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From JH Jonkman at Sassenheim it was about a 6km cycle ride to the famous Keukenhof gardens, just west of Lisse. This extravaganza of spring flowers is open only from March to May and features Holland's most iconic flower in a dazzling array of varieties, as well as lilies, hyacinths and narcissi.

We went on a mid-week afternoon, but it was still incredibly busy with coach parties, although the car park was half empty, so be prepared for a full-on touristic experience, complete with a gift shop full of unbelievable tat. Outside the grounds is bollen-boulevard, a sort of gypsy camp of bulb sellers, cashing in on bulb-mania, although even my limited gardening knowledge told me that you can't plant tulips in April, right?

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