Friday, 30 December 2011

New Year traditions

 (Si prefieres leer en español, sigue este enlace)
One more day and we will be saying good-bye to 2011 and welcoming a New Year. As I mentioned in my previous post, our end of year celebrations will be quite low key. No big parties or trips to dazzling European cities to welcome 2012...

Still, there are a number of things that I do like having, eating or doing for Christmas and New Year every time. I always put up a Christmas tree and decorate the house; I normally send cards to our friends and family to wish them "Happy Holidays"; I usually either buy or make the traditional panettone or pan dulce (though this year I was perfectly happy with a Dutch kerststol for Christmas; I will probably make panettone for the New Year) and I sometimes bring some turrones from Argentina to have at hand during the season.
Some of the Christmas cards I've received this year.
There are two more things I must have for New Year and they also involve food: oliebollen and las doce uvas (the twelve grapes).

Oliebollen (literally, "oil balls") are traditional Dutch  dumplings made with flour, eggs, milk, salt, baking powder and yeast, deep-fried and then dusted with icing sugar. You can make them at home, since they are easy enough to prepare; but if you are too busy during this time of the year to be bothered -or if you do not want your entire house to smell of fried food- you can buy them at the many stalls that pop up in every city or village across The Netherlands. Eaten cold or hot, plain or filled with raisins or sultanas, they are a real treat and they seem to be a permanent staple for the New Year table around here.

An oliebollen stall in my neighbourhood.

As for the twelve grapes of luck -las doce uvas de la suerte, a tradition that I have brought with me from Argentina- it is in fact, a Spanish tradition still kept in my family. When the clocks strike 12 at midnight on Nochevieja (Old Night, in Spanish), the twelve grapes are eaten, each grape representing a month and symbolising hope and good wishes for the New Year.
Sometimes it is quite a challenge to pop a grape in your mouth at each strike of the clock;  most of the time you end up either eating less than twelve grapes or choking from a full mouth while still trying to kiss those around you who are too eager to wish you a Happy New Year...

Oliebollen and the twelve grapes, my own New Year traditions.

What are your New Year traditions? Do you wear a special colour, make a toast, give someone next to you a kiss, sing Ald Lang Syne ... ?

Have a wonderful start of the New Year everyone!!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Happy Holidays!

Christmas decorations a la Argentine...

 (Para leer en español sigue este enlace)
I am finally back in the Netherlands and though I have been easing myself back into my routine for the last week and I am now operating at 85% of my usual Dutch mode (I am still having difficulties thinking in Dutch so most of the time, when addressed in this language I am still replying in either Spanish or Italian), I haven't been able to post here again until now. Hopefully my Nederlandse chip will soon be fully operational and I will be back here with my stories and photographs.

Are you getting ready for the end of year celebrations? Our Christmas/New Year holiday will be very low-impact this year - my husband and I will be staying at home or visiting friends and sharing seasonal lekkere dingen (tasty things), nothing too exciting or adventurous. No big parties planned, no huge amounts of cooking (the Argies in Dutchland food feasts will resume as of next year) and no more faraway travels for us until 2012.

Usually at this time of the year I tend to feel a bit down, mostly because I am still trying to go back to my Dutch routine and life after a long stay in Argentina. Christmas away from your homeland and your dear ones is never easy; but don't get me wrong - I count my blessings, give thanks for them and normally try to make the most of it and enjoy the festivities like everyone else.

Before closing this post, I want to thank you all for stopping by to read, comment and share on From Argentina to the Netherlands, for Love! and to wish you a brilliant Christmas and an amazing New Year!

Happy Holidays, everyone! 

Let me share with you again this year, the season's greetings I received from my friend Nico: Santa or Papá Noel as we call him in Argentina, skating around the city of Rosario. I hope you like it!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic...

 (Lee este post en español aquí)
Three months have gone by since the last time I wrote here on my blog. In the meantime, I have been travelling, working and enjoying the company of  friends and family and I cannot think of a better way to spend my days. 

