Frankfurt to Brussels - trip planning

Old Jan 10th, 2008, 10:44 PM
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Frankfurt to Brussels - trip planning

Starting the planning of this trip.... I am reading reports here and checking travel books, but was hoping I might try to narrow it down some by the opinions of those who have been to these areas. In a nutshell, I (with my sis) am flying into Frankfurt late Feb and returning from Brussels 7 days later. She is interested in large and small cities and we currently have only one definite stop which is to visit the Henri-Chapelle cemetary where our Grandfather is buried in Belgium. My thinking is we arrive Sun am and stay in Frankfurt until Tues am, then hit the road toward Henri-Chapelle. The final day would be spent in Brussels before returning home Sat. If Brussels has more to offer than Frankfurt, then we could do 2 days there and 1 in Frankfurt.

Neither of us is a health nut and anxious to hike for hours... we prefer shopping, quaint towns, friendly people and would be just as happy sitting for a few hours enjoying a meal and good company as meandering around a castle or neat museum. And did I mention shopping?? I am 38, she is 29. Any suggestions? And thank you in advance. If I didn't provide enough info., pls let me know. I should also mention I plan to get a car, and given a choice; prefer B&B's to hotels as you get to know people better. Those were widely available in Ireland but I don't know if they are as popular in either of these 2 countries. Thanks again!
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Old Jan 11th, 2008, 05:28 AM
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topping for Friday morning crowd!
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Old Jan 11th, 2008, 12:01 PM
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Okay, since you and your sister sound a lot like me, here's what I would do if I were making this trip:
Leave Frankfurt as soon as you arrive on Sunday, and drive up the Rhine to any one of the lovely little villages on the river, takes only a short time and I'm sure tons of people here can recommend great places to stay. I would stay at Burghotel auf Schonburg in Oberwesel, just because it's my favorite place in the world and somehow magically can transport me to another time. You can relax, maybe take a short tour along the river to see castles (it's only an 1-2 hours to Oberwesel from the airport), do a little winetasting and eat in the hotel restaurant that night so you don't have to drive in the evening while you recover from jet lag. But it's a splurge, so I'd only stay the first night there. www.hotel-schoenburg.com/. So that's Sunday.
Then I'd drive over the hills to spend my second and third nights on the Mosel. I'd stay at the Hotel Sewenig in Muden, right on the river, so I could tour Burg Eltz, the little-known but spectacular castle (never ruined). www.burg-eltz.de/e_index.html. Two nights will also give you time to roam the Mosel a bit, which great even in winter. The hotel is small, more like a gasthaus--very historic, spotless, and the people are nice. The restaurant at the hotel is one of the best in the area, so I'd get their half-pension, which is less than 60 euro pp. http://www.hotel-sewenig.de/Eingangsseite.htm. That's Monday and Tuesday nights.
From there, you're near the town of Mayen, from which you can take Hwy 258, a very scenic route, westward into Monschau. I'd base there to go to Henri-Chapelle. You can easily spend Wed. and Thurs. nights there before going on to Brussels. It's a wonderful town where you'll enjoy walking around, eating at cafes and listening to the river at night. This site will give you accommodation options in the heart of the old town where not much has changed in the 300 years its half-timbered houses have huddled beneath the 14th century castle overlooking it. Do stay in the old town! If you click on option 2 (it's in English) select old town: http://www.monschau.de/tourist-infor...nachtungen.php. So you would be leaving the Henri-Chapelle area on Friday morning. That gives you two nights in Brussels or elsewhere enroute before you come home. But this is just what I would do, because I love getting into the countryside and seeing places somewhat off the tourist track--I'll be happy to adjust recommendations based on what you want. Shopping is good in Monschau (German Christmas store, lots of crystal) and anywhere on the Rhine for souvenirs. Wine on both the Rhine and Mosel. What would you like to shop for??
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Old Jan 11th, 2008, 01:01 PM
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Definitely agree not to stay in Frankfurt. I like the idea of the Rhine and Mosel too.

We have stayed at the Auf Schoneburg hotel also and loved it but it definitely is a splurge.

On previous visits, we have also stayed in Bacharach at the Rhein Hotel, in Beilstein on the Mosel at Haus Lipmann and in Bernkastel Kues (also on the Mosel) at the Hotel Binz.

