Just thinking about this trip

Jun 30th, 2013, 06:10 AM
  #1  
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Just thinking about this trip

We have been traveling independently for over 40 years but some reason have never been to Amsterdam. The latest whimsy is to visit Amsterdam, Delft, Bruges, and Copenhagen. It would be a two week trip. We are great admirers of the Masters, inveterate museum goers, and Bruges became more interesting after the film that highlighted excessive cursing and violence.

We like quirky but moderately priced accomodations, but due to our age, stairs are no longer fun, especially when we must tote our own bags. We can and do walk straight ahead for extended periods of time.

We eat almost everything and adapt quite readily.

It seems that Delft is a mere one hour train ride from Amsterdam, so we would not move hotels. Bruges is over 2 hours by high speed train but seems like it is worth 2 days.

My wife would like to take a hike by the ocean and also see one of the vaunted dikes. The air fare to Copenhagen from AMS is a mere pittance. On first blush, it seems the best itinerary would be fly in Amsterdam, stay one night, then take the train to Bruges for 2 days, then back to Amsterdam for 5 or 6 days then fly to Copenhagen for additional 4 or 5 days.

What are the follies of our ways?
What area of Amsterdam would be fun but convenient?
What would be a good hike/walk by the ocean?
What questions am I not asking?

Thank you in advance for your repsnses.
BigAleinstein is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 06:40 AM
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My wife would like to take a hike by the ocean and also see one of the vaunted dikes>

Zaandvoort, about 30 mins by train from Amsterdam is known for superb walking trails thru dunes and along the sea. You are going by train in Belgium and Holland - check these superb sites IMO for lots of good stuff - www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. Avoid the Thalys train when going to Bruges and just take regular IC or local trains to Antwerp Centraal station, change there for IC trains to Bruges - no seat reservations required like on Thalys and a flat fare - Thalys can cost a lot more but if you can score a really cheap Thalys ticket then perhaps that could be cheaper but to do that you must book months in advance and then cnnot change nor refund that ticket (www.thalys.com) - check the ABS fare on Thalys - All-Belgian-Stations fare where you can from any Belgian station like Antwerp then go onto any other Belgian station free within 24 hours - could be your cheaper best if you can score the very limited in number deep discount tickets - otherwise with the IC non-Thalys routes just buy your tickets in Amsterdam - a flat fare and those tickets are fully flexible - can be used on any train - no setting train times in concrete like with the Thalys.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 07:17 AM
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Are you prepared to rent a car, even if only for one day?
If so you can see plenty of dikes, including the daddy of them all the Afsluitdijk.

If you want to go to Bruges immediately why not fly to Brussels rather than Amsterdam?
hetismij2 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 08:09 AM
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Thank you for the information.

Thanks for the trains tips.

I am trying to use frequent flyers and as you know there are all sorts of restrictions. But I will see how Brussels works out.

And yes, we have rented cars all over Europe and drive a stick. And the freedom it provides could be an excellent way to go.
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Jun 30th, 2013, 08:50 AM
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We loved our apartment in Bruges. http://www.houseofseasons.be/ Hubby and daughter went up the "infamous" bell tower (referring to the movie *snicker*) and it WAS a very tight fit.

The Rijksmuseum was fabulous. Next time I go to Amsterdam, I'll stay near it and go every day. (This trip was with teens, so it was a highlights-only visit.) We stayed in the Jordaan on the Prinsengracht on a houseboat. GREAT neighborhood.
amy_torres_sd is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 08:58 AM
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Thanks Amy. The Rijksmuseum is the number one activity for us in Amsterdam.
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Jun 30th, 2013, 09:09 AM
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We were in Bruges, Amsterdam, Leiden and The Hague for quick visits last week. In Bruges we stayed at a lovely B&B where part of "that movie" was filmed. It was great, but did involve stairs and luggage-schlepping. (We're not normally B&B people, but we genuinely loved this place - No. 11 Exclusive Guest House). There are few big hotels in the center of Bruges, but we did notice a Crowne Plaza, and the Casselburgh is beautiful. If you don't like stair-climbing, you will NOT want to climb the tower (350 steps). We had a lovely lunch at Cafe Dell'Arte, and a fun dinner at Cambrinus (400 beer choices, quite good comfort food) - reservations essential at the latter (we didn't have one and at 7 pm got the last non-reserved table that was available until 8:30 (when we left and handed our table to another couple without a reservation, but we saw many turned away).

We didn't stay over in Amsterdam - just went to see the newly-restored/remodeled Rijksmuseum, and it is spectacular. Unfortunately, of course, the rooms with the Dutch Masters are very very crowded, but it was still worth it. Also, I didn't realize how much more the Rijksmuseum is - its collection includes many roomsful of historical artifacts in addition to the paintings. We were particularly blown away by the ship models. The restoration is simply amazing.