This year I have been very lucky - I have been on short holidays three times: to beautiful Andalusia in Spain, to the Ardennes in neighbouring Belgium and to the Argo Saronic Islands in Greece. I fell in love with all of these places and I feel it would be a dream come true to go back to each one of them some time in the future.
In late August, my parents came all the way from Argentina to spend two months with me in The Netherlands.  It was the first time my father visited Holland, so we made sure that he got to see as much as possible and we also spent two weekends abroad in Germany and in Belgium. 

My parents during our visit at the Southern Sea Museum in the NL.

Finally, the time came to pay our annual visit to my home country, Argentina. Right when a quite unusually beautiful autumn was beginning to set in in Holland, the four of us -my parents, my husband and I-  flew together across half of Europe and over the Atlantic to land here in the southern hemisphere some 25 hours after leaving home. Here in the south Nature´s cycle is just beginning and trees are not losing their leaves but rather filling up. The usual brown and earthy colours that are so common in Córdoba, are slowly changing into green again and it is warm and sunny most of the time.

I usually feel sorry to miss the beauty of the autumn in The Netherlands, especially this year when it has been such an unusually fantastic season, judging by what I´ve seen in my friend Alison´s blog -A Flamingo in Utrecht- lately. Here are some of the shots she took around the city of Utrecht:

Autumn along the Oudegracht. ©Alison Netsel

Mist in a street in Utrecht. ©Alison Netsel.
Autumn Domtoren (Church bell tower) ©Alison Netsel
But the beauty of the spring in Argentina makes up for all that I am missing in the northern hemisphere. It is during this time of the year when the beautiful jacarandá, a typical tree of these lands, get covered in gorgeous purple flowers. I recently admired them in the photos my friend Diego -from the blog in Spanish, Contacto con lo Divino- took in Buenos Aires. Here are some of his pictures:

Jacaranda en Buenos Aires 006
Jacarandas in bloom in Buenos Aires. ©Diego Bianchi

Jacaranda en Buenos Aires 023
Beautiful light trhough the jacarandas. ©Diego Bianchi

Jacaranda Parte II
View of 9 de Julio Av. in Buenos Aires. ©Diego Bianchi

I still have three more weeks to enjoy my holiday here in Argentina, during which I hope to see more of my friends and family and enjoy visiting all the familiar places that mean so much to me ...

Hasta la próxima...!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Córdoba: la peatonal - the pedestrian area of the city

Para leer este post en español, sigue este enlace
La peatonal in the city centre of Córdoba
All the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players ... goes the saying and this is what I think whenever I am walking down the pedestrian area in Córdoba. If there is a "stage" in this city, a place where you can watch life in all its glory and also in all its .... ingloriousness walk past you, that is in la peatonal.

In Córdoba La peatonal is the commercial district of this busy city. Along calles 9 de julio, Rivera Indarte, or Dean Funes you will come across elegant shopping arcades, big department stores, chain retailers and small boutiques where you can find just about anything you might be looking for - from buttons and ribbons to household appliances and cars.

If after doing the round of your favourite shops you feel tired and in need of refreshment, you will also find here many cafés  where you can sit for a while and enjoy some coffee with pastries (try for example café Havanna at Rivera Indarte 73, where they sell the delicious Havanna alfajores) or restaurants where you can have from fast food like the classic carlitos (a toasted ham and cheese sandwich) at the traditional El Quijote Bar (Vélez Sarsfield 73), to a full three course meal at Trattoria Il Gatto (Avenida General Paz 120).

