Brussels to Oktoberfest 1st time in EU!

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Sep 24th, 2007, 01:31 PM
  #1
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Brussels to Oktoberfest 1st time in EU!

My wife and I are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary next year, and decided it was time to bite the bullet and go to Europe. We don't want to rent a car, and would like to travel by train only. Here is our itinerary... We'd really appreciate advice from your experiences!

Day 1 - Arrive in Brussels
Stay for 4 nights and explore Brussels and surrounding areas via day trips.

Day 5 arrive in Frankfurt by train. Stay in Frankfurt for 3 nights and take a day trip to Freiburg in Black Forest on 2nd day there (2hr train ride each way).

Day 7 arrive in Rothenburg by train. Stay overnight.

Day 8 arrive in Mittenwald by train (long travel day). Stay for 3 days. Taking day trip to Salzburg on 2nd day).

Day 11 arrive in Munich for 4 days. Take day trip to Fussen perhaps? Enjoy Oktoberfest and fly home.

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Sep 24th, 2007, 01:46 PM
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Strongly investigate the Benelux-Germany railpass for all that train travel could save a ton. Good on any train in Germany, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg.

You may want to hit Luxembourg on the way out of Brussels to Frankfurt rather than taking the quicker high-speed route via Cologne.

Luxembourg is a gem - one of most gorgeous cities in Europe as it does indeed have a deep gorge running down it. Then you could train to Cochem in about an hour, a gem of a wine town on the really gorgeous Mosel Valley - then on to Rhine boats, etc. to Frankfurt.

To get a good understanding of the fantastic rail system in these countries i always refer folks to www.ricksteves.com who has a lot on train and bus travel and the Rhine boats and Romantic Rd buses (which are a great scenic alternative to the train between Frankfurt and Rothenburg - 60% discount if have a railpass; and www.budgeteuropetravel.com to get on their home page their excellent free primer on train travel in Europe and these countries in specific - the European Planning & Rail Guide and there is a lot of good stuff on their web site as with ricksteves.com. Go to www.bahn.de - the German rail site for current schedules and regular prices to compare with pass - also has schedules for all of Europe, including Belgium.

As they say in Germany - Have a Gute Fahrt! (Love saying that, which means have a good ride and you see it often on train station billboards, etc.
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Sep 24th, 2007, 02:28 PM
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catpuke,

It is very counterproductive to double post here.

I can't see why you would want to spend a minute in Brussels. Suggest that you fly into Paris and spend a few days. Take the train to Brugge for a day and then train to Amsterdam. Antwerp is also an interesting city.

Skip Frankfurt unless you love places like downtown New York City. Take the overnight CityNightLine train from Amsterdam to Munich. That saves a day of your travel and a night in a hotel.

To get introduced to train travel in Europe look at http://tinyurl.com/eym5b. It is a well illustrated description of how the trains work over there.

Since Oktoberfest 2007 started last Saturday I assume that you are planning for 2008. Now would be a good time to start looking for a room because this is a major world event. Being as how you are interested in beer you might be interested in wine also. There are some great wine festivals in the producing areas of Germany and they are virtually unknown outside the local areas.

Have you checked the logistics of your Rothenburg, Mittenwald, Salzburg, Munich, Füssen route? Long way around. It seems that you could hit Füssen on the way to Mittenwald. Or maybe there is no train track between them? There is a road so there may be a bus.

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Sep 24th, 2007, 02:49 PM
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Hopscotch: My apologies for the double post (mistake). I'm new to the forum, and it's a little more confusing to post than others!

We are big fans of Belgian beer, and Brussels is kind of a mecca for us. There are some breweries and beer bars that we would like to visit while in Brussels. We were also planning on doing a day trips in Antwerp and Brugge using Belgium as a base. Not interested in Paris at all...

We would like to see the Black Forest, and thought Frankfort would be a good launching point along the train route. What about Manheim or Stuttgart? We could use Stuttgart as a base for Rottenburg daytrip too, no?

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Sep 24th, 2007, 04:09 PM
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From one beer lover to another, stick with your plans to visit Belgium. You will not be disappointed. Not only is it worth it for the beer, you will enjoy wonderful food, beautiful sites and friendly people. Many on this board will try to discourage you and many of their posts will be very enticing....save those wonderful spots for your next trip.

I agree Antwerp and Brugge are worth at least a day each. Investigate the numerous Belgian beer websites and plan your time wisely to see both beer and non-beer sites. With some planning you can combine traditional sightseeing with beer tasting.

I highly recommend the Cantillon Brewery Tour.

Don't miss the long but enjoyable multi course dinner at Den Dyver in Bruges. A perfect place for beer lovers to celebrate their anniversary. Make reservations.

I also suggest you consider Bamburg instead of Rothenburg. I have been to both and Bamburg is a much better destination for a beer lover. Great atmosphere, great beers (including the famous smoked beer) and breweries.

Although I like Frankfurt, I don't think it is the best location for exploring the Black Forest. If you are interested in exploring the Alsace and their beers, consider Strasbourg or Colmar for a base location.

Happy travels
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Sep 24th, 2007, 05:28 PM
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catpuke,

I stand corrected and I should have known better. Mussels and beer in Brussels is to die for.

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Sep 26th, 2007, 07:39 AM
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Fussen - few-mile bus or taxi ride to Reutte, Austria for trains to Mittenwald via Garmisch-P
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Sep 27th, 2007, 08:23 AM
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Mussels and beer in Brussels is to die for

ah yes look for the Moules et Frites signs out front - Moules - mussels are rather seasonal i think however.

