My relationship with the Tulips started when I was a little munchkin. You see, although it is a skill that I long to have, I cannot draw! When you are a primary-school child of the female variety you are surrounded by drawings of hearts and flowers. Flowers would have to have been my most practiced drawing and yet never perfected, until I met the Tulip. Perfect! A flower that resembles a crown-easy, a flower I can draw. When that little girl grew up she met a man with Dutch heritage, who gave her a bunch of blooming white Tulips as his very first romantic gesture of the floral variety. We won’t go into the fact that he threw the bulbs (that may have been stored in the fridge) in the bin – but redeemed himself by sending a bunch of white Tulips to my Ma’s house on our wedding day. As you can see I am a little attached to the beautiful blooms, so it was with excitement that I headed off to the Tesselaar Tulip Festival (with munchkins in tow).
Arriving at the ticket booth I was greeted by a very Dutch looking woman dressed in the traditional costume of the Netherlands. Immediately snap shots of our trip to Volendam flashed through my mind’s eye. There we dressed up as traditional Dutch folk –clogs and all (including munchkin, only the cutest thing you ever did see) for a photo memory that will be cherished for years to come. Son-shine and I headed straight for the tulips and literally immersed ourselves in the beauty of the flower famously used as currency in the Netherlands. I understand the reason they were so highly sort after, and on mass they are breath taking. Munchkin loved getting his gumboots dirty and throwing himself into the record breaking ‘Giant Clog’. The Tulip Field is dotted with sculptures, don’t be surprised to see the Eiffel Tower, windmills, a lady dancing and protecting the lower boundary a mob of kangaroos. As you can imagine my son was taken more by the Microflite’s helicopter parked in the neighbouring paddock than by the clog, sculptures and tulips combined.
Next on the agenda -food. Our visit coincided with Dutch Weekend, so on the menu were all our favourites from Holland. First course: Poffetjes, these are mini pancakes with a light, fluffy texture and traditionally served with butter and icing sugar. Second course: Beef Croquets, traditionally served with a squirt of mustard, however, for our family mayonnaise is the ultimate accompaniment for this traditionally fast food. The Dutch food available was extensive: Oliebollen (Dutch style doughnuts with raisins), herring, Stroopwafel (two thin layers of waffle with a caramel syrup filling, when fresh these are amazing!!!), the list goes on. While enjoying some caramelised almonds we wandered through the top gardens and stumbled upon the Fairy Hollow (Gnome Garden) which took me straight back to my childhood – I would have loved one of these in my backyard. There was at least another 45 minutes of exploring to be had, with a good 10 minutes of that spent admiring the most amazing weeping blossom I have laid my eyes on.
The Tesselaar Tulip Festival was a beautiful and colourful experience , with many opportunities to educate children on the Dutch heritage of the flower. It was an afternoon of nostalgia and excitement for my son. Although the highlight was seeing the Microflite helicopter take off, these little experiences (with European influences) will help keep the travel memories alive and continue to feed the gratitude of living in such a diverse and culturally rich country.