INSPIRATIONAL TRAVEL BUCKET LIST ITEMS IN AUSTRALIA TO SEE WHEN THE PANDEMIC IS OVER

I do like a good “pipedream” where my mind takes me away to a different place or time, where I think about the myriad of things I would like to see or do within my lifetime. “Pipedreams” keep me sane during the pandemic as I compile a list of inspirational travel destinations in my mind for a brighter day ahead when the travel restrictions are lifted.

  1. Lake Hillier or any of the “pink lakes” in Australia is truly a bubble-gum color pink lake on the northern shore “Middle Island”. This island is a remote area accessible by tours only. Contact the following site to get more information about how to book an aerial or boat tour to see the island from a distance.

https://www.visitesperance.com/contact-us

photo courtesy of HillierLake.com

It is thought that the pink hue in the lake is from the organism  Dunaliella salina, which thrive in salty environments like the pink lakes. The carotenoid red pigments secreted by Halobacteria and d. salina are responsible for the pink lakes’ otherworldly colors. These same algae also flourish in the Dead Sea.

If Lake Hillier is too remote a location to get to for you, you might try one of several other “pink” lakes in Australia such as those in this article below:

https://www.australia.com/en-us/things-to-do/nature-and-national-parks/australias-pink-lakes.html

2. See the wild kangaroos on a white sand beach in Lucky Bay near Esperence, Australia

photo courtesy of https://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/site/lucky-bay (Steven de Geus)

3. Snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef

Photo by John Cahil Rom on Pexels.com

Life is good; find some remote place you’ve always wanted to travel to and find a way after the pandemic is over. Life is short, and we have only “these five minutes” within our lifetime to make the best of it as I always say.

Carpe Diem, friends…………..

ROLLING THROUGH ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO

While driving through New Mexico a few years back, we just HAD to stop in Roswell, New Mexico for a laugh or two and certainly a few great photo ops. Roswell is the fifth largest city in New Mexico, and the city really got on the map in the 1940s when a military balloon crashed in a nearby area. Residents were convinced that this was a UFO, but the military maintained that it was a weather balloon. Conspiracy theories were created and gained interest, especially in the 1970s, when some conspiracy theorists suggested that an alien was onboard the alleged UFO.

I’m not sure of the validity of any of these claims, but it sure seemed like a fun place to visit. I would suggest only driving through the place, as the alien/UFO area is pretty seedy at the present time. However, many things on this stretch of road, route 285 or Main Street, leading through the city have alien-themed photo ops. Even the McDonalds is saucer-shaped.

Even the lamp posts on the streets had alien-themed lights. This is the ultimate kitschy place and a hoot to roll through.

One place that was an interesting, albeit short, stop was the International UFO Museum and Research Center, where there were many displays about the history of the alien hype.

Display at the International UFO Museum and Research Center

By far my favorite place in Roswell is the Alien Zone shop, however. For just a few dollars, you can go into this seedy (and frankly dirty) little place where you can take funny pictures with “aliens.” This place is priceless in my opinion for kitschy photo ops. Granted I wanted to go back to the hotel to take a shower after posing with some of these old props that could have used a good cleaning, it was worth the laughter thereafter.

There are several “scenes” where you can walk into and take pictures. Some of the scenes are better than others but definitely worth a few dollars (if you have some hand sanitizer).

Traveling through New Mexico, you just have to roll through Roswell for a few laughs if nothing else. It is out of this world.

Life is good; find somewhere kitschy to take photos and laugh thereafter, LONG after.

Carpe diem, friends…………………….