Brussels of course famous for beers fermented in the open air of town - Lambic i think may be one - a very different type beer.
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Sep 27th, 2007, 09:18 AM
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We were in Brussels for about 3 hours a month ago, and that was enough time. The main square is one of the best we've seen in Europe, but that was about all that was interesting to us (we spend 2 months vacationing in Europe every year). I love mussles, but the ones I had in Brussels were very disapointing. I didn't even finish them. Fries were only OK (I'm a fries fan also). I've had much better Bouchot mussels in France, and better fries here in the San Francisco area and in France.

Brugge was fantastic - like a museum. We just walked & walked & walked. Had some very nice meals there and some great Belguim beer (don't have to go to Brussels to get great beer).

I too would advise less time in Brussels - but I think we're on completly differnt wavelenghts if you have no interest in Paris & would prefer Frankfurt & the Black Forrest.

I certainly would try to make it to Amsterdam.

Stu Dudley

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Sep 30th, 2007, 07:48 AM
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Ok... after looking at some of the advice on this board and talking to some others who've been there, our itinerary has evolved a little.

Obviously, there's no way we're going to see or do everything in two weeks... so I think we're going to just pick out a few key locations and fully enjoy them and relax. We always have the option of doing day trips too.

Day 1 Brussels, Belgium
Day 2-4 Brugge, Belgium
Day 5-8 Bamberg, Germany
Day 9-11 - Mittenwald, Germany
Day 12-15 Munich, Germany

Anyone who's been to these places? Advice on must-sees would be appreciated (we're allergic to churches and museums).
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Sep 30th, 2007, 08:39 AM
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Brugge - Bamberg will be quite a long train ride, but you probably have noticed that already.

Munich is somewhat of a hub for rail travel in Southeastern Germany.
Your trip from Bamberg to Mittenwald will take you through Munich. So will your day trip from Mittenwald to Salzburg.

Therefore, unless there is a specific reason for you to spend a few days in Mittenwald, you could stay longer in Munich. That way you have more freedom in adjusting your daytrips to Salzburg, Füssen, or anywhere to the weather situation.
In Mittenwald you are stuck in the mountains at almost 3,000 ft - where weather is always unpredictible, cooler, and with more chances to get stuck in long rain periods. While the people in Munich still sit outside in the beer gardens ;-)
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Sep 30th, 2007, 08:46 AM
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we're allergic to churches and museums says catpuke. Previously catpuke nixed Paris.

Looks like catpuke will have a bier, wurst, and kraut trip. To mix up the menu, Deutschland also has schnitzel, roasted chicken, pig knuckles, red kraut, and plenty of potatoes.

Don't miss the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, a landmark for American tourists. There are beer gardens around town open in nice weather.

Museums do not have to be only art. Munich has a fantastic science museum plus the BMW museum for Beamer fans. The Olympic Park is a very pleasant place to relax.

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Sep 30th, 2007, 10:35 AM
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In my opinion, Brussels is one of the great food capitals of Europe (so much more than moules-frites and beer) and a fascinating city, though it can take a bit of effort to scratch the surface (and unfortunately, much of the area that tourists tend to see is pretty underwhelming - you need to get away from the city centre to really get a feel for the place).

Anyway, as beer is clearly your thing, there are some great bars where you can sample some of Belgium's many brews (my favourite bar is Chez Moeder Lambic at 68 rue de Savoie in St Gilles - ask the barman to recommend you something or take pot luck - there are something like 1000 beers to choose from).

Or head to place Jourdan in Etterbeek, queue for some freshly made frites (with mayo, of course) from the legendary Maison Antoine fritkot which has been serving fries since the 50s. Then take your cone of frites and sit down inside or outside one of the bars opposite (most of which have a little sign in the window to show that you are welcome to eat your fries on the premises), and order a beer to wash it all down with.

Or, if you are in town on a Sunday, take a wander through the Marolles, (the flea market area) and enjoy a beer and a croque monsieur at one of the busy bars around the place du Jeu de Balle, sift through the bric à brac in the multiple antique, furniture and junk shops in the neighbourhood and, if you're around between October and Christmas, make a stop at New de Wolf (entrances on the parallel streets rue Haute and rue Blaes) and marvel at the incredible and seemingly endless array of Christmas decorations of all shapes, sizes and colours. Then stroll up to the more genteel place Sablon to browse the antiques market, have a drink or bite to eat at one of the smart cafés lining the square and sample a few chocolates from Pierre Marcolini, one of the city's most renowned chocolatiers.
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Sep 30th, 2007, 10:59 AM
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bkmk for hanl's suggestions
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Oct 3rd, 2007, 01:51 PM
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yes hanl thanks for those beer tips

and yes Brussels on a quick glance often pales to tourists' expectations but a more thorough look yields surprises at every turn

i especially enjoyed taking one of those trams south out thru the parks and by art nouveau houses, etc.

even Atonium i found interesting, especially now that it's been updated - along with Mannequin Pis i believe the iconic symbol of Brussels and a nice park there too if i remember

and the palace area and its formal-style parks

get away from the Grand' Place, itself perhaps the finest square in Europe (have they banished the cars that used to park in it?) and enjoy its more hidden away gems.
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Oct 10th, 2007, 01:13 PM
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bookmarking
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Oct 10th, 2007, 01:45 PM
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Catpuke,

Love the name. We were in Munich two weeks ago for the Oktoberfest and it was great! The weather was beautiful warm and sunny (although the locals said that it was a little warmer than usual). We stayed in Munich and then went to Füssen. There were a lot of things to see in Munich I would think that maybe it would be better to head to Füssen as a day trip from Mittenwald and see more of Munich. One of my goals on this past trip was to have a different beer everyday but it was harder to do once we left Munich. I did post a trip report for Munich & Füssen today if you want to see what we did.
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