But what makes la peatonal a stage where life flows unhindered -and does it in technicolour, besides- are the cordobeses themselves, who in this part of the city are not simple passers-by but rather become main characters in a big urban play. Young and old, rich and poor, every cordobés has seen part of his or her life take place on this "stage" and everyone has a story or two to tell about it.
There is always music in every corner of la peatonal. Photo by Claudia Gibson
As a newly arrived 10-year-old I used to walk around la peatonal with my mum, eyes wide open trying hard to catch it all in: the shops, the buzz of people coming and going, the street vendors selling just about anything: fruit, watches and alarm clocks, pets, football t-shirts and hats, cubanitos and garrapiñada, toys ... a noisy and colourful mix of people, smells and sounds that have stayed with me all these years despite living on the other side of the world.

Not much has changed in this part of town. The street vendors with their stalls are still there twenty, thirty years later. They are like fixed characters in this "play"; they have names and a story that, if you walk through la peatonal every day, you end up knowing as if they were part of your own extended family.

But most of these characters from la peatonal that I knew as a little girl disappeared a long time ago, like the trio of little people -two men and a woman, all blind- who used to play traditional Argentinean music and sell lottery tickets in a fixed spot for decades and that everyone used to know as "los cieguitos" (the little blind people).
A few of today's fixed characters at la peatonal in Córdoba. Photos by Andrea Orozco.
Another such famous fixed character in the peatonal cordobesa from way before my time, was Jardín Florido, an old man who used to stand at the junction of calles 9 de julio and Rivera Indarte, always wearing a carnation blossom in the buttonhole of his coat. Jardín Florido's role in this urban play used to be that of the galant gentleman who paid compliments to the ladies walking past him in the busy peatonal.

Jardín Florido caught paying compliments to two ladies in the peatonal in Córdoba. Photo: WIkipedia
Today la peatonal continues to be the epicentre of Córdoba where people meet, shop and run their errands. It is also the place where school kids hang out between of after classes. As a secondary school student I used to walk around the Peatonal almost every day, so I have lots of memories of this hot spot of my home town.

With my friend Adriana, we used to walk down Obispo Trejo street  after our morning lessons to go to her grandparents' kiosk, situated right next to Paseo de las Flores. We would hang out there, grab something to eat and later head back for school for our afternoon class.

The Paseo de las Flores is a fake bridge used by a street vendor to display plants and flowers.
Also on our way to lunch between classes, my friend Marcela would steer me through the throngs of people in la peatonal while I read and translated for her stories like "Rebecca", "Jane Eyre" or "The Lord of the Castle", taking care that I would not trip, fall into a hole or be pushed around too much. At 14 or 15, there is of course no time to waste when your favourite love story has reached a turning point and you have to know what happens next ...never mind that we were walking in the middle of la peatonal during the rush hour!

And even once, with cousin Gloria, we stopped for a while to listen to one of the cieguitos playing a waltz and to our surprise, a man fixing the telephone lines up there on a post, came down and invited us to dance.How we laughed! I don't think that we danced with him but the attiude and friendliness of our galant telecommunications  worker certainly made our day.

The bustling centre of Córdoba with its peatonal, turns into a lively stage every day of the week with the first lights, when cordobeses by birth and by choice, tourists and travellers passing by the city, start filling up the streets with noise, colour, friendly chatter, music, the call of the vendors from the different stalls. It is never quiet, it is never still, never boring - that is for sure.


Thanks to Claudia Gibson and Andrea Orozco for letting me use their photos here in my blog.

Monday, 27 June 2011


Sweet mouthfuls from my Córdoba
(si prefieres leer este post en español, por favor, sigue este enlace)
A batch of my alfajores cordobeses filled with cherry jam

Here's some advice for you: if a colleague from work, a neighbour, your cousin, your best friend or even a certain blogger contact of yours tells you that he or she is heading for Córdoba -mostly the one in Argentina, but as you will see, it can also be the one in Spain- and he or she asks what you want as a souvenir from this exotic and far away land, make sure you remember this word and learn how to say it properly, "alfajores!" You will thank me if you do. Here is why:

What is an alfajor?

