Honeymoon in Europe

Old Apr 17th, 2017, 09:33 AM
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There are a lot of travel resources on how to eat gluten free in Europe. Google "traveling europe celiac" for starters.
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 09:33 AM
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Wo, Celiac (or Coeliac) eans that OP cannot have gluten in any form, in anything. Not because it is trendy, but because they have a serious illness.

In the Netherlands supermarkets have quite a good supply of gluten free products, and throughout the EU now allergens have to be listed on menus and in ingredients lists.
However if you are severely celiac you could have a real problem eating out, as some cross contamination may happen accidentally. It is vital you tell people, and have a card with it on in French and Dutch just to be a bit safer.
Plenty of health food supermarkets about too, which are full of gluten free products.

To really advise you about your trip we need an idea of how long you are staying in each place, and your total trip length from touch down to take off.
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 09:57 AM
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That is weird, my answer to Wo about Celiac appears before he posted! No idea how that happened. I certainly am not psychic, the time stamp is 3 hours out!
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 10:54 AM
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Honeymoon in Europe

We are going on our Honeymoon in May!!! The main stops will be Amsterdam, Paris, and a town in Belgium. (I know the geography of the trip is a bit of a loop but we fly into Amsterdam and depart from Brussels)

My main questions are:

1) What town would be "best" for us in Belgium? We are leaning toward Ghent but have heard great things about Bruges and Antwerp as well....We are mostly interested in good food/drinks, long walks with pretty surroundings/architecture/parks, and shopping (especially at any markets/antique stores/thrift stores etc.)

2) Knowing our top priorities, is Leiden a good choice? Or would Haarlem, Utrecht, or Delft be "better"?

3) As for traveling between these places what do you think is most efficient and cost effective? We would like to take a day trip or two from each of these cities (Ghent to Bruges, Paris to Tours) but don't want to have to stick to a rigid plan. I have read that it is often best/necessary to purchase certain tickets (especially Thalys) ahead of time so am unsure what to do.
Should I purchase tickets directly at the train stations, purchase the main tickets (Leiden to Paris, Paris to Ghent, and Ghent to Brussels) ahead of time and others for day trips at the time of travel, or just purchase the Eurail and hope everything is covered? I am just not very familiar with using train systems and would appreciate any input!

Some other, less important questions...

*I have celiac disease and am a little concerned about finding good (safe) food while traveling. I hear Paris can be especially difficult. My husband speaks limited French, so I'm hoping that will help but does anyone have any recommendations for places to eat/what to watch out for?

*My husband is in love with all types of foods. Do you have favorite cafes/bakeries/restaurants in or near these cities that you would recommend?

* We thought about skipping Leiden and taking another day from France or Belgium to go to Luxembourg. I have read mixed reviews about Luxembourg in May. At most we would probably spend 2 days...Is it worth it?


Thank you for any input!
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 11:41 AM
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Congratulations!

How many days do you have for this trip?

You have long since passed the best time for purchasing cheap train tickets for any long rides. Regional trains don't always offer discounted tickets, so for short rides the costs will generally always be the same. A Eurail pass, if that's what you meant, is unnecessary and overpriced. You need to buy your tickets from the national railway companies or someplace like www.trainline.com.

Any of the Belgian cities you mentioned fits your criteria.
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 12:04 PM
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Congrats.
Luxembourg is not necessarily a good idea. I live close by and hardly ever go/went.

Belgium : trains. Intercities can be bought on the day. Fast trains (Paris Amsterdam or Paris Bruxelles) are best bought 3 months in advance.
Izy f you are on a budget is a good option. Izy Bruxelles Paris can be about 19 euros per person - different schedules and about 4 hours instead of 1,5 hours.

Belgium is Flemish in the north with beautiful cities and Wallonia in the south with great landscapes. If you are into architecture Antwerpen is nice with a mix of old and new gent is superb and Bruges is a museum in itself. Fir a nice walk I would go to Han sur less where you have splendid caves and I suppose some walks.
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 12:07 PM
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Don't know celiac disease but you should have a paper saying you suffer from it, in French.

Something like
Je souffre de ...celiac disease ... merci de me donner des plats adaptés en évitant les ingrédients suivants : ....
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 01:01 PM
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Long distance train tickets (between Paris and a city out of France) should be bought in advance and as soon as possible, otherwise it'll be expensive. Short distance train ticket, often by local trains, for example between 2 Belgium cities, can be bought directly at the train station at the moment of travel.

