Tony and I will be in The Netherlands on Saturday, the principal reason for our short getaway being to attend the European Middle School Honors Orchestra and of course, to hear our favorite violinist perform. We as a family spent a week in The Netherlands in Spring 2011, but, leave it to us, there was one quintessential Dutch icon we somehow did not see.

We bicycled around the canals and crooked houses. Amsterdam really does look like this!


And paused for photos at Amsterdam’s narrowest house. For real.

We took in the cheeses.

We took in the tulips. They are, quite literally, everywhere. Bulbs for sale in the markets…


…wooden blooms for the tourist…

…and even the other blooming plant Amsterdam is known for.

At Keukenhof, the Tulip Garden of Europe, we enjoyed a spring day outing with just a few other visitors.



(This is what happens when the children overdose on tulips. They stalked waterfowl with their cameras.)
We took the train to Bruges, Belgium for the day, passing even more tulip fields.
Beautiful Bruges.

One would be remiss not to have Moules et frites when in Belgium.

Ditto for the chocolate.
In The Hague we popped in for an up-close-and-personal with The Girl with a Pearl Earring. She really is mesmerizing.

We dropped by Binnenhof, though the Queen was not there.

After lunch, a visit to M.C. Escher’s Museum, great fun for everyone.


On the warmest of the spring afternoons we trammed to Scheveningen, The Netherlands beach along the North Sea.
Only we foolish Americans dipped our toes in the chilly water.
We even spent a day cycling through Broeck-in-Vaterland. Cows and sheep, yes. Windmills? Not a one.
We’ll have about eight hours to sightsee. Here’s to Saturday, and hopefully a windmill sighting!