Surprise 30th Birthday Trip

Every year, I hint and hint and hint about all the things that would make my birthday dreams come true and every year, Alex accuses me of gently points out that I meddle too much and make it impossible to surprise me. In my defense, this is only because he never proposes a decoy. If you are planning a surprise, that is (obviously) great but you can’t leave me hanging thinking you’ve planned NOTHING. At least make up a fakey birthday party plan that I can go along with, so I think you haven’t forgotten completely!

Moving along… after my 29th birthday blowout on the beer bike and years of no surprise parties, I told Alex I was fine to have a quiet weekend at home at maybe to get drinks with a few friends at our favorite bar. He agreed that if that was what I really wanted, he was happy to oblige.

The weekend before I turned 30, however, I got home from work and he told me to quickly pack a bag and to make sure I included something I could ride a bicycle in. Hmm… needless to say I was intrigued! The old chap surprised me with a trip to The Netherlands to see the tulips!

This gem of a husband of mine had rented a car and make a booking at the cutest boutique hotel, Central Park by Ron Blaauw, just outside of The Hague. We checked in and headed into town for dinner at Eten bij Werelds for the chef’s tasting menu. It was an adorable little resto with the most beautiful watercolor map of the world on the wall. The food and wines were pretty good, too!

The next day we headed to the Keukenhof to see the tulips. We decided cycling was our first priority and the aboretum style park was our second. We rented the neon orange (of course! so Dutch!) bikes from the station just outside the park and got started on the long route. It started out cold and rainy (how Belgian?!?) and then quickly cleared to sunny, blue skies. We rode through fields and fields of tulips and then through hyacinths. It smelled AMAZING. The turnaround point was at the coast, where we stopped for frites and drinks. We rode back through the dunes and more fields of Dutch flowers. We even rode past a few windmills… so stereotypical, but I loved it anyway.

We returned our bicycles and got back into the Keukenhof and pushed through the crowds to see the exhibits in the park. There were so, so many people and senior citizens by the bus! We didn’t stay long at the park but still managed to see thousands of flowers and eat a sausage for lunch.

We headed back to our hotel to shower and get ready for an evening out in The Hague. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it! Such a nice city with a small town feel. Alex made reservations at The Penthouse – which is Holland’s highest restaurant. We were able to eat our tasting menu while watching a storm roll in from the ocean. Absolutely breathtaking from that height but also a little terrifying to be literally in the storm cloud when it arrived!

On Sunday, we decided to make a stop on the way back in Gouda (pronounced ‘how-da’) for a little bit of cheese. It is a super cute little town and we really enjoyed strolling on the canals and through the town square. To warm up, we headed in the cheese museum and also did some cheese shopping on one of the side streets. We had lunch in the square – Alex enjoyed a Gouda sandwich and I enjoyed a Gouda soup, of course.

While it was the complete opposite feel of my beer bike 29th birthday, it was still definitely a celebration to remember. And now, I look back on it realizing I was just about a week pregnant at that time! Just blissfully unaware!