Current plan for March trip

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Dec 13th, 2017, 07:00 AM
  #1
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Current plan for March trip

My wife and I got an airfare deal round trip to Brussels in March. I have been posting and getting advice and this is my current plan. We have rented cars before in Europe and enjoy having the freedom of driving and stopping when we want to. We have been to Paris, Amsterdam and Cologne so this time we thought we would avoid large cities.
My main objective on this trip was to visit the D-Day sites. My wife then added Mont Saint-Michel. I found Tennessus Castle near Amaillou on the message boards and we are both excited to stay there for the castle experience.
Then my wife said she wants to go and see parts of Germany we didn’t see last time we were there.
So here is my plan so far. I would appreciate any comments and suggestions.

March 11-Arrive Brussels 8:35am. Get rental car and drive to Ghent. Spend day and night in Ghent

March 12 and 13-Drive to visit Flanders Field Cemetery then to Bayeux
Stay 2 nights in Bayeux Tour D-Day sites

March 14 and 15 Drive and stay in Mont Saint-Michel
Stay 2 nights in Mont Saint-Michel

March 16 and 17 Drive to Tennessus Castle near Amaillou
Stay 2 nights at Tennessus Castle

March 18 Drive to Troyes. Choose Troyes because its about half way
Stay 1 night

March 19-21 Drvie to St. Goar, Bacharach or Boppard (haven’t decided yet which city to stay in)
Stopping in Trier on the way. We plan on taking a Rhine cruise if one of them is running on the dates we will be there.
Stay 3 nights

March 22 Drive to Leuven. We are using Leuven to stay the night before our flight. This was recommended on the messages boards I read.
Stay 1 night

March 23 Drive to Brussels Airport for 9:20am flight
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Dec 13th, 2017, 07:59 AM
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Regarding your last night, I find it much more relaxed and possibly efficient, less anxiety-producing to return the car on the previous afternoon and stay convenient to the airport, especially for morning flights.
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Dec 13th, 2017, 08:01 AM
  #3
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That is a good thought. Find a hotel with a airport shuttle.
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Dec 13th, 2017, 08:15 AM
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Some airports even have hotels attached, though they tend to be more expensive. I don't know what's available at Brussels. I stayed in one last week and it was a joy to not have to get to the airport.
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Dec 13th, 2017, 08:28 AM
  #5
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I looked at the one in Brussels, it was over $300 for the on night.
I wouldnt rule it out, but would rather not pay that
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Dec 13th, 2017, 09:09 AM
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Arriving in Brussels from where?

The rental cars at the airport are in an underground garage and the exit road runs under concrete overpasses. You will not get a GPS signal until you are on the highway.

It is real easy to end up having to go through the city during peak traffic time, which could make the drive to Gent a four or five adventure.

I would not stay in Bayeux, I prefer to stay on the Beaches, I can recommend either Courseulles-sur-Mer (Hotel de Paris) or St-Aubin-sur Mer (Le Saint-Aubin)

I would not spend the last night in Leuven.

No need to stay at the airport hotel or one one with a shuttle
There is a bus that runs to Brussels airport, one of the stops is in front of the EU parliament building, Hotel Chelton (stayed twice) is within walking distance of that stop.
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Dec 13th, 2017, 09:34 AM
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Arriving in Brussels from Atlanta GA, USA.
I just looked again and its 4 hours from Leuven to the airport. I didnt think it was that far. I will make a new plan for the last night.
I have heard Brussels traffic is horrible and to not stay in Brussels if you want to get to the airport in the morning.
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Dec 13th, 2017, 09:44 AM
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If no one has said this, let me add--whatever app you are using to guestimate times for driving, it's best to multiply by 1.5.

You have some long drives. Don't underestimate times.

Only allowing one full day for D-Day sites is ok but you may be rushed.

Ghent's great--driving into center of town and finding parking is not; what is your plan? Where is hotel? You may end up with just a couple hours to "see" it.

Don't underestimate time to find parking, park, walk to and from sites, walk to and from parking, paying for parking (assuming you have correct change for such), getting to and from public transport, using public transport, etc., etc., etc.

Trier is worth at least a whole day. Rhine visiting is worth at least a whole day.

I totally get the whole "what all can we pack into this time" impetus, but please be realistic about the times involved getting to your bases. Once there, I will be surprised if you can fit everything in, but maybe weather and traffic and stamina will allow--but once you make hotel reservations, you are kinda locked into an itinerary and I think yours might be a little ambitious.
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Dec 13th, 2017, 10:00 AM
  #9
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Our travel is always a little ambitious. We have had times where we did not get to see something due to traffic. We just consider that part of the adventure. Also last year we drove in the UK from Edinburgh up to Inverness, down to Chepstow Wales and ending at London airport. Driving and parking in Bath was horrible, but we did it. This time we are trying to stop for 2 nights in most places.
I can still change the 2nd part of the trip after the Tennessus Castle near Amaillou. I could take 2 days to drive to Rhine area and spend 2 days there.
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Dec 13th, 2017, 10:15 AM
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Don't stay in Brussels if you want to take the car to airport.

Do stay in Brussels if you drop off the car a day before and use buses or the train. Cost wise it might be six or half a dozen.

Even if you do find a hotel close to the airport, the airport road is a spur off the Brussels Ring which is unavoidable and is always a mess.
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Dec 13th, 2017, 10:30 AM
  #11
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How about taking a train when we arrive to Ghent and pickup the rental car there? We have done this in other cities and the Hertz office is a little out of town and easier to leave.
Could we also drop the car off a day early in Brussels Airport and train into Brussels, spend the night and train back in the morning.
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Dec 13th, 2017, 10:36 AM
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"No need to stay at the airport hotel or one one with a shuttle"

Of course, not a "need," just a convenience as stated, especially for a morning flight. But then getting up at 4am (or earlier, depending) has never been on my "favorites" list.
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Dec 13th, 2017, 10:42 AM
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<>

Good idea. (IIRC the airport train is about 10 times more expensive than the bus.)

Visit the Design Museum in Ghent.
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Dec 13th, 2017, 02:02 PM
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I always urge visitors to the Normandy beaches to take a guided tour, not so much for transport as for the insights and context an informed guide will provide. Well worth the considerable expense.
The mention of the Flanders Field cemetery caught my interest. It is, Wikipedia says, a cemetery for US fallen. The famous poem, by a Canadian army doctor, was not written there but his verse certainly engraved the name on the history of the war.
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