Flowers still blossom, even in a pandemic. With over seven million flower bulbs in bloom, the Keukenhof is probably one of the most spectacle places to visit this spring. Widely known for its 800 varieties of tulips, it also features a fantastic collection of hyacinths, daffodils, lilies, irises and more. When it first opened in 1950, over 236,000 visitors flocked to the garden. “People used to come inside here [through the old lakeside entrance]. They saw the pond immediately and fell in love with Keukenhof,” recalls one gardener. In 2019, more than 1.5 million visitors from 100 countries came to enjoy the springtime at Keukenhof.
This spring, the old garden has prepared new surprises. With palm trees, hammocks and boats, the beach garden gives both spring and summer feelings. In the mill forest, vintage cars are hidden among tulips, creating a whimsical surprise for visitors. Elena Lin, a Chinese vlogger living in the Netherlands, aspired to share the 2020 Keukenhof experience with her 600,000 followers on bilibili, China’s most popular video platform among the youth.
She was disappointed at first, as the Keukenhof is not open to the public this season. Thankfully, after the Keukenhof and WeGoEU got to learn her plan, She was given an exclusive opportunity to visit the garden on 11 April. She shares with us this special experience and her tips on creating appealing video content for Chinese travellers.
How did you become a vlogger and what’s your secrets to creating popular videos?
I started vlogging, because I like to record daily life and share positive energy with others. I try to balance between filming something that is easy to grasp and interesting for the audience and something that makes me happy. Pouring heart into creating content is not enough. A vlogger also needs to listen to the feedback and constantly improve.
How is your experience with the Keukenhof this time?
The flowers blossom in my eyes and in my heart. So I was in a beautiful mood. I could even hear the birds and all the soothing sounds of nature. It felt like a paradise on earth.
I was amazed to see this tiny tulip [originated from mountains somewhere between Turkey and China and came to the Netherlands 400 years ago]. So many varieties of tulips have been created since then.
The Keukenhof has uploaded a series of videos on its YouTube channel, where gardeners show off their favorite spots and talk about their favorite flowers. What other stories could it tell?
It is a pity that they spent a whole year planning everything and couldn’t open the garden to the public. I think they may seize this “opportunity” to reveal more backstage, personal stories. How do they design the garden to create stunning visual effect? When to plant what? How to plan the blossoming sequence? Why are some flowers planted in three layers? We don’t often have the opportunity to learn such stories and I am curious to discover these myself.
How can the Keukenhof or other tourism attractions in Europe improve the experience for Chinese travellers when they visit in real life again?
Due to the cultural differences, some Chinese don’t know what is allowed in Europe. In Keukenhof, I learnt that people could walk on the grass in some areas. In China, stepping on the grass is not encouraged. So if Keukenhof and other attractions could tell Chinese travellers what they can do, they could relax, experience and enjoy more.
WeGoEu offers a mini program for Chinese travellers to enjoy Europe. What can be improved to better serve the needs of Chinese travellers?
It is very convenient to check information such as location and opening hours and book tickets directly. If this mini program could tell perfect spots and angles for taking photos, Chinese will love it.
Every time before I travel, I have to prepare a word document and copy paste information there to create an itinerary. So if we could curate itineraries directly within the mini program, we will find it really handy.
What tips would you give to your followers when it comes to travelling in Europe?
I would suggest them to “xia guang” (literally meaning “roaming blindly”). When I wander around aimlessly, I often stumble upon some lovely surprises. So I think people could discover and experience local cultures more, if they just “xia guang” and get spontaneous.
What are your secrets to staying happy and healthy during lockdown?
I choose to embrace a good mindset, that is, focus on what I can do, rather than what I cannot. I tide up my space, re-arrange the furniture and design new decorations. When I focus on good things I can do, the lockdown is not that unbearable any more.
Credit: all images and gifs are created by Elena Lin
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