WHITE SANDS NATIONAL PARK IN NEW MEXICO

A few years back I remembered reading about a place where one can actually go “sledding” down a hill of white sand. Longing to teach my Florida child, “Teen Traveler” a bit about another kind of sledding, I couldn’t wait to go there. We planned a trip to New Mexico to see this incredible place of large dunes. I learned this white sand isn’t really sand at all but really is gypsum, a mineral that covers about two hundred and seventy-five square miles of desert in New Mexico. Gypsum is used for many things, I learned. It can be used as plaster in surgical casts, as an additive in many foods (ice cream and tofu among others), for brewing beer and mead, for creating drywall, wallboard, plasterboard, for binding tennis court clay, as molds for dental impression plasters, as a hardening agent in Portland cement, in chalk, in hair products and even in some toothpastes.

White Sands National Park, known as the world’s largest gypsum dunefield, is located approximately fifteen miles southwest of Alamagordo. Some time during World War II, the military started using this place for scientific research and missile testing in the area. Missile tests are still conducted near here from time to time. The dunes are sixty feet high in some spots and are breathtaking to see. The bright blue sky against the whitish dunes is remarkable, almost other worldly.

There are picnic areas and limited back country camping allowed in some spots here. At the visitor center, you can purchase a round saucer-type plastic sled along with some wax to coat the bottom of the sled to make it easier to slide down the dunes. You may also bring your own plastic sled from home, as this is allowed. Round saucer-type sleds seem to work best, though. Sledding is lots of fun here, and so is climbing back up to the top of the dunes afterwards. Although currently closed because of the covid pandemic, normally the visitor center is open 364 days a year (closed on Christmas). The visitor contains a gift shop with snacks and drinks, too, along with rest rooms. There is no water available on the dune fields, so plan ahead. It can get very hot out there.

Life is good. Go out and have some fun all over again. Sledding for both children and adults is a blast.

Carpe diem, friends………………

KASHA-KATUWE TENT ROCKS IN NEW MEXICO

I am well on my way to finishing one of my “bucket list” items, to visit all fifty states during my lifetime. To date, I have visited thirty-eight states so far. That means only TWELVE states remaining to visit.

Not too long ago, we visited New Mexico because we had never been there. I was especially interested in visiting Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument because I love geologic formations. Located about forty miles from Santa Fe, New Mexico, in north central New Mexico, these breathtaking rock formations were formed by volcanic activity six to seven million years ago. The landscape here is breathtaking with its pointed cones, or hoodoos, of pumice, ash and tuff.

Stunning pinkish and gray stripes on the hoodoos are the result of layers of volcanic material that were deposited there.

If you are ambitious, you can hike three hundred feet to get to the top of the mesa for a spectacular view (of COURSE we did it).

Hours of operation are between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., with the last entry at 4:00 PM. Entrance fees are $5.00 for groups of up to eight people. While there are restrooms on site, it is important to bring your own canteen or water bottle, as there is no drinking water available there.

The hoodoos of the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument in New Mexico were worth the trip in my opinion. These pointed hoodoos were like nothing I’ve ever seen before and took my breath away.

Life is good. Try to find something that takes your breath away today and make a plan for the time when you can travel again. Armchair travel to places I’ve been or to places I want to go keeps me sane while living life through a lens and self-isolating during this pandemic.

Carpe diem, friends…………………

OF POSTPONING A TRIP TO EGYPT DURING THE PANDEMIC AND LOOKING FORWARD TO NEW POSSIBILITIES

Credit: Dreamstime

This month, in about five days from now, I would have boarded a plane to Cairo if it weren’t for the Covid pandemic. I had decided earlier in the year that this was the right time to cross off one of my bucket list items, for a variety of reasons. I had always wanted to go to Egypt, and I decided that there is no time like the present. I did a great deal of research but was conflicted about going on my trip this month. I also was unsure whether it was a good time for me to go or to wait until later in the year when the new Grand Egyptian Museum was slated to open near the pyramids. This new museum is going to be huge, as it is planned to house the full collection of Tutankhamen artifacts for the first time because of the greater space available. This museum will be located right near the pyramids, will showcase over fifty thousand artifacts, and will occupy one hundred and twenty acres of land with an anticipated five million visitors per year (as estimated prior to the pandemic). Construction started on the new museum in 2002 but was delayed for a variety of reasons.

