature side of things, one can enjoy views of cows grazing by the banks…..
….. or ducks swimming across the canals.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if one were to wake up to a view like this every morning?

We found Giethoorn to be a great choice for taking a day trip out of Amsterdam, and it is definitely a place I don’t mind returning to if ever I find myself to be around that corner of the world again.

And this was where we would have headed to next, if only we had not miss our interchange on the way back to Amsterdam and ended up going all the way to Rotterdam instead! :p
Well, another time perhaps….