An alfajor is basically a pastry made by joining two layers of cake or biscuits with some dulce de leche, mousse or fruit jam in the middle.  Depending on where they come from, alfajores can be made in different ways, filled with different kinds of jams and either coated in white or dark chocolate, in a sugar glaze or simply covered with a dust of powdered sugar.  Take your pick, they are the sweetest mouthfuls you can ask for and they are very popular all over Argentina.

Alfajores de maicena by "The Baker's Dozen", a small business owned by a friend in Córdoba.

Where does the alfajor come from?

The alfajor (pronounced more or less alfa-HOR, plural is alfajores - alfa-HO-res) entered Spain in the times of the al-Andalus, when the whole of Spain was occupied by the Moors (from 711 to 1492 to be precise). Moorish influence in Spanish culture is still going strong to this day and it is to the Moors that we have to thank for this beautiful pastry.

Interior of the impressive mosque in the city of Córdoba (Spain) - remains of the glory of the al-Andalus.
 It was mostly in the convents all over Spain (and therefore probably in those of the old Córdoba, the one in Andalusia) where nuns kept alive many of the brilliant recipes that the Moors had introduced in Spain; and in time, it was through Spain that the tradition of the alfajor was taken to the other side of the Atlantic to the South American colonies, where the recipes changed, due to the lack of ingredients or to new habits, but where they became a favourite type of pastry across the continent.

The alfajor in Argentina:

It was also in Córdoba, but this time the new one in Argentina, where the alfajor started to be produced at an industrial scale. Back in the 1860s, Augusto Chammás, a French chemist who had settled in the mediterranean city, started a small family factory to produce what we today know as the typical alfajor cordobés. Alfajores Chammás are, in my humble opinion, still the best that you can get in Córdoba. (wink, wink ... remember this for the operation "souvenir cordobés"!)

Nowadays there are lots of different brands and factories that come up with their special type of alfajor - all or most of them ricos (tasty). Every tourist centre in the country has its own type or brand, and if you are on holidays in the hills of Córdoba, in Bariloche, or in Mar del Plata, you simply can't go back home without taking a couple of dozens for your family or friends.

The best: the alfajor cordobés
A batch of the alfajores filled with dulce the leche that I prepared recently.

Now, I wouldn't be a true Argie if I didn't claim that our alfajores from Córdoba are the best, would I? But the truth be told, I prefer alfajores that taste as artesanales (handmade) and are light and fluffy rather than creamy or chocolatey such as those you buy in any kiosco or supermarket in Argentina.
The classic alfajor cordobés is made with two layers of a crumbly, airy pastry hugging, so to speak, the fruit jam or dulce de leche in between. The most comon fruit jams used to fill them are quince, fig or apricot. The sandwich biscuits are either covered in a dusting of icing sugar or coated in an egg white glaze.

The Challenge: 

Once again, my blogger friend Katie from Seashells and Sunflowers came up with a challenge for bloggers in / from Argentina and this time it was a sweet one:  each one of the participant bloggers had to make her own regional version of alfajores.
On this occasion, the participants are (besides myself, of course):
Katie, from blog Seashells and Sunflowers
Ana, from blog Ana's Travels
Meag, from blog A Domestic Disturbance
Rebecca, from blog From Argentina, with Love
Paula, from blog Buenos Aires Foodies

Please visit Katie's, Ana's, Meag's, Rebecca's and Paula's blogs to find the other recipes for more Alfajor Heaven!