Exterior of the New Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza in May, 2019, ID 179650933 © Mirko Kuzmanovic | Dreamstime
Interior of the New Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, ID 152129802 © Gabriela Beres | Dreamstime

Head of a Statue of Pharaoh Akhenaten Amenhotep IV at The Grand Egyptian Museum, ID 152068761 © Gabriela Beres | Dreamstime

Marriott Mena House, ID 166944273 © Joe Sohm | Dreamstime

I had planned on staying at the historic Marriott Mena House with a pyramid facing balcony room for a few nights. This historic hotel is only about a half a mile away from the pyramids and has a fascinating back story. Originally built in 1869 as a hunting lodge, it is the site of the first swimming pool in Egypt in 1890. While the original house is still on the premises and is currently being renovated, there is a newer more modern section of the hotel on the property as well. Prince Albert of England, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Winston Churchill, Richard Nixon, Charlie Chaplin, Frank Sinatra, and Agatha Christie are among the many esteemed guests who have stayed at this hotel in the past. From there, I could have walked to the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, but for safety concerns, I was going to have a private tour arranged to take me there and into the Khan el-Khaliki bazaar, or souk, in Cairo, which dates back to the fourteenth century. I was thinking I might bring a lantern or two back from Egypt to hang in my tree near the pool at home. I decided I would also go to the current Cairo Museum of Antiquities as well, but really wanted to see the new Grand Egyptian Museum, had it been already opened, instead. Life is full of trade-offs.

Khan el-Khalili bazaar in Cairo, ID 141785909 © Merydolla | Dreamstime

I had also planned on going aboard a Nile River Cruise aboard the MS Esplanade, stopping in Luxor to see the Luxor Temple and the Karnak Temple (the largest religious building ever constructed). I chose the MS Esplanade, in part, because of the wonderful daybeds on the top sun deck that would allow me to relax and keep cool along the journey down the Nile. After Luxor, we would have sailed to Aswan to see the Temple of Horus at Edfu, a Nubian village, the Temple of Philae (dedicated to the worship of the Godess Isis), and the High Dam. A final stop on the itinerary included a visit to the Valley of Kings.

I remember seeing a fragment of the Karnak Temple as a young girl in the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, along with a sarcophagus and knew the moment I saw them I wanted to go to Egypt some day. It was so exciting to think I would actually walk in the Karnak Temple in May when I was researching my trip to Egypt earlier this year. Trip to Egypt. Goal Set. Trip to Egypt. Goal would have been met.

Karnak Temple, Luxor (Dreamstime)

As part of my research, I learned that the only travel advisory in Egypt, prior to the Corona pandemic, was regarding the Sinai Peninsula and the Western Desert, two areas I had planned to avoid because of the greater possibility of terrorist activity. I knew I needed to be alert and aware of my surroundings in Egypt otherwise, which is something I normally am during any trip. I also had planned to avoid any mosque, church, or temple to keep my trip a little safer.

I learned a few things in my research that surprised me. There are very few crocodiles (maybe not any at all) in the Egyptian Nile any longer, despite them being worshipped in Ancient Egypt. Evidently the construction of the High Dam pushed them closer to Lake Nassar instead. Also, I found it very interesting, albeit disappointing, that there are no hippopotamuses in this section of the Nile either, as they are extinct in this region even though they were present there in ancient times. Hippo hunting and drying of the region has led to their extinction here in more modern times.

I am very disappointed that my trip has been postponed because of the pandemic, but I try to look on the bright side, even for this trip. I was hard pressed to decide whether to go to Egypt in the spring or to wait until the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo later in the year. It seemed the best option at the time to go in the spring of this year, as the political climate was a bit more settled than it had been in recent years since the Arab Spring in 2011 and the ouster of President Mubarek in the aftermath. The economy in Egypt had improved a bit last year, yet the American dollar was still strong. Incidents of terrorism were reduced in and around Cairo and the Nile valley than they had been in years, too. Tourists were beginning to return to Egypt in greater numbers, and it was finally a good time to return to Egypt again before the pandemic. However, at this time, flights have been recently suspended into and out of Egypt for the time being, so I am grateful I was not stuck in Egypt had I traveled there. Being quarantined and having difficulty returning home to the States would have definitely been difficult.

