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Help wanted for Holland, Belguim, Luxemburg and Dusseldorf

Help wanted for Holland, Belguim, Luxemburg and Dusseldorf

Jul 5th, 2001, 04:34 PM
  #1  
Lina
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Help wanted for Holland, Belguim, Luxemburg and Dusseldorf

We are going for two weeks in August and taking our son (12 years). We hired a car and made reservation in Gent for 3 nights, 2 in Dusseldorf, 5 in Ultrect and 3 in Amsterdam. We'd like to visit a chocolate factory or museum and love caves and castles.
Did anyone hear about a "vine road" in Belguim? Where is the best shopping?
Can you write about special places there and what gifts to bring from each one?
Thanks in advance,
Lina
 
Jul 5th, 2001, 06:48 PM
  #2  
wes fowler
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Lina,
Am I correct in assuming you'll be flying into and out of Dusseldorf? If not where, Brussels? In what order will you arrive at your destinations? As you've listed them? I've got a number of suggestions for itineraries in the Netherlands and Belgium that might be of interest (caves and castles in the latter!) Be more than happy to provide them to you if you'll Email me directly. (They're too lengthy to post here.)
 
Jul 6th, 2001, 06:42 AM
  #3  
Lina
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We're flying to Amsterdam very early in the morning and driving to Belgium from the airport.The destination order is just as I listed.
Thank you for your reply,
Lina

 
Jul 6th, 2001, 08:54 AM
  #4  
wes fowler
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Lina,
Here's something to think about! It's lengthy so I've split into two responses.These itineraries are really based on a four day stay in or near Dinant or Furfooz. If you read them carefully though, you’ll find references to four magnificent castles, one in Soire-sur-Sambre, one in Beauraing, another in Freyr, and a fourth in Veves as well as an opportunity to explore caves in Han-sur-Lesse near the town of Rochefort. You might consider visiting one or more of these sights in driving from Ghent to Dusseldorf.

From Ghent take Rte N60 south through Oudenaarde to pickup Rte E42 to Mons. To the south of Mons and into France is coal mining country. If you have a good map, (Michelin map No. 907 will do the job) you’ll note the little village of Cuesmes just southeast of Mons. Van Gogh came there in 1879 and stayed in a coal miner’s cottage for over a year studying art. The cottage, closed on Mondays, is now a museum and sits in a lovely woodland setting. The artworks on display are reproductions not original. In Mons, take Rte N40 to Phillippeville and there, pick up Rte N97 to Dinant. Scenic views and historic sites materialize once you reach Mons and continue to Dinant. The whole area between Mons and Phillippeville was the scene of furious WWI battles involving German, British and Canadian troops. About 10kms outside of Mons at Givry you’ll cross a road dating back to Roman times. In Soire-sur-Sambre you’ll find one of Belgium’s finest castles. It dates to the 12th century, is moated and has cylindrical towers at the corners that were erected in the 14th century. If you take a detour of 4kms south off Rte N40 at Montignies-Saint Christophe on the border with France, you’ll find a Roman bridge that crosses the river Hantes.

Continue on Rte N40 to Boussu-lez-Walcourt where you’ll find the “Barrages de l”Eau d’Heure”. These are a collection of dams and reservoirs that have hiking paths, picnic areas, viewpoints and 70kms of roads. Continue on to Phillipeville, a town of about 7000 which still retains its star shaped fortress plan and “souterrains”, defensive positions that date back to the mid 1500s. Continue on via Rte 97 to Dinant, a town in a magnificent setting. It’s situated on the banks of the Meuse with towering cliffs and a citadel above that dominates the buildings below.

