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Delft? or Haarlem? or any other nearby smaller towns? Leiden? Vinkeveen?

Delft? or Haarlem? or any other nearby smaller towns? Leiden? Vinkeveen?

Old Aug 20th, 2002, 08:36 AM
  #1  
Rex
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Delft? or Haarlem? or any other nearby smaller towns? Leiden? Vinkeveen?

It looks like I (we) WILL get a trip in this year still. Thanks to bargain fares to Amsterdam in September. Feel some obligation to help those struggling airlines. $488. First noticed USAir, but United is matching, and their schedule is better for Columbus.

First two nights: Amsterdam. I have been there, but I have never properly seen many of the city's best known attractions because I was busy there in business. Previously stayed at the Pulitzer, and one little dump of a place (don't remember the name). I have also spent one night in Edam and liked that. My wife has never been to Holland.

Thinking to stay somewhere like Haarlem or Delft the first two nights, and visit one or two places in Amsterdam (Rijksmuseum, Rembrandthuis or Anne Frank House come to mind right away). Generally enjoy these smaller towns, but am not sure we want to be as far away as Delft.

Any opinions, pro or con? or other towns to suggest? Recommendations for lodging? starting with DISH hotel in Delft as a starting point. 85 € for a double, weekend promotional rate. Looking to stay on the more economical side.

A very superficial search here on the forum also produced the ideas of Leiden or Vinkeveen. Any visitors to either place recently?

Thanks in advance for any input.

Best wishes,

Rex
 
Old Aug 20th, 2002, 08:51 AM
  #2  
Wayne
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Rex---
My favorite 3 smaller towns were Leiden, Delft, and Gouda. I especially liked the charm of the town square and the town hall in Gouda. Besides, the cheese was good.
 
Old Aug 20th, 2002, 09:13 AM
  #3  
trying
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Rex: I'm guessing there are numerous posts about Haarlem, giving pros and cons. Please review those. In short, we like Haarlem, but we don't like the walk (after the 2nd or third trip) from the station to the square. Cabs are available, though. We did go to the ocean from Haarlem, which was something a little different (we live in a landlocked state). We enjoyed a morning in Delft but, if Amsterdam is your focal point, then you are getting farther afield.
 
Old Aug 20th, 2002, 09:37 AM
  #4  
Ann
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Rex, I second the recommendation for Gouda, it's a lovely town with a gothic town hall and glockenspiel; weekly cheese markets; pottery pipes. I also like Delft, which is what I imagined Amsterdam would be (i.e., clean and beautiful canals). Please include the Van Gogh Museum in your list of places to visit in Amsterdam - it's nearby the Rijksmuseum and includes Gaugins in its collection. But my suggestion(if you're at all interested in windmills) is to visit and hopefully stay at Kinderdijk (at Alblasserdm), which has the largest concentration (19) of mills in the country and is an UNESCO World Heritage site. We used to stay at the Hotel-Restaurant Kinderdijk and loved it, as its view out the back was of nothing but canals and mills; so if you do stay there, be sure to ask for a room on the back. Some mills are open to the public and offer a fascinating view into life inside in the 1700s. Hope this helps!
 
Old Aug 20th, 2002, 09:38 AM
  #5  
John
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I think you'd enjoy Delft for itself, plus it's not all that far to A'dam for day trips (takes about an hour on the train.)

We stayed at the Hotel Leeuwenbrug in Delft, right on one of the mini-canals and a short walk from everything - http://www.leeuwenbrug.nl One big advantage was the car park discreetly hidden in a courtyard next door (I know, a car in Holland seems silly, but we had other places we had to be). The hotel was comfortable, friendly, good breakfast, and quiet, and about 2/3 the cost of comparable digs in Amsterdam. The difference more than covered the train fare for a couple of day trips. One advantage of Delft is that The Hague is very close by, also very rewarding for day trips.
 
Old Aug 20th, 2002, 09:46 AM
  #6  
Rex
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Wayne, trying...

Thanks. Yes, pecking away at Haarlem. Found the Hotel Amadeus, right on the Grote Markt at 70 € per night with 11 € for parking.

Headed to Bruges/Ghent for night three (one night only) - - to stay at Hotel Erasmus - - a place I have wanted to take my wife since the first time I stayed there. This will be the only real "re-go" of the whole trip.