Now, if you are not so lucky as to have a work colleague, neighbour, cousin, best friend or even a certain blogger contact kind enough to bring you Chammás alfajores from Córdoba, you can always try to make your own. Here is...

the recipe for alfajores cordobeses:

Ingredients: (this recipe made me 20 alfajores, cutting the biscuits of the size of an espresso cup)

200 grams of icing sugar
6 egg yokes
50 grams of butter, melted
the zest of 1 lemon
150 grams of plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
dulce de leche or fruit jam to fill the biscuits

For the glazing:

3 spoons of icing sugar
1 egg white
100 grams of caster sugar
75 cc. of water
the juice of half a lemon


  1. Beat the icing sugar and the egg yokes until the mixture is foamy. You can do this au bain marie (placing the bowl with the mixture on top of pan with warm -not too hot- water).
  2. Add the melted butter, the plain flour, the baking powder and the lemon zest, then mix until you get a soft dough. If necessary, add some more plain flour until you see that you can lift the dough easily from the bowl. Shape the dough into two balls and place in the fridge to cool for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 160/170°C. On a floured work surface work the dough until you get a thickness of about 1/2 cm. Cut the dough into 4 cm circles using a pasta cutter or the rim of a small glass or cup.
  4. Place the biscuits obtained on an oven plaque lined with baking paper and take to the oven. 
  5. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes until done (dry but not brown), take them out and let them cool.
  6. Take one biscuit and spread some dulce de leche or the fruit jam of your choice on it, then top it with another biscuit. Repeat the process until you have used all the biscuits. 

The glazing:

  1.  Beat the egg whites and the icing sugar for about 10 minutes you obtain a thick cream.
  2. Prepare a syrup with 100 grams of caster sugar and the water (do not add much, just enough to more or less cover the amount of sugar) and put it on the gas until the sugar dissolves. 
  3. Add the syrup to the egg white mix and coat the alfajores immediately. 
  4. Let the glazing dry before serving or storing the alfajores.
The final result: my alfajores cordobeses with a white sugar and egg white coating.

A sneak preview of the other girls' alfajores for this challenge:
(you can click on the link below the photo to go to the recipes)


Thanks to my friend Claudia from "The Baker's Dozen" (Córdoba, Argentina) for letting me use her picture of the delicious alfajores de maicena.
Please, visit The Baker's Dozen Facebook page for information on their chocolaterie/patisserie and confectionery products for birthday parties and events in the city of Córdoba.Questions and orders can be sent to consultasbaker [at] hotmail [dot] com or call (54 351) 424 8715.

    Sunday, 19 June 2011

    Spotted in Belgium: Kwak beer

    (para leer este post en español, sigue este enlace)

    Actually, I first spotted this beer here in the Netherlands - at the café/restaurant De Belgische Keizer (the Belgian Emperor) in Zwolle, to be more precise. But during our recent mini-vacation in the Ardennes in Belgium, we stopped at the tavern/restaurant Le Miroir (site in French and Dutch only) in Dochamps (province of Luxemburg) for dinner and when I saw that they had Pauwel Kwak beer, I couldn't resist the temptation to order one while we waited for our dinner.

    Kwak beer is always served in glasses that have a very distinctive shape: they have a round bottom and look more like an hour-glass than like a traditional beer glass. The "hour-glass" is held upright in a wooden stand and the whole thing looks like a piece of scientific tool more fit to be displayed in a lab than in a bar. It is certainly quite original.

     I have had Kwak many times before but I never got round to finding more about the origin of this beer. This time as  soon as I came back from our holiday and started working on my vacation photos, I thought I would just do some research and see what I could find about it.

    Back in Napoleon's times, Pauwel Kwak was a beer brewer and owner of an inn called "De Hoorn" (the horn) in Dendermonde, East Flanders. Every day the stage-coaches passing by would stop at the inn to take a break. In those days, the coachman was not allowed to leave the horses and the coach outside and join his passengers for a drink inside the inn, so Mr. Kwak, the owner of this particular inn came up with an idea.
    He had a special Kwak glass made: round-bottomed, which could be hung from a wooden holder to prevent it from spilling the precious liquid. In this way, the thirsty coachman, could safely enjoy his Kwak beer without leaving his coach and the horses unattended.

