Bruges and the Dutch Bulbfields with Shearings - DAY 1


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Preparing to tiptoe through the tulips

If on the excellent BBC quiz programme "Pointless", 100 people were asked to name a British coach operator then Shearings would be high on the list.

Keukenhof GardenProviding value for money travel, home and abroad, this company has been around since 1919 and is now one of the largest coach operators in Europe. Lancashire based and nothing wrong with that (my dad was from St Helens), though I personally prefer Yorkshire! Over the years Shearings have won countless travel awards.

Last year wife Babs and I took our first cruise and loved it. Our favourite  hobbies are travel and gardening. So this year we have chosen a four night short hop over the sea combining our two passions. Shearings Bruges and the Dutch Bulbfields will hopefully whet our appetite for longer and more far flung coach holidays in the future.

Most silver travellers will remember the novelty rendition , by Tiny Tim , of "Tiptoe Through The Tulips" way back in 1968.Well in mid April, Babs and I will not be tiptoeing but walking through the tulips in Keukenhof. Probably walking fast as we are only visiting for the day and there are almost 80 acres to see and 15 km of paths.

Keukenhof GardenSo what and where is Keukenhof? Well, situated near Lisse in The Netherlands, it is the world's largest flower garden open for only two months - mid March til mid May - every year. And it’s one of the world's most photographed places.

One of the wonders of the modern world – horticulturally speaking at least. These gardens are an intoxicating, riotous blend of spring colour and fragrance. Seven million bulbs are planted every Autumn. Imagine the backache after planting these! And as you would expect it's a showcase for the Tulip - Holland's national flower.

"Knee deep in flowers we'll stray, we'll keep the shower away ". Well hopefully for the day we are visiting.

So what else have we got to look forward to on the trip? Well it's a fascinating mix of towns and country, bricks and greenery.

GhentHomely Ghent. Jaw-droppingly beautiful. Its historic centre rumbles with trams. Cobbled squares and narrow lanes are perfect for mooching along.

Food galore. Waffles and homemade confectionery and chocolates. A  diabetic's dilemma .Should I have one ... or two ... or three? ... well life's too short anyway ...ok ... I'll have another.  And crisp Belgian fries from the chippy vans, with a large dollop of mayo.

Bruges is invaded every year by at least three million visitors. This medieval city , dubbed the "Venice of the North ", has it all too. Architecture that has a wow factor . Weekend flea markets and over 50 shops packed to the rafters with chocolate, local beers, souvenirs and foods Designer shopping in abundance too. Like Ghent it is easily explored on foot or water.

It promises to be a great trip.

Silver Travel Advisor recommends Shearings Holidays

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