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Flower Shows in Holland

It’s only the second day of spring and already flowers are in bloom! In fact, two of the world’s biggest flower shows can be found this Spring in Holland.

River Cruises, Keukenhof, Floriade

Located in Lisse, just about a half an hour’s drive from Haarlem or Amsterdam, is Keukenhof, the world’s largest flower garden. Keukenhof has a relatively short season, open to the public from mid-March to mid-April. In 2012, the gardens will open their gates on March 22, and agreeable weather can extend the season almost into May. Though tulips can be the main draw, Keukenhof boasts over 7 million flowers and is the perfect way to ring in the spring for any nature-lover. Just ask VBT travelers, Gee Gee B. and Bill M.

“We decided to use one of our three days in Amsterdam to see the famous Keukenhof Gardens… What we found were very extensive manicured grounds with lawns, flowering and non-flowering trees, ponds, fountains, and large numbers of beautifully designed and kept flower beds… We enjoyed every moment of our time at this special place…”

River Cruises, Floriade, Keukenhof

Also taking place in Holland this spring is Floriade. The unique horticultural event takes place only once a decade and is made up of 5 “worlds” with varying floral themes. The park covers over 160 acres of land, featuring flowers and gardens from around the world. Floriade 2012 will be open from April 5 to October 7. Only a two hour train ride from Amsterdam, you won’t want to miss one of the most exciting horticultural events in the world.

Floriade, River Cruises, Keukenhof

This year, bring in the spring in Holland with VBT! Visit Keukenhof on an extension in Amsterdam on our Holland and Belgium Bike & Barge vacation or on an extension in Haarlem on our Netherlands Bike & Barge vacation. Take in the rare Floriade on an extension in Amsterdam on our Holland and Belgium Bike & Barge vacation. Goede reis!

Prešeren Day

Bike SloveniaWhen visitors Travel to Slovenia, it is immediately clear that this is a nation that is passionate about celebrating its artistic heritage. From the baroque structures that line the river Ljubljanica, to street performances and a mélange of inspired cuisine, Slovenia more than makes up for relatively small size with a big personality. In fitting fashion, Slovenians honor their artistic community each year with a national cultural holiday; Prešeren Day.

Though the modern Republic of Slovenia is technically only 20 years old, Prešeren Day dates all the way back to the mid-20th century. The holiday was first celebrated in 1944, and was born out of an imposed “cultural silence” on all Slovene art. As Slovene territory slowly became liberated in the early 1940’s, celebrations sprung up to honor the contributions of Slovenia’s vibrant artistic community. Given the nature of the holiday, the Slovene government saw it fit to link the celebrations to the nation’s beloved Romantic poet, France Prešeren. Thus, the national celebration would take place on the anniversary of his death, February 8.

Raised in Ljubljana, Prešeren left to study in Vienna in 1821. His work began being published as early as 1827, but it wasn’t until the 1830’s that his poetry became widely read. Masterpieces such as Sonetni venec (A Wreath of Sonnets) and Krst pri Savici (The Baptism at Savica Falls) launched his illustrious literary career. And in fact, it was his work, Zdravljica (A Toast) that would eventually be adapted into the country’s National Anthem.

Slovenian Culture

Prešeren’s influence extended well beyond his words; his poetry as well as his impact upon politics and the Slovene language assured his place in Slovene culture for years to come. Since 1947, the national poet’s legacy has been honored each year in the presentation of the Prešeren awards. On the night before Prešeren day, writers and artists whose works have made a sound impression upon Slovene culture are recognized with the highest of accolades, the Grand Prešeren Award. Citizens of Slovenia celebrate the day by taking part in cultural festivals or by visiting centers for the arts, keeping the spirit of Slovenia’s creative heritage very much alive.

Though the official holiday takes place in February, Slovene culture is fervently celebrated throughout the year. Get a sense of Slovene culture, art and cuisine for yourself and join VBT for biking vacation through Slovenia, Austria & Italy this year!

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