The timing has been chosen to match the popular “bulb” parade on the 21 April, which starts from Noordwijk at 9:30. “On Saturday April 21 at 9:30 hours, the annual Flower Parade will leave Noordwijk to travel its 40 km route, along the main roads, to arrive in Haarlem at about 21:00 hours.
The (2011) procession comprised of 20 large floats and more than 30 decorated luxury cars, interspersed with marching bands.”
18 April - Arrive at Hotel in Noordwijk aan Zee Coach from Schiphol (15:00) or train to Leiden, bus 40 to Noordwijk
19 April - ESTEC, ESTEC space museum, Keukenhof gardens Coach hotel to ESTEC & Keukenhof, service bus to Noordwijk (?)
20 April - Floriade - Coach there and back
21 April - Parade at Noordwijk, Zaanse Schans (see http://www.zaanseschans.nl/) Coach to Zaanse Schans, return by public transport
22 April - Valkenburg am Meer narrow gauge museum, Amsterdam. Coach to museum, then Amsterdam, return by public transport
23 April - Depart - Coach to Schiphol (departing at 10:00)
“The Zaanse Schans is a village on the banks of the river Zaan with characteristic green wooden houses, charming stylized gardens, small hump-backed bridges, tradesmen's workshops, historic windmills and engaging little shops. Apart from the cluster of windmills, characteristic wooden houses and delightful shops to visit, there are intriguing traditional Dutch crafts such as wooden shoes, pewter and cheese making, several fascinating museums, restaurants and even the possibility of taking a boat trip on the river.”
Floriade is held every 10 years. This year it is at Venlo Netherlands.
“The Floriade is a global spectacle in which many dozens of countries participate. This will also be the case in 2012. You will find yourself immersed in a melting pot of cultures where you will be introduced to different customs and rituals. And of course there will also be plenty of attention for the regional culture of the province of Limburg. Enjoy typical gastronomic delights in our attractive restaurants! Here we will be serving regional dishes and refreshments, and all the meals will be prepared using seasonal products.”
The recommended hotel is the Golden Tulip Beach Hotel Noordwijk aan Zee, where most have booked in.
Their web site is http://www.goldentulipnoordwijkbeach.nl/. This hotel is also close to Pickeplein where the Leiden bus arrives.
This enables return journeys to be done independently and so provide flexibility for “standing and staring or simply snoozing”.
Getting there: Several airlines go from UK to Schiphol eg Easyjet, KLM and BA. When I checked in October BA is offering returns at £100 for April.
By train go to Leiden and take the half hourly bus from the station. Driving is also fairly straight forward and it is about 220 miles from Calais.
I plan to be at the airport (at the meeting point) to meet you when you arrive and sort out any problems caused by delayed flights. You may need to enable roaming on your mobile phone.