    Kwak beer is still today brewed and served in the traditional way: in the Kwak glass. But what about the taste? I do not know much about beers, but I can tell you that this one is delicious, like many other Belgian beers that I have tasted so far. To the eye it has a deep clear amber colour and a creamy thick foam. It also has a soft  fruity  and a malty aroma with a light herbal character. When you drink it, the taste starts with the fruit - maybe bananas or ananas... and it is sweet: it always makes me think of caramel. After you drink it, there is a light bitterness and spiciness that remains in the back of your tongue.

    Pauwel Kwak is a traditional Belgian beer with a story behind it. Original and lekker (delicious) - definitely at the top of my list of favourite beers.

    Friday, 10 June 2011

    Visitng Zeeland II: The Oosterscheldekering or Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier

    (Si prefieres leer este post en español, sigue este enlace)
    The piers and slides of the Eastern Scheldt barrier in the province of Zeeland.

    With the official inauguration of the storm surge barrier in the Oosterschelde (the Eastern Scheldt river) on 4 October 1986, Queen Beatrix declared the Delta Plan works in the Netherlands completed. More than ten years later she did that again when she opened the last section of the Nieuwe Waterweg Dam on 10 May 1997. It doesn't matter how many times it needs to be said; one thing is for sure: The Netherlands has definitely tamed the power of the sea - or at least, that is what we like to hear from those who have in their charge the management and the overseeing of the dikes and dams in this country.

    With 60% of its territory under the sea level, the Netherlands is world renowned for its Delta works - a series of construction projects designed to protect a large area of the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta from the destructive power of the sea. Bearing these facts in mind when I moved to the Netherlands,  I thought that I had to pay a visit to the monumental sea barrier  and see for myself this ingenious work of engineering.

    This is why the main purpose of our holiday in the southern province of Zeeland was to stop at the Oosterscheldekering or Eastern Scheldt Storm Surge Barrier - the most impressive storm surging structure in the Netherlands.

    The Oosterschelde or Eastern Scheldt Storm Surge Barrier.
    This is what the Oosterschelde Storm Surge Barrier looks like on Google Maps:

    The construction of this sea barrier cost an impressive total amount of 2.5 billion euros; but even more impressive is what it is supposed to have achieved: thanks to this monumental barrier the chances of having a destructive flood like the one that the country suffered in 1953, have gone down to one in every ... 4.000 years!

    Driving on the Oosterschelde barrier you can get a closer look at the piers and slides that make up the construction.

    The alternative plans for the Oosterschelde: 
    Initially, this section of the Eastern Scheldt delta was to be closed with a regular dam that would completely block the sea. But even though safety was the top priority, there were serious concerns about the consequences that this kind of barrier would have on the ecosystem of the delta. The alternative then, was to build a barrier consisting of piers with slides that were to be kept open, but which could be closed if there was any risk of flood.
    The cost of executing this plan as it was originally intended would have been astronomical and therefore, after much discussion in Parliament, it was finally decided that the best alternative was to build two auxiliary dams (the Philips dam and the Oester dam) to reduce the surface of the open barrier and, at the same time, allow for a better control of the tidal movement. The new plan also included a tide-free shipping route between Antwerp and the Rhine.

    Everything seem to be working properly when I "inspected" the Oosterschelde Storm Surge Barrier in 2008.

    Nature in the Oosterschelde:
    The sea/ landscape and wild life in the Oosterschelde is now quite unique with a rich variety of fish, water plants and algae. The reserve is also a favourite with an amazing number of birds that feed or hibernate on the land. All this wonderful natural environment would have been completely lost if the original plan to close the Eastern Scheldt had been carried out and also mussel and oyster farming would have been affected with disastrous economic conseequences for the entire region.
    Fortunately, the alternative chosen for this amazing piece of engineering seems to have been a success; not only to keep the sea level under control, but also for the preservation of the natural habitat of hundreds of different species.