When I will head to Egypt is still up in the air, but one thing is certain. That is, I will get there, and it is only a matter of time. I have my heart set on riding a camel there, too. It’s all about the photo op, right? Maybe I might add in a layover somewhere special along the way, too. Swimming in the Dead Sea might be fun in Hurghada, which isn’t part of the Sinai Peninsula. Guess that’s the upside as well.

Life is good. Look forward to something you were planning before the Covid pandemic hit and start planning it all over again for sometime in the near future. Make it happen. Goal set; goal met soon.

There is always tomorrow to look forward to; carpe diem, friends………….

(I was going to book my trip through Memphis Tours, as they have been in operation for a very long time in Egypt and have great reviews. Another company, Liberty Travel Egypt is worth taking a look at as well. )

https://www.memphistours.com/

https://www.liberty-int.com/our-destinations/egypt/?fbclid=IwAR1hyguRCxLfWo2A7sEEuoH7AtMWrytN5c8EzS7EnacoRz3U1W1tAGZ-5z8

COPING WITH CORONA….SCAVENGER HUNT AND BLACK SAND

Wanderlust? Stuck inside? Same here. I turn to memories of travels in times past to keep myself sane.

While visiting French Polynesia, I flew to Tahiti for a day, longing to find a beach with black sand. I flew into Fa’a’ā International Airport in Tahiti, armed with a little bit of the French language under my belt and a lot of adventure in my soul.


Even the plane to Tahiti is colorful

As soon as I got off the plane, I knew I needed to rent a car to go on my scavenger hunt (if only in my mind) to find a black sand beach. I stopped at one car company and was aghast at the rate they would charge me for less than a full day rental. The attendant was surprised that I could speak French, as I am sure he wanted to take advantage of this five foot American woman traveling alone, so I said thanks and moved on to the next car rental agency. At the next car rental agency, it was the same story with a slightly better rate, so again I moved on. They say “three is a charm” so I settled on a car rental from the third agency, whose rate was still high but a bit more realistic. The rate for less than twenty-four hours was equivalent to what we might pay for a three day rate here in the States.

A business in Tahiti

With a rudimentary map I picked up at a tourist kiosk at the airport, which listed only the highlights of the island, I set off for my adventure. I decided to pull over at a local business (Intersport) to seek clarification of the map. I walked into the shop and was greeted with a smile by a kind man. In French, I told him I was looking to find a beach with black sand, as I wanted to take some home to my daughter, and showed him my crude map of the island. Again, he laughed and gave me instructions (in French) to the black sand beach. As best as I remember, his instructions were something like go to the third red light, take a left, then take a right, etc….I thanked him and then set off on my adventure. I was delighted that one can travel half way around the world to still find a kindred spirit and kindness. The man laughed with me, not at me, and called me a “Cowboy”. Evidently he understood the wanderlust deep in this American soul. The language may be different than that which we are accustomed, but there is so much similarity between people from all parts of the world. Kindness, humor, gratitude, confusion, amusement, and respect are all part of the universal language we share with people all over the world.

It had been a while, several decades maybe, since I drove a “stick shift”, or car with a manual transmission. The road was very steep in some parts, but I was committed to finding that black sand. I was also VERY committed to finding an adventure.

Black sand beach in the north of Tahiti

I had been to a black sand beach in Hawaii before, but it had been many years. There is something other-wordly about seeing black sand radiating beneath my feet. I knew from my college days of Geology 101 that Tahiti was formed by two volcanoes, so the black sand is actually pieces volcanic rock. Continuous weathering of the rock replenishes the sand through the years as well.


