All this traveling can be quite exhausting

Alison Kemp and Alison Kemp

AMSTERDAM – Yesterday I spent the day with way more flowers than I may have ever seen in my life. I went to Keukenhof, in Lisse, Holland, which is home of the largest bulb flower park in the world. There are some 4.5 million tulips there, comprising 100 varieties. The gardens also claim to be the most photographed place in the world. This activity was the last goal I hoped to complete while in the Netherlands. The other sights on my list included the ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ painting by Johannes Vermeer and touring the city of Delft. Whatever else I see here will be a bonus, and I’m getting pretty tired, so I don’t know how much longer this will last. I wouldn’t have begun this trip the way I did if I could have avoided it. Last weekend I went skiing in the Alps. This, in itself, wouldn’t have been too tiring if I hadn’t spent the previous week sharing Austria and Germany with my parents. I hadn’t recovered from that when I went skiing, and then I couldn’t recover from skiing before heading here. I must include a short detour on my ski trip here, because it was incredible, aside from one fall that left black and blue marks across my left leg. I went skiing in Leogang and Saalbach, in Austria, southwest of Salzburg. The highest peak there is 2097 meters, which is a lot higher than I’m used to skiing in Ohio at Boston Mills in Cuyahoga Falls. In order to get to the top, one must ride a gondola for roughly 10 minutes. Most of the slopes are on only the upper half of the mountains, so you ski halfway down and then ride the lifts back up. They have turnstiles you must go through to get to the lift, and you use a card with a sensor to get through the turnstiles. The card then keeps track of roughly how far you ski each day. Its estimate for me was 36 kilometers on Sunday and 7 on Saturday. And I’m a wimp compared to the Austrians, so I can only imagine how far someone’ could ski in a day. My distance on Sunday included no repeat slopes and maybe half of the available ones. But unlike my last long journey over February break, I haven’t had too many problems (knock on wood for me, please!). Getting to the gardens yesterday was a little rough, seeing as I couldn’t find anyone to sell me the type of ticket I wanted to use to get there, but I finally managed to work around that. When I finally got to The Hague, which was my first stop on this trip, all I did after finding something for dinner was sleep. I did have to commit an ultimate Alison sin for dinner that night, because the Easter holiday continues through Monday in Austria, and I’ve now learned in Holland, as well, so it was slim pickings for dinner and I finally selected McDonald’s because I was too tired to look any further. I don’t ever want to eat at McDonald’s, but I was hungry enough to forego that. On Tuesday I went to Delft and visited the Royal Delft porcelain factory and the Vermeer Centrum, which houses life-size copies of all of his paintings. The day was gorgeous and the town was quite charming, especially before all of the tourists got there and cluttered up the squares. The town is also full of canals, so it’s like a miniature Amsterdam. Today my plans include the three main museums in Amsterdam: the Rijksmuseum, which is the national art gallery; the Van Gogh Museum, which is currently displaying ‘Starry Night;’ and the Anne Frank House. There are lots of other available museums, but I’ll see how I manage.