For Paris-Brussels, you can buy cheap tickets on:
https://www.izy.com
but it'll be slower than Thalys train.
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 06:47 PM
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Ghent is a smart pick and closer to Brussels than Bruges. Very very compact city center with all of the main sites within the Korenmarkt. (They even have a castle right smack in the middle of the city with a moat) It's not quite as picturesque as Bruges but there's still a lot of nice architecture to look at, canals to tour, waffles to scarf down, and the views from the Belfry are amazing. Have a great honeymoon
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 07:12 PM
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Strange hetismij !
I also wanted to post with a translation in Dutch (ok Flemish but I was doing my best ;-) ) and could never submit.
Maybe Fodors thought I was being impolite !
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 08:33 PM
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Hi Wdenham,

I wonder how you heard/who told you that you'd have trouble with celiac while in Paris? I've visited Paris two times with a friend who is severely celiac, and also vegetarian, and we truly didn't have any problems. Thank goodness she isn't vegan, so she could eat eggs.

She ate a lot of eggs, and she could eat buckwheat crepes. She also enjoyed a lot of soups and salads and cheese and veggies.

While shopping in grocery stores, we even found gluten-free bread at the local, small Franprix.

So, I'm sure you'll be fine in Paris. The hardest part will be to resist the pastries...

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 09:26 PM
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Leiden is a fine base, but better, especially if you are traveling on to Paris, would be The Hague, as that gives you access to Thalys directly, instead of having to travel to a Thalys station first (they stop at Amsterdam CS, Schiphol, The Hague HS and Rotterdam.

Better still than The Hague would be Rotterdam of course. Bonus: from Rotterdam it's 2.5 hours by Thalys to Paris. Rotterdam also gives easy access to Delft, The Hague, Leiden, and Dordrecht and/or Kinderdijk windmills. Antwerp is an hour away, by regular intercity, half an hour by Thalys.
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Old Apr 17th, 2017, 10:05 PM
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Gonna join the thread, I have just the similar question
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Old Apr 18th, 2017, 06:20 AM
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Thank you, everyone, for all the input!
I will definitely look into getting some of the train tickets as soon as possible, while we can still (hopefully) afford them!

Also--Sorry I didn't explain the trip better. I thought I had the time-line spelled out but must have deleted it without realizing.
It is a relatively short trip--which is why I am concerned about which town to visit/stay in Belgium, as I know we won't have time to see everything we want to see!
We will be spending a total of 18 days. 4 days in Amsterdam, 2 in Leiden(?), 5 in Paris, 5 in Ghent, and just one day/night in Brussels before departing.


hetismij2-- I will definitely print out the cards with the Celiac info. I am not as severe as some people (including my sister) but still get into trouble occasionally with cross contamination at restaurants. I'm so glad to hear that the super markets have a good supply of GF products, as I think that will save me a lot of trouble!

swandav2000--This is great news. I am so so excited to have buckwheat crepes! And I know, I am going to be green with envy watching my husband enjoy all the delicious pastries! But I've been dealing with it for over 5 years so I am (relatively) used to it ; )

menachem --I will definitely look into all of those places. We just have such a short time to spend and Leiden seemed to be much easier to explore in 2 days than Rotterdam... I would love to see the Kidnerdijk windmills... I'll have to do more research. Thanks!
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Old Apr 18th, 2017, 07:41 AM
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Distances in NL are shot short that it's possible to stay in one place and still visit everywhere where you want to visit. E.g. Amsterdam - Rotterdam by IC Direct is 40 minutes. Amsterdam - Delft by regular train is 60 minutes. Amsterdam - The Hague is 45 minutes, Amsterdam - Leiden is 30 minutes.

Leiden is small, you don't need 2 days!

Kinderdijk: get to Rotterdam, take Waterbus to Kinderdijk (with a change to the local ferry at Ridderkerk during the winter months or direct during summer) Done.
You could combine it easily with a visit to Dordrecht, also one of those gorgeous "republican" cities, much like Leiden.

In Belgium, my preference would be Gent over Antwerp.
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Old Apr 18th, 2017, 12:10 PM
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Great info, menachem. Thanks again, I appreciate it! : )
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