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Advice Needed-1st Timers to Amsterdam

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Hi all-husband is kindly allowing me to choose a location in Europe for the two of us to spend about 10 days sometime this Spring(just found out that he can get the time away from work). I am fascinated by Amsterdam, in part due to the amazing report done by your own PalenQ(and I still haven't gotten all the way through the report yet). Is late April/early May a good time of year to visit? I would love some advice on the best area of the city to stay in for walking about, catching public transpo, getting to sights easily, suggestions for good restaurants to try & sights we shouldn't miss. We are also thinking of taking the last few days of our trip to visit either Antwerp, Gent, & Bruges or some of the Dutch countryside. Any recommendations for must-see special little towns? Is there some other area that anyone has enjoyed more? I haven't gotten far in my research yet so I'll just ask if we would need a car or could we take trains to most of these areas? Not being too good at planning trips, we are open to any & all suggestions and thank you in advance for taking the time to answer & advise. Oh & some background-we are a "young" 50-something hippie type couple(as our 3 children have dubbed us)who are avid photographers, don't mind walking or biking, love new foods, museums & old churches, local culture, history & anything quirky. Will be flying from East Coast of USA, most likely in & out of Amsterdam. Thanks again!

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