Egmond aan Zee, the Netherlands, April 2023

Dates Visited: April 19 and April 20, 2023

Cities Visited: Amsterdam, Egmond aan Zee

Sites Visited: The beach at Egmond van Zee, Kukenhoff Gardens

Accommodations: A bit nervous about staying in the heart of Amsterdam, we found an Airbnb about 40 minutes from the airport that was located on the oceanfront in a town called Egmond aan Zee. This is a modern airbnb with direct views of the ocean and a helpful host. It’s total cost for a 2 night stay: $794.58

Breathe at Kukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands, April 2023

For years, Breathe has longed to visit the Netherlands to see the tulip fields. We timed the entire trip to coincide with the blooming of the tulips. Kukenhof is highly regarded as the place to see the most beautiful tulips. We also planned a hot air balloon ride over the fields for our second morning. While the hot air balloon ride did not work out due to the pilot deciding the winds were too strong, the weather was beautiful. While the forecast called for rain, the rain held off until after we left the gardens. It was beautiful!

As we flew into the Netherlands, Breathe could see the fields from the plane and grew excited. Flowers are very meaningful for her, and they always have been. She loves all the colors; she loves the pastel ones and the red ones. She loves the yellow ones because they are bright and the coral ones because they remind her of the sunset. Where Ireland was Alight’s dream, the tulip fields were Breathe’s. We’d originally scheduled two hours here, but ended up spending three. We could easily have spent longer.

From the moment we stepped into the gardens, we were taken aback by the bountiful flowers and vibrant colors. There were also tons of people. This man stopped us to ask if we would like him to take a picture of all of us. In talking to him, we learned he was from Nashville! When we told him that we’d just moved less than a year ago from Nashville, we laughed about what a small world it was. Kukenhof restaurant was busy, but we found a table for six and enjoyed lunch on the grounds overlooking a beautiful waterfall.

If we’d had all day, we might have taken one of the boats out on the lake that they offered, or rented a bicycle to ride on the outskirts of the gardens. Instead, we enjoyed discovering hidden gems — like the indoor area dedicated to photo opportunities.

At one point, Breathe said, “It’s like you see these pictures and you just think it’s too crazy, it’s too far away, and then — and then YOU are the one IN the pictures!” After a lovely day at the gardens, we went back to the Airbnb and waited to close to sunset before deciding to walk down to the ocean. The view from the ocean was surreal, too.

Our stay in the Netherlands was very short. We all wished we could extend it. We tried new foods (egg rolls, yummy!) and ordered mystery food from a mystery restaurant to be delivered that was actually really good. We also walked fifteen minutes to the market to get groceries for the night, and really loved seeing everyone bike — just like the pictures. The Amsterdam airport was a huge shock to us as it was massive and, by the time we made it to Egmond, we were traveled out. But, once we got to the Airbnb, the Netherlands felt very peaceful. The girls slept on the pullout sofa in the living room so they were able to wake up to the view of the ocean each morning.

And that’s a dream come true in and of itself.