Leiden is a lovely city once you get a few blocks away from the train station. Architecture, history, university, etc. we had a very nice lunch/respite at cafe alongside a canal (I can find the name).
sf7307 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 09:26 AM
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We loved our visit to Amsterdam and recommend a visit to the Dutch Resistance Museum in addition to the excellent art museums and the Ann Frank House. We stayed on the Herengracht canal, also liked Jordaan a lot.
I enjoyed Copenhagen but liked Amsterdam even more.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 09:35 AM
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Thanks again for your expriernce and advice.

We will take a look at Leiden.

It seems that unquestionably people prefer Amsterdam over Copenhagen, we just have not been there.
BigAleinstein is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 10:23 AM
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"therwise with the IC non-Thalys routes just buy your tickets in Amsterdam - a flat fare and those tickets are fully flexible - can be used on any train - no setting train times in concrete like with the Thalys."

Please book a thalys between Amsterdam and Antwerp. Due to a variety of reasons and a huge political screw up, there isn't a viable IC train service from Amsterdam to Brussels in the foreseeable future.

The poor excuse for a direct service we have now connects The Hague to Brussels, and that only 8 times a day. Usually the travel advice is to take an IC to Roosendaal, and there get a local Belgian train to Antwerp. All stops. It takes almost 3 hours to reach Antwerp that way. So Thalys is really you best option between Amsterdam and Antwerp.

Copenhagen is lovely too. I think your choice of cities is great.
menachem is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 10:27 AM
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My favorite day trip from Amsterdam was to Leiden. Besides the Pilgrim history, the university gives Leiden added energy.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 11:09 AM
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BigAl - I think that you will miss out if you don't stay in Delft, if only for a night. we stayed there last spring and liked it a lot - it has a nice small town feel but still had lots to do. and if you like beer, it has the BEST bar/pub we have ever found.
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Jun 30th, 2013, 11:14 AM
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We will keep those suggestions in mind. ALthough my wife drinks, I do not. I know going to The Netherlands and not drinking beer is like getting out of prison and going to a bordello with a pocketful of money then deciding to give the money to charity.
BigAleinstein is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 01:25 PM
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BigAl - Delft was not all beer. they had nice coffee too. and pretty canals, museums, old buildings and a lovely warm atmosphere.

well worth a trip.
annhig is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 01:29 PM
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Ann

It was on our itinerary no matter what. It just seems like an historic and charming town.

We have Delta Skymiles for years and years and have made many trips using them. They want 120,000 miles for one person to arrive in Brussels from NYC and return to NYC from Copenhagen on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday 10 months from today. Delta has lost us as a customer.
BigAleinstein is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 02:19 PM
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Delft is a day trip I should think. You could do both Leiden and Delft in a day: they're on the same train line.

best coffee in Delft seems to be
http://otellidelft.nl
menachem is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 07:08 PM
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Again thank you all. Spent too much time today figuring out different airline configurations. If we booked today we would fly in Brussels, go to Bruges, then return to Brussels and fly to Copenhagen, Copenhagen to Amsterdam and then back home. We would probably allow for almost a week in Amsterdam since three days would be spent on days trip-Delft(maybe Leiden), a hike, and the dikes.

This would total about 18 days.
BigAleinstein is offline  
Jul 11th, 2013, 06:32 PM
  #18  
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This is becoming closer to a reality but for various reasons we will move this to Sept-Oct 2014.

TODAY's plan

Days 1-4 Fly Copenhagen spend four days including the day of arrival.
Day 5 Fly to Brussels-1 1/2 hour flight.
Day 6 Brussels
Day 7 take train to Bruges
Day 8 Bruges
Day 9 train to Amsterdam
Spend 7 days in Amsterdam which includes day trips to Delft, car rental to see the dikes, and a hike.

It seems people the Jordaan ara for hotels in Amsterdam. We are adveturous eaters. One of favorite things we like to do in large cities is have lunch out and while walking around buy cheese, meat, bread, chocolate desert, wine, or anything else that looks good and have a feast back in the hotel room.

If you have a favorite hike outside of Amsterdam or know a tour company that would go the dikes, we would forsake a rental car, please advise.

Thank you all again for your experience and advice.
BigAleinstein is offline  
Jul 11th, 2013, 07:07 PM
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We really like Copenhagen. It is an easy city to navigate with lots of interesting day trips eg Frederiksberg castle, Kronberg castle, Cliffs of Mons Klint, Roskilde viking ships
SusannahT is offline  
Jul 11th, 2013, 08:30 PM
  #20  
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Thanks for the tips.
BigAleinstein is offline  

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