 
Jul 6th, 2001, 08:55 AM
  #5  
wes fowler
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To continue:Three rivers to be toured: the Lesse, the Semois and the Meuse. To begin, you’ve got two options. Drive to Dinant and take Rte 95 south or, from Furfooz, drive through the park and pick up a secondary road leading to Hulsonniaux and Rte 95. In the first option you’ll pass the mouth of the Lesse which empties into the Meuse. The Lesse is impressive in that it meanders between and below steep forested hills. There are a number of firms that offer boat rides on the river. The tourist office in Dinant can advise you. Continue south on Rte 95 to Beauraing, a village with a 12th century castle well worth a visit. Continue on Rte 95 to Plainevaux and pick up Rte 89 towards Bouillon. There is an unnumbered road off Rte 89 just past Plainevaux leading to Bellevaux and Noirefontaine. From Noirefontaine there’s a circular route, all on unnumbered roads and all with spectacular scenery and viewpoints that you can take in a clockwise direction that will lead back to Rte 89 and thence to Bouillon. Take the clockwise route to Mortehan and then detour via Auby to Saut des Sorcieres where there are a series of waterfalls. Continue to Noirefontaine, cross Rte 89 and continue to Botassart where there’s a fine view of the bend of the river around the “Giant’s grave”, Tombeau du Geant. Backtrack to Rte 89 then south to Bouillon and pick up Rte N810 to Corbion and Poupehan where there’s another scenic overlook. Continue on to Rochefaut with yet another spectacular view point and on to Vresse. This whole area is tobacco-farming country. At Vresse you’ll see the racks where tobacco leaves are dried.

Continue from Vresse across the French border following the Semois to Montherme where it meets the Meuse. Now follow the Meuse north to Revin, Haybes, Givet and back into Belgium just below Hastiere. The route is D988 from Revin to Haybes, Rte N51 to Givet and then 96 back to Dinant. Look for Freyr between Waulsourt and Dinan. In Freyr, there’s a magnificent castle that became the headquarters of Louis XIV when he laid siege to Dinant in 1675. It’s in a spectacular setting with tiered gardens overlooking the Meuse. Very impressive sight, indeed.

You’ll now be back where the Lesse meets the Meuse at Anseremme just south of Dinant. Here, in addition to the opportunity for boat rides on the Lesse, you’ll find a large complex of walking paths.

Time for a beer or two, another river, perhaps a picnic and a grotto (warm clothes required). Let’s trek to Rochefort and its Trappist brewery.
Assuming Furfooz is your home base, drive through the park to the road leading to Veves where you’ll find a castle dating to the 7th century that sits high above the village on a ridge. The present building dates from the 15th century and has been restored over the subsequent centuries. Continue on to Celles, the village that marks the extent of General von Rundstedt’s German army advance during the Battle of the Bulge in WW II. About 4km south of Celles you’ll find a fork in the road going off to the right. Take it and you’ll end up where the boat rides on the Lesse start. Continue on the fork to the left to Rochefort on yet another river, the Lomme. If you’re into spelunking or cave dwelling, and you’re dressed for 50 degree weather, you can take a tour of a grotto, a complex of underground caverns with marble and limestone formations. It’s about 6kms southwest of Rochefort in the town of Han-sur-Lesse.



 
Jul 6th, 2001, 04:33 PM
  #6  
Lina
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Thank you very much for such detailed answer. Is there on this route castle with great garden with waterfalls ? Someone told me about it but couldn't remember the name.

Thanks again,

Lina
 
Jul 8th, 2001, 08:25 AM
  #7  
wes fowler
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Lina,
Most of Belgium's castles were built for defensive purposes; some are surrounded by moats, others are perched on high promontories; few if any have gardens. I think the word you want is "palaces" rather than "castles". There are two I know of with extensive gardens. They are the Chateau de Beloeil, an 18th century palace with English style gardens, fountains and reflecting pools. Of interest perhaps to your 12 year old, adjacent to the Chateau is "Park Minibel" with many of Belgium's most interesting buildings built to 1:25 scale. The Chateau is located about 20 miles northwest of Mons in the town of Beloeil.

The Chateau d'Annevoie dates from the early 17th century and its gardens are in the Italian and English style and feature the "Buffet d'Eau", a cascade. This may be the castle to which your friend referred. It's not far from Dinant on the left bank of the Meuse river in the Vallee de la Molignee.

Hope this helps.
 
Jul 8th, 2001, 01:55 PM
  #8  
Lina
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Yes, it helps, the place is Annevoie.Thank you and I have a couple of questions more.
I read that on 9 of August there is a street festival in Brussels. Do you know something about it?
What happens on August 15 in Holland? What kind of holiday? Is there something special to do on this day?
Thank you
Lina
 
Jul 8th, 2001, 03:14 PM
  #9  
Sjoerd
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August 15 is a normal working day in the Netherlands. However, it is a national holiday in many countries with large Catholic communities, such as France and Belgium.
 

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