It's a beautiful area, although in February it probably will be a little drab.
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Old Jan 12th, 2008, 05:55 AM
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Definitely second the Rhine-Mosel valley suggestions. However, since you mention that dining and shopping are of great interest to you, perhaps you should consider staying in Koblenz, which is about an hour from Frankfurt by train. It's certainly not quaint, like the small towns that dot both Rivers to the south. But it has a great pedestrian shopping district, and a very nice altstadt. You can also easily reach those picture postcard towns on either the Rhine or the Mosel by train from Koblenz - they run very frequently, and cost hardly anything. My wife and I were there in September of 07, and found that the smaller towns, while charming, had little shopping and little to do in the evenings. So I'd suggest staying in Koblenz, visiting places like Bacharach, St. Goar, Cochem, etc. by train during the day.
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Old Jan 12th, 2008, 06:04 AM
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I would not stay long in Frankfurt.
There are definitely interesting things to see, including some excellent museums, but it is not an especially charming city compared to others. I have stayed overnight in Mainz before flying out of Frankfurt. It is on the S-bahn from the airport so would be very convenient for your first night. It has a nice Alstadt, a beautiful Romanesque cathedral, other interesting sights in a compact area.

I would probably "hit the road" the next day

The Mosel valley is very beautiful in spring/summer/fall. I am not so sure about February

Koln is an obvious big city to visit more or less on your way to Belgium. Aachen is smaller, also very interesting with its history of Charlemagne. It is right over the border from Henri-Chapelle, close to Monschau (recommended in another post)

If you find yourself at the Brussels end of the trip with an extra day, Ghent is an easy, interesting day trip
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Old Jan 12th, 2008, 06:56 AM
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If you're going to Henri Chapelle, think about stopping in Maastricht. Itīs a lovely small city, with great restaurants and some good shopping too. If you like quaint towns, good food and shopping, Maastricht would be perfect for you.
Have a look at these hotels, http://www.chateauhotels.nl/
All very very nice.
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Old Jan 12th, 2008, 11:48 AM
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Wow! Thanks so much for all the information! I am researching all these suggestions right now. I am fairly certain we won't be staying in Frankfurt now after hearing this and remarks from others who have been there as well. You guys rock!

I was relieved to hear I wouldn't have to adjust to driving on the other side of the road; I did it in Ireland and it didn't pose a problem, but it does distract you enough the driver really misses out on alot of the scenery.

So far as what type of shopping; probably the usual touristy stuff. Crystal would be nice, a cuckoo clock, then whatever appeals. Not high-end shoppers; but browsers for sure!
Question, she and I will be sharing a room when possible; what type of wording am I looking for when wanting a room with 2 beds? I see double quite a bit; but not sure if that refers to occupancy, or bedding type.

Thanks again for all your help! We are both getting very excited!
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Old Jan 12th, 2008, 12:35 PM
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If you want to shop for glassware, crystal, inexpensive china, etc., be sure to check out La Vaisselle au Kilo just off the Sablon in Brussels. (Among the many things they carry are the same type of coffee cups and saucers used at some of the classic cafes, like that in the Metropole Hotel.)
http://www.lavaisselleaukilo.be/siteeng/indexeng.htm
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Old Jan 12th, 2008, 12:42 PM
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You want a twin room. But don't be surprised if the twins are right next to each other with no nightstand in between.

FYI, in Brussels, one of the best 4 star hotel bargains is the NH Stephanie. You can often find doubles (or twins, in your case) for 69 euros per night. Close to the Louise metro stop, easy for catching the metro 3 stops down to the Gare du Midi, where you can catch the airport express train. It's also located right by a very nice pedestrian street with several cafes and shops. Just ask for a non smoking room on a higher floor (the street slopes and some of the first floor--second floor American--rooms are too low for security if you plan to open the windows for any reason).
http://www.nh-hotels.com/nh/en/hotel...stephanie.html
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Old Jan 12th, 2008, 01:02 PM
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I have been to Henri-Chapelle with a friend whose uncle was buried there. If you haven't already - contact them and let them know you are coming. They will greet you, have a tour ready, pictures and a packet of information to take with you. They're wonderful. The whole place is incredibly moving.

http://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries/cemeteries/hc.php
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Old Jan 12th, 2008, 09:55 PM
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Thanks again for the wealth of information! I am googling everything and finding everything looks/sounds wonderful! The info. on Henri-Chapelle is especially appreciated. Our mother went yrs ago (she had never met her father) and was overwhelmed by the kindness of the people there. I experienced something similar yrs ago while visiting Amsterdam when an elderly couple; noting we were Americans, started telling us how appreciated our help was during WWII then shared with us some incredible stories of what happened then.

Honestly; I love touring the castles and the quaint villages, etc.. but my favorite part of travel will always be the people. Nothing defines a nation more.
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