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May Itinerary - Please Help

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My husband and I are planning our first trip to Belgium at the end of May. I am late getting started on the plans. We bought our tickets last week but have not booked anything else yet. My husband has a strong interest in military history and I love castles. We enjoy some museums but we mostly enjoy walking around and enjoying the sights, sounds, and food. We do not need nightlife. We can never stay up that late on vacation! We arrive in Brussels on Friday, May 24 and depart on Saturday, June 1 (8 days/8 nights). I have a (very) rough itinerary and would appreciate some input.

May 24 arrive in Brussels 8 am - self-guided walking tour, nap, food, relax

May 25 take train to Antwerp - spend greater part of day exploring the city (keeping backpacks in lockers at the train station) - continue our journey on to Bruges or Ghent ** This is a part I would love some input on. I think I would prefer Ghent as it seems to have the central train station for the area, but I've read that the city was/is under major construction. So maybe Bruges would be a better base? (plan on staying 3 nights 25/26/27)

May 26 & May 27 explore Ghent & Bruges - plan on doing self-guided walking tours, canal tour and probably a bike tour in Bruges

(This is where my itinerary starts getting a little fuzzy.)

May 28 train to Ypres to explore the battlefields & visit Flanders Field museum. I would like to rent a car for a few days so we can go to some smaller areas & make unplanned stops. Is Ypres a plausible place to pick up a car? After spending the day in the area I would like to drive to Dinant and spend the night. How long would this drive be - a few hours? Or is there a better stop in this area?

May 29 visit Dinant castle and other sites then head on to Bouillon to visit the castle and possibly the Abbey of Orval - I'm not sure where to spend the night. I'm leaning towards Bouillon. Other options are go back to Dinant or possibly stay in Durbuy? Both of these option seem too far out of the way. Can anyone give me an idea of driving time between Dinant & Bouillon - about 50 min?

**This is where I need the most help.

May 30 visit Bastonge & Ardennes area - of course the Bastogne Historical Center/War Museum is not open until 2014 I haven't figured out where to spend the night.. Any suggestions? I was thinking of going back to where ever we spend the 29th (leaning toward Bouillon). We would like to change hotels as few times as possible, but we also don't want to waste time backtracking too far. What is the drive time between Bastogne & Bouillon?

May 31 return car & take the train to Brussels from ??? - spend the day touring the city We do not want to drive the car to Brussels to return it. We thought returning it in a smaller area would be easier & less stressful. Are any of these areas (Dinant, Bouillon, or Durbuy) a more direct train ride back to Brussels?

June 1 flight back to DC at noon :(

Guidance & suggestions would really be appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read through my long & confusing itinerary. Happy travels!

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