From Bruges, headed to 4 or 5 nights on the Normandy/Brittany coast. Already have some good ideas of places to stay there, but will still appreciate input from anyone.

Then, on night(s 8 and) 9, still trying to decide where we will want to choose as a place between Brittany and getting back to Amsterdam for our late morning flight home.

Bayeux, then Ieper? or just Ieper (two nights?) - - problem is, it's one long haul (7 hours to get from Brittany all the way back to Belgium in a single drive.

And that still leaves a very hefty piece from Ieper back to Amsterdam.
 
Old Aug 20th, 2002, 09:51 AM
  #7  
Rex
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Oh, thanks John - - I was posting about the same time you were. That place sure looks pretty - - and the free parking would offset the slightly higher rate of the Amadeus in Haarlem. Plus, it's nice to have that link to http://www.dsdelft.nl/toerisme (on the Leeuwenbrug website) - - I might have found that eventually, but a nice touch to have it linked on their site.

Have you been to Haarlem, for comparison?
 
Old Aug 20th, 2002, 09:55 AM
  #8  
trying
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Rex: I haven't plotted your possible destinations, but we traveled in the Netherlands, to Brussels and Bruges, without a car. We really enjoy the trains.... Stayed at Amadeus in Haarlem. Enjoyed it, though not real fancy (this was in 98). Front room is loud, particularly on the weekend.
 
Old Aug 20th, 2002, 10:01 AM
  #9  
John
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The parking's not free, it's €7 per day according to the website, free overnight. Note the rate includes VAT - make sure the comparables do, too.

Confess I've never been to Haarlem so can't compare.
 
Old Aug 20th, 2002, 10:32 AM
  #10  
LJ
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Rex,
I have never been to Haarlem so cannot compare, but Delft is charming and for selfish reasons of my own, I am hoping you will go there and then come back and tell us about it (as you have been known to do, and IMO, very helpfully so...)

Thirty years ago, when I was 20 and my sister 16, we arrived in Amsterdam, without a room, and promptly got back on the train to Delft (it was the first place the train stopped). We inquired at the VVV for a room less than $10 (yes, it was a very long time ago).

We were sent to a family-run laundry located on the canal with rooms to let upstairs. It was on the square and exactly halfway between the Neuw Kirke (17th C)and the Oulde Kirke(14th C?) Our room overlooked the square and had a bathroom next door that is the point of this story.

The bathroom was entirely "furnished", sink, tub, and "loo"/WC/toilet, in Delft pottery. Amazing blue and white china everywhere-tiles,flor and wall- even little brass handles with Delft inlay.

Ever since I have wanted to go back and see if this was some weird exception or the rule in the town. Or maybe I dreamt it (it was the '60s and we were near Amsterdam...).

So, Rex, you go, Boy, and track it down for those of us who can only dream and tap into Fodor's...well at least until the next trip!
 
Old Aug 20th, 2002, 10:36 AM
  #11  
Rex
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Thanks, both...

Already heard back from Amadeus. No availability, but I am very impressed with the fairly extensive list of alternatives they sent back to me.

I am not opposed to trains - - and if we could knock off one long chunk of the trip back from Normandy I might be receptive. But usually, the cost of a cross-country car rental drop will be prohibitive. The first two days in Holland are a toss-up, but I have driven plenty in Amsterdam, and never found it intimidating. Depends on whether we are inclined to move "back'n'forth" very much. And we really like the flexibility to go without a (train) schedule.

It has occurred to me to head directly to Antwerp from Schiphol, and rent a Belgian car instead of Dutch. And see some of Holland at the end of the trip instead of at the beginning.

Might depend on how/where I am finding room availability on the weekends (perhaps more aproblem than weekdays?)
 
Old Aug 20th, 2002, 10:42 AM
  #12  
Rex
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Missed your post, LJ. I appreciate the kind remarks.

This is an observation on the prices of things. I recently picked up a copy of Lets' Go: Europe 1970 - - and in the first chapter they refer to the BEST prices in "peak" season for trans-atlantic travel as $510 to $660. By contrast, there are numerous ads in the book for cars to rent (including our present-day standard: AutoEurope!) at ONE dollar a day (based on four people for 90 days, i.e., $360). The majority of hotels in the book are under $5 a day.