Basalt volcanic rocks

After getting my sand in my little bottle I purchased at some little gift shop along the way, there was a smile in my soul when I finished my scavenger hunt and was ready to enjoy all else the island offered.

I stopped in the Marché de Pape’ete (Pape’ete Market) which is famous for its sights, sounds, and smells of authentic Polynesian life.

Marché de Pape’ete in the capital
Fish for sale at the market
Sign at the Tahiti Market that reads, ” Before Dying I Would Like….”

I encountered a blackboard at the market with a sort of “bucket list” written by visitors, which made my heart smile. Others everywhere had “bucket lists” and were checking off items one by one I’m sure.

One visitor wanted to travel the world. Another wanted to live in Tahiti with a spouse. Another wanted to find his love. Another wanted to return to Polynesia. Yet another wanted to build a big house for her children. I didn’t write on the board; I kept my “bucket list” in my soul.

After my journey, I was able to get back to the resort to relax a bit to sit in a comfortable egg chair with a good book in my hand and the scent of frangipani wafting through the air.


A Tahitian sunset



“I’ve seen a black sand beach
stranger than any foreign world
where King Poseidon draped in seaweed
once walked upon the Earth–”

-“Black Sand Beach” by Bret Norwood

Life is good. See the sights. Smell the scents. Taste the flavors. Carpe diem friends………….

“I’ve seen a black sand beach
stranger than any foreign world
where King Poseidon draped in seaweed
once walked upon the Earth–”

-“Black Sand Beach” by Bret Norwood

COPING WITH CORONA….VANILLA AND TEMPORARY TATOOS IN TAHAA (Armchair travel to French Polynesia)

Temporary Tatoos in Tahaa? Time for armchair travel to a warm, sunny place….. French Polynesia. Armchair travel in my mind keeps me sane amidst the Corona pandemic.

While visiting French Polynesia, a country comprised of more than one hundred islands located in the South Pacific, I took a tour of one of the islands there, Tahaa. Tahaa is ninety square kilometers (about thirty five square miles) and simply breathtaking. While driving along this island, located on the leeward (western) side of French Polynesia, our guide pulled over to the side of the road to pick a wild fern.

The fern has silvery white powdery spores on its backside.

When you place the backside of the fern against your skin and press for a few seconds, the spores leave an imprint on your skin which resembles a white tattoo. This spore powder doesn’t easily rub off and remained on the my skin for the duration of the day, coming off only when I washed it with soap and water later at my resort.

The thought of a tattoo on my arm did not especially appeal to me, but the thought of a “temporary tattoo” imprint from the spores of this natural plant intrigued me.

For the next stop on our tour, we visited a vanilla plantation. Tahaa is known as “l’île de la vanille” in French, ( “Vanilla Island”), as this island produces about eighty percent of Tahitian vanilla.

Vanilla growing in Tahaa

The vanilla plant is part of the orchid family, and the wet climate and altitude of this part of the world is great for growing this vanilla. La Vallée De La Vanille, an organic vanilla plantation, was an amazing place to visit.


vanilla normally produces flowers in a short season (May and September mostly)



During my visit, I learned that vanilla beans are harvested after each flower is hand pollinated, after about six to nine months. While it is possible to hand grow Vanilla planifolia  (vanilla) in other parts of the world, Tahitian vanilla is actually a hybrid of two species (vanilla planifolia and vanilla pompona), which were bred together to create Vanilla tahitensis or Tahitian vanilla. The bees that normally pollinate vanilla were not brought to French Polynesia by the Europeans from Central America, are not on the island, and are nearly extinct. The plants, which contain both male and female parts, are hand pollinated accordingly. The plant is propagated mainly from stem cuttings instead of seeds because they require a certain type of fungus to even germinate.

unripe vanilla pods on the vanilla plant and a “temporary tattoo” on the tour guide
Dried vanilla pods after several months

Vanilla pods are harvested when they are mature, as harvesting them too early before they turn the right color yields a vanilla bean that is not as aromatic or flavorful. Post-harvest, the beans are washed and dried in a series of steps for approximately nine months before going to market.

