Back from a very short visit to Amsterdam to see the tulips. When I went a few years ago, they were late because of a long winter - this time there was colour everywhere. Some 12,000 bulbs have been planted around the canal ring and in private gardens, which were open for the last weekend in April. These blooms were in the Begijnhof, a cluster of buildings around a 14th century courtyard, which once provided homes for women who belonged to a lay Catholic sisterhood.
The big attraction there is Keukenhof, where, for eight weeks every spring, landscaped gardens are ablaze with huge drifts of colour. Some 800,000 visitors flock to see the 4.5 million bulbs, all planted by hand.