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Conference trip to Netherlands; help me plan free time afterward

Conference trip to Netherlands; help me plan free time afterward

Jul 21st, 2014, 04:03 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 7,923
Conference trip to Netherlands; help me plan free time afterward

It's a nice problem to have, but I had intended to meet up with friends in Florence after my conference in Gronigen, north of Amsterdam. However, due to one of the friends divorcing the plans are up in the air and they will be arriving later and probably in London.

I allotted extra days and am flying into Frankfurt and out of Paris CDG since that's where I could get Business class upgrades for the long haul from CA.

I arrive 8/15 at FRA and then take a train to Cologne, staying over for an easy first day.
8/16 Delft
8/17 Haarlem
8/18-20 Amsterdam
8/20-23 Gronigen (there are all relatively close; am used to covering a lot of ground on my own)

I now have late on 8/23-28 open. Fly CDG-SFO 8/29 10 a.m.
I was planning to stay over near CDG for night before flight out and maybe take RER into Paris.

I'm looking for suggestions for those days for solo woman (DH can't get away) traveling by train, reasonable costs-- thought about Brittany (never been, just to MSM and Normandy); eastern region of France (never been); Honfleurs (sounds pricey, however); and possibly Dijon or Lyon, France (pretty hot in August?).

Have previously explored Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Denmark. In Paris with DH last trip; could just take more time there and do day trips (Giverny). Can land in one spot for the time or else take the train around (happy doing both).

Prefer cooler temps when feasible; so, unless I meet the friends in Italy after all or take a short mosaic class in Ravenna, in which case I would fly AMS to Bologna and then Bologna to CDG, I'd prefer to stay in the north/general area, traveling by train.

Please share any places you love, or places that sound like a good fit.

I have intense work during the rest of the year, so am looking for local culture, espresso in cafes, walking, relaxing, scenic train rides, moderate costs (am spending a ton on the conference so can splurge but prefer not to), a museum here and there (have tix to Van Gogh museum in Amst.) but not exhaustively.

I'm an independent traveler and happy to be so but it's nice to interact with others or plan specific activities to provide just a bit of structure.
annw is offline  
Jul 21st, 2014, 06:39 PM
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Any ideas?
annw is offline  
Jul 21st, 2014, 10:35 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
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It is Groningen with an n.
Most Dutch would not consider Groningen to be close to Amsterdam btw.

You could explore more of the Netherlands or head for Lille or Strasbourg, or maybe the Mosel valley appeals.
Fly to somewhere like Copenhagen for a few days.

There is a lot of interest around Groningen, accessible by bus or trains, such as Bourtange, or Appingedam. You could then head for Leeuwarden, explore some of Friesland, such as Harlingen, Franeker, Sneek. Get the bus over the Afsluitdijk to Alkmaar, or the train to Zwolle or Utrecht maybe, then train to Paris.
hetismij2 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2014, 10:55 PM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 3,305
How about Bremen and Luebeck in northern Germany? (you said you'd been to Germany, but not whether you'd covered the whole country)
They're both interesting, attractive places with plenty to occupy you for a few days, won't be overrun with tourists in August, not that far from Groningen (Bremen is less than 3 hours away by train; one change). You can get a room in Bremen at the upscale Radisson Blu (very well rated on TA, good location, has a pool) for 100 euros a night. In Lubeck, stay in the old town.
WeisserTee is offline  
Jul 21st, 2014, 11:05 PM
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Thanks, these are great suggestions, just what I was looking for.

hetismij2, the train from Amsterdam to Groningen (thank you for spelling reminder) is 2 hours, 21 min, so for this Californian that seems close, although not like Haarlem to Amsterdam.

You're right, Weissertee; haven't been to the north and east of Germany; north seems a better bet for this trip time and distance-wise.
annw is offline  

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