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NetherlandsIt’s spring! And the colorful crocuses, narcissus and hyacinths are waiting with open petals to welcome the first visitors to the world-famous Keukenhof gardens near Lisse. They will be joined in mid-April by tulips, the perennial favorites of the flower show.

This year’s theme pays tribute to Germany, the “Land of Poets and Philosophers” (and the biggest importer of Holland’s flowers and bulbs). In addition to strolling around the 80-acre park and admiring the ever-changing floral displays, visitors can see indoor flower and art shows, attend a photo workshop, ride a boat or bicycle through the bulb fields and buy flower bulbs to take home.

The park is open 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. until May 20. Admission is 14.50 euros for adults, 7 euros for ages 4 to 11, and free for those younger than 4. Parking is 6 euros. Find details on the park and other packages at

EnglandIn 1829, Cambridge University sent a rowing race challenge to Oxford University, beginning a sporting tradition on the River Thames in London that each year includes the loser of the race challenging the winner to a rematch each year.

Saturday will mark the 157th time the race has been conducted (Cambridge, last year’s winner, leads 80-75 — the 1877 race ended in a tie).

This year, the race begins at 5 p.m. at Putney Bridge, finishing at Chiswick Bridge. According to the official website, the best places to watch are the start at Putney Bridge, Putney Embankment and Bishops Park; the middle at Hammersmith and Barnes; and the finish at Dukes Meadows and Chiswick Bridge.

A festival atmosphere has grown up around the competition, with special deals in nearby pubs, a music festival in Putney, two “Boat Race in the Park” events featuring big screens, food and drink stands and other activities in Bishop’s Park and Furnivall Gardens.

For more details, check

ScotlandEdinburgh is celebrating its Gaelic roots through April 16 with the Celtic Ceilidh festival, a celebration of local and international traditional music, song, dance and storytelling.

In addition to listening to professional entertainment, participants can attend workshops that teach the art of storytelling and others that demonstrate traditional dance steps so they can confidently jump into an evening ceilidh dance. For a list of events, venues and tickets (also note the Easter weekend street fair with food, drink and craft stalls) go to

The Celtic Ceilidh festival overlaps with the International Harp Festival, so you have the opportunity to hear some of the world’s most accomplished harpists at the same time.


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