    The Oosterschelde storm surge barrier is a must-see for anyone who wants to know what makes the Dutch people proud. Windmills, tulips, cheese and wooden shoes you can take back with you as souvenirs (you will find plenty of these at the Schiphol Duty Free shop and you can even order them online); but the water works and what they have done for the safety of the Dutch coast can only be truly appreciated in-situ. Open your eyes, take it in, enjoy ... and learn.

    There is a fun way to get to know  more about the Delta Works and sea life in Zeeland: the Delta park Neeltje-Jan, built on an artificial island on the Oosterschelde offers exhibitions and educational activities together with fun attractions like a sealion theatre, a hurricane simulator and many, many more interesting things to do or see, making it is an ideal place to spend time with the children. On their website you can find all the information necessary to plan your visit.

    A plaque placed at one of the ends of the barrier reads in Dutch:

    "Hier gaan over het tij, de wind, de maan en wij."
    (Here rule over the tide, the wind, the moon and us)

    You may also like to read: The light breeze of Zeeland and Visiting Zeeland I: Middelburg.

    Sunday, 15 May 2011

    A Bread Pudding Tale: There and Back Again

     (si prefieres leer este post en español, haz clic aquí)

    A few weeks ago Katie -author of Seashells and Sunflowers- launched an Argentine Recipe Contest on her blog and I decided to enter with a recipe for budín de pan al caramelo, a dessert that is quite popular in Argentinean cooking and which I have been making quite often since I moved to The Netherlands, especially when I feel a bit homesick... Well, it seems that Katie liked the recipe and decided to choose it as a finalist for the contest!! 

    Reading her post and looking at the photos of her version of the budín made think of the journey this recipe has made: I brought it to The Netherlands when I came from Argentina for love; and it has now made the journey back to its place of origin where American expat Katie moved some time ago, also for love!

    For those of you who were looking forward to reading the recipe for budín de pan when I posted about the  Argies in Dutchland food parties, here is the link to Katie's post about the bread pudding she made with the recipe I sent her for the contest.

    Photo ©katiemetz

    Thursday, 5 May 2011

    Spotted in The Netherlands: tulip fields on the Northeast Polder

    (haciendo clic aquí puedes leer la versión en español)
    Tulips from the Noordoostpolder in the province of Flevoland.
     At this time of the year in Holland the fields are transformed into a spectacular display of colour: it is the tulip season! In the months of April and May 10.000 hectares across The Netherlands burst with the colours of approximately 3 billion tulips in bloom and the landscape looks like a giant caleidoscope of spring beauty.

    Tulips are considered a symbol of The Netherlands all over the world and every year thousands of tourists visit the country to admire the bulbs in full bloom during the spring months. The Keukenhof - the largest flower garden in the world situated not far from Amsterdam - alone receives 800,000 visitors per year attracted by the popular tulips.

    Typical Dutch landscape on the Northeast Polder, near Blankenham.
    However, the largest cultivated areas are not located in the west (North or South Holland) but in the Noordoostpolder (northeast polder) in the province of Flevoland with 2,000 hectares of bulb fields.

    A red sea of tulips, near Bant, in the Noordoostpolder.
    Last Saturday during our trip from Zwolle to the club where my husband practices clay pigeon shooting every week, we made several stops and detours on the way to admire the beautiful landscape and take some photographs. We were not the only ones: lots of people in cars, on bikes, on foot, were following the bulb route [bollenroute] in Flevoland and enjoying a warm sunny day.

    A farm house in Blankenham, Noordoostpolder.
    If you are interested in exploring the youngest province in the country and seeing what Flevoland has to offer, you can visit the VVV website here: Ook Flevoland. Also, the VVV office in the Noordoostpolder has information about local events and attractions: VVV Noordoostpolder; and from this website, you can get more information about the Tulpenfestival there and download the tulpenroute for your GPS or print it if you want.

    Endless sea of tulips on the Noordoostpolder, near Luttelgeest.

    A tulip field in the Noordoostpolder, Flevoland.