The Beautiful Tulip Blog

The Dutch equivalent of New England leaf peeking.

We spent Thursday tulip spotting in the Dutch countryside. There are many tulip fields between our house and the ocean, so we started on the North Sea.

It looked like this.

It’s been raining and cool forever, so the sunshine was tremendous. Also tremendous was the cafe on the beach where we stopped for a snack after the dog ran herself ragged. We hadn’t sat in a cafe since before last Thanksgiving, so it was a bit of moment.

Then we wended our way home through tulip country.

The landscape between the ocean and Amsterdam in the Netherlands transforms annually into a floral sea with miles of tulip technicolor. I have written about all things tulip here if you want the backstory to this unassuming bulb gone big-time.

We passed field after field of color, and I realized that this is the Dutch equivalent of New England leaf peeking when you drive around looking at fall foliage. They may not have flaming swamp maples here for Halloween, but they certainly have fields of tulips as far as the eye can see each spring. And they also have lots of people out appreciating them.

In the end, I had to get out of the car and immerse myself. The air was sweet and thick with drunken bees, and the warmth of the sun seemed to radiate back up from the ground. Up to your knees in endless tulips feels a bit like standing in the ocean-or perhaps, like hanging out with the munchkins in the Wizard of Oz. I guess it depends on how fanciful you are.

Tracking Subtleties

I am looking for signs of spring.

This guy turned up on the roof of my old bike shed last week. Technically he is roosting atop a fine collection of wheels mostly unused due to the ongoing COVID lock down.

Recently a screech owl owned the airspace over the house for the better part of a night. It was a wild, welcome sound such as I have not heard since leaving Cape Cod.

While we stay home, the local wildlife is moving into suburban neighborhoods.

We have just moved house ourselves, so we have a new bike shed, and I think I understand how the wildlife feels. Maybe not quite of one place, hanging somewhere in between, exploring new opportunities as they present themselves, making it up as it comes.

I walk a lot in quiet places tracking subtleties.

The change of light, the water level, where the ducks are feeding.

I’m looking for signs of spring.

The first shoots of green.

Growth and renewal, hope and the moment this wild, global card game of 52 pick-up can be resolved and returned to an orderly box.

Read more from Mary Petiet

Armchair Destination: Inside the Dutch Market

Join me at the Dutch market!

Piles of earthy fall mushrooms, the latest in cauliflower, warm stroop (syrup) waffles from the grill, and generous slices of cheese to taste. Flowers galore, animal supplies, the bicycle guy, fishmongers, and a stand dedicated to fresh French fries. These colorful scenes are typical of the outdoor Dutch weekly market.

Unfortunately, here in the Netherlands COVID numbers are on the rise again which means we, like many others around the world, are spending more time in the house.

What better time to armchair travel?

Join me at the Dutch market!

Beautiful fruit for sale.

The Dutch have a lovely tradition of weekly outdoor markets. There are three markets a week within easy biking distance of our house, and each one is a visual feast with a distinct flavor.

And good deals, because the Dutch love a good deal.

So imagine yourself biking across busy streets with your marketing bags in hand, propping your bike up along with all the other bikes-I swear the bikes start chatting as soon as we leave them, they look like they’re totally hanging out together.

Now, plunge into the market with me!

Disclaimer: The following photos were taken before COVID numbers increased.

Cheese is a crucial part of the Dutch diet.
Cheese counter in action. Delicious.
You can eat these bulbs….
but you’ll want to plant these for next spring!

Raw herring at the Naarden market. Not for the faint of heart.
The fish counter!
Double yolkers are a specialty here.
Buying stroop waffle, the warm, sweet syrup waffle cookies of the Netherlands.
Fall flowers.
Your chariot awaits-or what are they talking about, anyway?

I hope everyone is well wherever you are, and you enjoyed this little trip.

I wonder what you’re cooking?

That sounds like a good story for next week.

Stay safe and happy.

Mary Petiet is the author of Moon Tide: Cape Cod Poems.

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