Marché de Papeete in Tahiti where many things, including Tahitian vanilla, are sold

Tahitian vanilla tastes very different than the usual vanilla we eat here in the Americas, which is usually a Bourbon vanilla or Madagascar vanilla. While Madagascar vanilla taste can be described as “rich and creamy”, Tahitian vanilla can be best described as sweet and floral with a hit of cherry somehow. Many people simply LOVE the flavor of Tahitian vanilla (especially my friend in Belgium), but I find it tastes almost like eating soap some how.

So when the travel bans are lifted, think about visiting French Polynesia. Try something different. Enjoy the local color wherever you end up and keep dreaming. Carpe diem, friends……….

COPING WITH CORONA, PART 4…..MAGIC MOMENTS

“Teen Traveler” toes in the sand

Cabin Fever. Wanderlust. Tough to be inside. Spring Break today, ” Teen Traveler” and I decided to venture out of the house to where we could maintain an appropriate “social distance” from others to protect ourselves from Covid-19. Living in Florida, we decided we would find a remote beach area where there were few people present. We searched for the perfect “Cast Aside Covid Cove” with a song in our hearts and our usual spirit of adventure.

Turtle Sculptures were originally auctioned off and placed in Vero Beach by Turtle Trax to raise awareness for mental health. There are over thirty turtle sculptures similar to this one in Vero Beach.

We traveled to Vero Beach, FL, where we found WAY too many people in the parking lots and on the beach for us to maintain our “social distance”, but we enjoyed our day trip to this magical place that is dotted with sea turtle sculptures in so many places. Vero Beach wasn’t as isolated a spot as we wanted, so we decided to drive further south until we found some hidden beach access somewhere else.

I wanted to share this day with “Teen Traveler” to show her how we prepare for Corona to come knocking on our door. We think. We come up with a plan. We prepare. We have FUN! A day spent all alone with “Teen Traveler” where we went on a road trip, we laughed, we talked, we laughed some more, we listened to music from our respective generations, and we laughed some more was just what we needed.

“Teen Traveler” the mermaid

There were few people on the beach, but there was a red flag waving in the breeze. Native Floridians know this means to stay out of the water for some peril or another. One red flag means that the surf is high or there are dangerous currents or both. So, we decided to go into the water only up to our knees, but the surf was so high the waves hit our waists as they came rolling in toward shore. The water was cool at first (for the Native Floridians in the crowd), but we adjusted okay.

“Teen Traveler’s” Life Through a Lens………..

Being with my daughter reminded me of a song by Sia……….

“… I’ve been waiting for a magic moment
But maybe there are magic moments
Could it be a magic moment now?
I’ve been waiting for a magic moment
But maybe there are magic moments
Baby it’s a magic moment nowBut darling it’s a magical, magical life, life, life
Oh honey, it’s a magical, magical life, life, life
And baby it’s a magical, magical life, life, life
When you can find magic in every day, night, night, night….”

“Teen Traveler” contemplating…….serious one moment………….
….then making “sand angels” in the sand instead of the snow the next minute…………..

We had a great day and we are already thinking of where we might take a day trip next week. Clear kayak on a Florida spring? Fly a kite at another beach? One thing is for certain. On Earth we have ONLY these five minutes. Time to go out to make a memory, as there is beauty everywhere.

Life is good. Carpe diem, my friends………

COPING WITH CORONA, PART 3 OR “FOR EVERY DROP OF RAIN THAT FALLS A FLOWER GROWS”….

Keukenhof Gardens, the largest flower garden in the world, located in Lisse, Netherlands (South Holland)

As I transition from “social distancing” to self-isolation in our home, I am reminded of an old song that says, “For every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows.” I am reminded of all the good things that are happening in the world right now, despite our current precarious world situation, that are still positive.

