Flowers and Blue Skies

Early spring tours are always fun on the Best of Europe itinerary.  With the tulips in bloom we get the bonus stop of Keukenhof - the world’s most spectacular flower garden.  It is sponsored by the consortium of Dutch flower growers as a showpiece each spring.  Its amazing.  Several exhibition pavilions house exotic blumes and showpiece arrangements and the grounds are manicured down to each blade of grass with hundreds of planted flower beds.  The massive grounds are punctuated with sculptures, fountains, playground equipment, viewing platforms, shops, and fun photo “cutouts”.  I’ve been here a half dozen times or so and the myriad colors, shapes, and smells never fail to impress.  This year the Dutch had a cold winter, meaning the field tulips bloomed late this year.  Good luck for us.  We passed several fields of tulips - like multicolored carpets.  In fact, I think the carpet effect is even more impressive than the perfectly maintained and shaped beds of Keukenhof.After lovely weather on the Rhein and Romantic Road, we had some rain in Bavaria while visiting Dachau and Ludwig’s castles.  But our weather luck returned upon crossing the alps and Italy has been sunny and warm.  On our arrival day in Venice, recent rain had cleared the skies and we could see the distant Dolomites from the top of the Camponile.  As a bonus, there was a small regatta in the lagoon basin in front of the Doges Palace.I arranged an extended gondola ride for my group and it was the most enjoyable I’ve ever had.  Elizabetta was in top form and the mask making demonstration we’ve done in recent years was a big hit.  I’d say this was one of the best Venice visits I’ve had in many years.