Old Dec 4th, 2003, 05:58 PM
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I'm heading to Brussels after Christmas, arriving the 27th and coming back to Wash. D.C. on the 30th. I have no clue on what to do there for three days. Are there any WWI battlefield tours worth taking?

Any lodging recommendations in Brussels would be welcome (up to 120 euros).
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Old Dec 4th, 2003, 06:21 PM
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We've stayed at the Welcome and loved it. Another friend who travels to Brussels frequently also approves. And their restaurant is very good .

Haven't done any battlefield tours from there..we have always had our own car and done them on our own. But if there are some and you have time, I would certainly recommend them..I have never been so moved by anything. The Normandy beaches pale in comparison to the losses in WWI
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Old Dec 4th, 2003, 07:13 PM
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Going to Brussels without seeing Brugge would be a mistake. It is about an hour west.
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Old Dec 4th, 2003, 07:29 PM
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mrwunrfl: ekellyga is right. Take one day and do Brugge. It is less than an hour by train. There is enough to do in Brussels for a day, but Brugge is fantastic. The Hotel Welcome is a good three star with large rooms, friendly (read that fun), helpful staff and a great location five minutes from the Grand Place.
WW1 locations are down in The Ardennes. Bit of a haul. You could get down and back in a day. Don't know what will be available in December. But, you certainly wont come up short with Brussels and Brugge. Have a great trip.
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Old Dec 4th, 2003, 07:48 PM
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Not all of the WWI sites are in the Ardennes. Ieper (Ypres), center of the battles of the Salient, is east of Brussels, about 1 1/2 hours away by train. There's a fairly new Flanders Field museum there that's supposed to be very good. There are lots of WWI cemetaries nearby -- Tyne Cot is especially sobering.
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Old Dec 4th, 2003, 10:14 PM
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I was about to say, there'll be a Christmas market in St Katherine's but, not, presumably, after Christmas .

The architecture in the old town is worth wandering round; there are a range of art and other museums, inclding one for cartoons, one of the few things Belgium is famous for.

There's good shopping around Avenue Louise, and nice parks. I find it a pleasant place to chill, rather than rush round.
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Old Dec 4th, 2003, 11:32 PM
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Depends on what your interests are. If you are only looking for walks in the historic center, then 1 day is enough. The next day you should undoubtedly go to Brugge by train (50 minutes).

As Brussels is a capital, you'll find a lot of "National Museum of...". If modern painting, or african history is your thing, the 1 day will certainly not be enough.

If you are really/especially interested in WW1 battlefields, then your port of call should be Brugge, which is a lot closer to the battlefield zone (60 km instead of 150km) and from where tours are organized by coach. will give you info on these kind of trips.
In this case you could spend 1 day in Brugge, one day on the WW1 bustrip and 1 day in Brussels or Antwerp by train.

If you would like a lodging recommendation for Brugge, I could suggest
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Old Dec 4th, 2003, 11:37 PM
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Oh, KT, Ieper is WEST of Brussels, at about 60 km from Brugge.

And, mrwunrfl, I was only talking from the Flemish (Ieper-side) battlefields and not from the Bastogne (eastern part) battlefields.
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Old Dec 5th, 2003, 05:37 AM
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Thanks for all the great replies. The Hotel Welcome is definitely unique and looks like fun.

KT, thanks for the spelling Ieper "of Ypres" or I would never have found it on my Encarta map.

Brugge looks interesting. The Quasimodo tour is not running while I will be there, and I won't be getting a car, so maybe Ypres is out. I'm wondering if Waterloo is worth a visit.

Bastogne is definitely of interest. I made one minor attempt at finding a rail schedule between Brussels and Bastogne, but no success. Is the trip something like taking the Thalys to Namur and then a train south?

The place I really want to visit, though maybe unreasonably farther away from BRU, is Verdun.
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Old Dec 5th, 2003, 07:02 AM
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One example, sorry fot the capital letters
A:11:44 train 2109 [IC], direction LUXEMBOURG

Waterloo is just some Belgian pride over Napoleon, nothing special and nothing to de with WW1...

Verdun is in France, just check
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Old Dec 5th, 2003, 07:42 AM
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Thanks, baldrick. So it is 3 hours each way between Brussels and Bastogne. I think I'll save that for a future trip along with Verdun. I think I've given up on a battlefield tour altogether. Two nights in Brussels, possibly with a day trip to Brugges. A Eurostar trip to London (day-trip or overnight) will probably be on my itinerary.
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Old Dec 5th, 2003, 08:20 AM
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I don't want to insist on Brugge, but skip the 'possibly', if not you'll regret it.
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Old Dec 5th, 2003, 11:42 AM
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Brugges is a must. We stayed at the hotel Welcome and loved it. You won't be sorry.
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Old Dec 5th, 2003, 11:57 AM
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For those of you that are so insistant on Brugges, why? What is there to do there? What are the must-do's? My fiance and I were going to spend one night in Brussels, but have decided to stop in Brussels on our way to Brugge.
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Old Dec 5th, 2003, 12:39 PM
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The Belgians would always say if you had only one day to spend in Belgium, Brugge would be the place. I've lived there on/off for 5 years, and I would have to agree.

Having said that, there are many lovely places in Belgium, including Brussels.
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Old Dec 5th, 2003, 12:42 PM
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Baldrick, you're so right about where Ieper is. I do know where it is, and I've even been there, but I'm one of those people who doesn't know left from right nor, thanks to relocating from one coast to the other, east from west (the ocean is to the east, no wait, it's to the west, no wait...). Guess I should think twice next time before giving directions! ;-)
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Old Dec 6th, 2003, 06:36 AM
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Okay, okay, if I hafta go to Brugges, I'll go! I just thought that, on Dec 29, it might be too cold. The canal boat won't be boating and the 50-min tour van is not touring. So, I guess I'll let you know what's up there, CEDS.
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Old Dec 6th, 2003, 08:49 AM
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I've been to Brugges several times and have never done the boat trip. I don't see that I'm missing much. You can walk along the pretty canals and see just as much. I think you'll enjoy Brugges no matter what the weather.
Old Dec 6th, 2003, 09:57 AM
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Climb the belltower for a nice overview, especially of the colorful town center and its Flemish rooftops.
(366 narrow steps!)
The town may be a little dreary in winter, unless it has snowed!, but at least there won't be many people creating lines for anything...

This is a very nice website to illustrate what is special about Bruges:
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Old Dec 6th, 2003, 12:58 PM
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I too concur with the thought not to miss Brugges. Another short day trip by train from Brussels is to Antwerp, the home of Rubens. There are wonderful churches, museums and even a zoo to see. Also there are demonstrations of how diamonds are cut, polished, graded etc. Enjoy JN
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