The smile of a stranger at the market from an appropriate social distance combined with eyes that meet and show a shared understanding (before I self-isolated), the sense of community in my neighborhood where people are looking out for each other and some folks have offered to get groceries and supplies for the elderly or at-risk neighbors, the gift of extra time together with my family, sharing a laugh as we remember to have fun while we prepare for this coronavirus to come knocking at our door. Having the luxury of extra time with board games while “Teen Traveler” is home from school and watching any pandemic movie we can will be fun memories to reflect upon years from now. Today we will find a remote stretch of beach where there are no visitors so we can feel the sand between our toes and the wind in our hair. This situation is serious, but we still can live while we are living with the situation.

There are many other other things that are that that “flower growing” despite the “rain” in this health crisis. Dolphins have returned to the canals in Venice because the water is cleaner and clearer right now with less traffic. The air is cleaner as emissions have fallen as China’s coal use drops. Many companies are changing policies and procedures to make working from home a possibility, which can help families who are normally juggling the needs of their children while needing to work. Supply chains are working overtime to help meet the needs of the country. We have begun to investigate what self-reliance means personally and as a country, giving some thought to how we can manage on many levels when things go awry. We all have developed an “attitude of gratitude” when we find a supply of toilet paper, any toilet paper, any brand, in the market.

I am reminded of the beauty of Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands while I think “for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows.” The garden will not open tomorrow as planned, yet I can’t help think of all the beautiful flowers that continue to grow, despite our global turmoil. I had always wanted to see the tulips growing in fields as a bucket list item, so last year we traveled there. Another bucket list item crossed off my list.

Tulip farm near Keukenhof

Keukenhof Gardens normally is open in the spring for the about eight weeks from mid-March to mid-May. Originally the gardens were part of Countess Jacoba van Beieren’ s (Jacqueline of Bavaria, 1401-1436) kitchen gardens at Teylingen Castle. In 1949, plans were made by some prominent bulb growers to use that space to grow bulbs, and in 1950 the gardens were opened to the public.

At Keukenhoff, one can take a forty-five minute quiet electric boat ride through the region where you can learn a little bit more of the area. Unfortunately this boat is NOT wheel-chair accessible. Fees range from 4.50- 9. Euros (about $4.82 USD for children -$9.63 USD for adults) at the time of this writing. Children under three are free of charge. The park does, however, offer complimentary electric wheelchairs to guest to enjoy the gardens, though.

Keukenhoff is NORMALLY open from 8:00 AM to 7:30 PM but is temporarily closed now because of Covid-19. There are multiple places to eat within the park, and the park allows dogs on leashes.

A pop of color in a box
Breathtakingly sturdy and enduring windmill on the property reminds me of our resolute human will while battling cornona
Daffodils mingle among tulips and hyacinths in harmony
Wish for quick resolution of the Coronavirus and its effects
Hyacinths and crocuses
These tulips were not dyed but grow this color
Breathtaking displays of exhibition tulips grow everywhere

Coping with the Corona situation is difficult for everyone, but taking a moment in your heart and mind to visit other places where beauty endures and life goes on might be just what you need. Armchair travel is always good for the soul, as it gives us something for which to look forward some day. The flower bulbs remind us that life goes on, year after year, even after a period in which everything appears to have stopped and is dormant.

I believe for every drop of rain that falls
A flower grows
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night
A candle glows
I believe for everyone who goes astray someone will come
To show the way
I believe, I believeI believe above a storm the smallest prayer
Can still be heard
I believe that someone in the great somewhere
Hears every wordEvery time I hear a new born baby cry
Or touch a leaf or see the sky
Then I know why I believeEvery time I hear a new born baby cry
Or touch a leaf or see the sky
Then I know why I believe”

-Written by Roger Whittaker and sung by Mahalia Jackson

TODAY is a good day to have a good day. Spring has sprung. Go out and live; carpe diem, friends…………..