Butterflies in the Rain - My Family Travels

Compared to its year-round average, it rains very little in Amsterdam during August- except, of course, when I’m there. My family and I were riding bikes back from the grocery store (an adventure within itself) when we heard the first crack of thunder. Within around five minutes, it was absolutely pouring. Riding a bike in the City of Bikes is dangerous at the best of times, but during the rains, with my little sister- a fifth grader- in tow? Continuing back to our apartment seemed impossible. With nothing else to do, we parked our bikes as fast as we could and ran into the nearest building, a lovely glass palace with “Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam” written across the front.

It took a minute to connect the the dots- why did it smell so good in here? What was that sound, the one that seemed like a waterfall? After a moment of looking around, and after shaking off the rain-induced haze, we realized: we were in a garden. A beautiful garden actually. After a silent moment and a few shrugs, my mom went up to pay the modest ticket price, and we started exploring. Two of my sisters walked off to the left, and my little sisters joined my parents as they walked to the right. Taking a deep breath, I took the one remaining path- straight.

The gardens were positively incredible. That’s the only way to describe them. They were multi-leveled, with floors and walls that allowed one to see right in to the other garden rooms. There were rooms dedicated to foreign plants, rooms dedicated to specific regions of the globe, and-my personal favorite- a butterfly room.

When I first entered the room, the butterflies seemed sleepy, hiding under leaves and in little crevices in the wall. They didn’t appear to love the rain. Luckily, not five minutes later, the pattering of rain on the ceiling began to slow, and sunlight began to creep through the windows. By some small miracle, it had stopped raining. It seemed to be a small gift just to be, this time alone with the butterflies. Slowly, they started to fly about, and before long I was covered in butterflies. That was how my mother found me, a few minutes or hours or days later. The rain has stopped for good, she said, and it was time to go to dinner. Saying goodbye to my new butterfly friends, I stepped back into the world.

There are many beautiful attractions in Amsterdam, many much more well-known than the gardens. But I cannot stress the beauty of the gardens, the absolute elation felt when one is covered in butterflies. I absolutely recommend visiting all the attractions- but, if it starts to rain. Don’t panic. Simply take the time to visit the butterflies as you sit among the flowers, tucked away from the world.

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