No wonder the airlines are all going out of business. Lodging costs have gone up 10- to 100- fold; and airfares have gone down from 32 years ago!
 
Old Aug 20th, 2002, 11:23 AM
  #13  
trying
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If you do stay or go to Haarlem, I would recommend the Teyler's (sp?) museum. Very ecclectic. Rent a wand. If something bores you, the next room is different.... Stayed at L'Anders next to Amadeus (run by the same people). Not quite as nice and the stairs are rediculously steep. No kidding. Nearly a ladder. Also stayed at Joops (these are all Rick Steves recommendations). Worked ok for us. Serious breakfast (but not included).
 
Old Aug 20th, 2002, 12:10 PM
  #14  
Sally
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We stayed at Hotel Agora on the Singel Canal near the Flower Market last April. We went to Haarlem by a 15 minute train ride. We had tried to get reservations at Hotel Amadeus on the Grosse Market, but after we saw it, we were glad that rooms were not available. There was a large loud carnival that took up the whole of the square. It was very crowded and not at all peaceful.

Actually Amsterdam was much more attractive than Haarlem and very easy to get around in. Step out the hotel door and get on a 5 minute tram ride to the train station. The canals and bridges were lovely, lots of trees.

If you do go to Haarlem, you would probably enjoy the large church with the beautiful pipe organs, especially if you can attend a concert there. Also we found the Corrie Ten Boom house a very interesting and uncrowded alternative to Anne Frank's house. I am sur e we would have liked Haarlem more if it had not had a carnival going on right in the middle, but you can see most of it in an afternoon. The walk from the square to the station did not seem far to us.The square seemed mostly full of hotels , restaurants, and tourist shops. We liked the atmosphere and the scenery much better in Amsterdam.
 
Old Aug 20th, 2002, 12:25 PM
  #15  
Myriam
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Have been to Haarlem on a daytrip a few weeks ago. Very pretty small city, easily walkable. The organ at St. Bavo Church is indeed impressive. We have done the "Hofjes" tour, one of the city walks but we did it on bike (rented them at the train station). Hofjes history and pics on my VT page!
 
Old Aug 20th, 2002, 01:04 PM
  #16  
Rex
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This sure has been helpful, for just four hours into the planning. It's great to be planning a trip again. I'm still on the fence about putting the two nights "peri-Amsterdam" at the front vesus at the back end of the trip.

Now wondering about Durbuy as an intermediate location stop, coming or going from Normandy to Amsterdam. I don't actually even know precisely where it is - - near Ieper? Obviously need to do more homework. How tourist-y is it? Of course, touristy places (like Brugge) get that way for a reason - - because there is much to enjoy there.

Maybe even start a new thread with questions about Durbuy, if it looks promising.
 
Old Aug 20th, 2002, 02:45 PM
  #17  
up
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up
 
Old Aug 20th, 2002, 03:26 PM
  #18  
Myriam
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Rex!
Durbuy is at the other end of the country!! Ieper (Ypres) is southwest of Ghent in Flanders, Durbuy is in the Ardennes, south of Liège. Durbuy is a charming very small town (I'd rather call it a village), very very touristy, especially on weekends. There's a castle that you could visit and a few little streets. Its location however is beautiful: between the river Ourthe and a rock. Very popular as well for outdoor activities (mountain climbing, rafting, mountain biking, ...).
 
Old Aug 20th, 2002, 03:40 PM
  #19  
kathypompe
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Rex, If you do decide to stay the night in Bayeux, you might want to spend a little time viewing the Bayeux tapestry. It's magnificent--can't be matched. A wonderful work of art. Have fun on your trip. Kathy
 
Old Aug 21st, 2002, 05:51 AM
  #20  
Terra
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Hi Rex,

Great ideas on your question! I don't know if you have made your final decisions yet... but I have one more suggestion to add. I know you said you wanted to stay on the more economical side... however, if you did want to splurge for a night or 2 I HIGHLY recommend the Spaarne 8 Hotel in Haarlem. They have a website that explains it all: http://www.spaarne8.com/ Only 2 rooms. Get the one with the bathtub with a view. The proprietors are wonderful people. I had a very special evening there when I splurged on a night out, even though I just live around the corner in Amsterdam. If you can't make it there this time, file it away for future reference-- you won't regret it! It is $$ well spent!

Terra
 

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