Just thinking about this trip

Jul 13th, 2013, 09:13 AM
  #21  
 
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car rental to see the dikes>

not totally necessary to see the major enclosing dykes - such as the one that close the former salt water Zuider Zee off from the North Sea, turning it into the fresh water Ijslmeer (sp?) or the more impressive Delta Works just south of Den Hague - buses go over both - take trains to places where buses pick up.
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Jul 15th, 2013, 07:36 AM
  #22  
 
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Love the way you have revised your trip...sometimes I think planning a trip that involves several countries is like a rubik's cube; you have to twist and turn until the arrangement makes sense! Maybe one more day in Bruges and one less in Amsterdam for extra time in a beautiful Bruges or using Bruges as a base for a nearby city (check out Rick Steves book on Amsterdam/Belgium/Bruges as he delves into the nearby cities).

I saw the Crown Plaza in Bruges as we visited ruins in the basement...most likely a good elevator. The hotel we stayed at in Amsterdam, Hotel Fita, also had a tiny elevator that fit one person and one piece of luggage, but if that elevator wasn't working, the stairs were steep, shallow, and windy to the upper floors. Requesting a ground floor room would be good but then you have to deal with potential coming/going noises. You have plenty of time to find the right fit
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Jul 15th, 2013, 08:05 AM
  #23  
 
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Another great day trip from Amseterdam is The Hague. Beautiful architecture and of course Girl with a Pearl Earring. Sounds like youll be thtere in the fall, but if you end up there in the spring instead, be sure to add Keukenhof gardens to the itinerary to see the tulips. Haarlem is also a great place to visit... only 20 min or so train ride outside e city, so more of an afternoon jaunt than a day trip. Have fun!
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Jul 15th, 2013, 08:49 AM
  #24  
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Thanks for the additional suggestions. We are at the mercy of Delta FF.

There are only 36 extant Vermeers. It would be fun to see a few more but we shall see. We have seen about 10.

We are also very partial to Busch and Brueghel. In fact, years ago, we named one of our birds Brueghel.

Funny, Harlem is only about 40 minutes away from where I live now.
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Jul 19th, 2013, 05:23 AM
  #25  
 
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Good itinerary. I would scratch Brussels and pencil in Antwerp. Add one day to Brugge at the expense of Amsterdam? Probably a good call.

Do the real Haarlem for a day trip. I have lived there for 4 years.

Since your wife likes to drink she will enjoy the Hoppe and the Cafe Luxembourg at the Spui. Having read some of your comments on other threads here I think you would have a good time at the Hoppe with the locals. Warning: Dutch humor is very demeaning. Be ready for anything. A famous Dutch drink is a "jonge jenever" served ice cold to over the brim in a special fluted glass. The Rick Steves guide book to Amsterdam is rubbish.

Good call on the Rijksmuseum. My favorite is Frans Hals. There is also a small art museum in Haarlem, the Frans Hals.
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Jul 19th, 2013, 05:38 AM
  #26  
 
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The art museum in Brussels has a lot of
Brueghels on display too.
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Jul 20th, 2013, 10:42 AM
  #27  
 
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May I jump in to second the suggestion to go to Mauritzhaus Museum, favorite of all time for me, not least because it isn't huge. Three floors or so of a beautiful old house with exquisite paintings. You will not feel 'museumed' out at the end, just glad and grateful to see it.
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Jul 20th, 2013, 10:57 AM
  #28  
 
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The Mauritius is closed for remodeling. The Girl with the Pearl Earring just left San Francisco - not sure where its going next.

http://www.mauritshuis.nl/index.aspx?chapterID=9015

The Hague does have some great architecture, but not many specific 'sights'. It has the Peace Palace, and the Escher Museum and the Mauritius when its open, and Madurodam (a miniature of Holland), but not much else in the way of attractions. Very good restaurants though! You could attend a trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (we did).
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Jul 20th, 2013, 11:49 AM
  #29  
 
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The Hague has a green "village" feel at times. Prize spots are Voorhout (Unter den Linden in Berlin was modelled on it) and the Vijverberg.

Prince Willem the 5th's gallery is interesting.

Go for afternoon tea in Hotel des Indes, and do visit Panorama Mesdag

By the way, it's Maurits huis: Maurits house.
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Jul 20th, 2013, 01:16 PM
  #30  
 
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What a shame the Mauritshuis is closed! I loved that museum.
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Jul 20th, 2013, 02:06 PM
  #31  
 
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We spent 4 nights in Amsterdam in 2012 and I would say the number one highlight was our visit to the Six Collection. It's a private family collection in a gorgeous canal house that includes, among many other beautiful works of art and furnishings, two Rembrandts.

I read about it in a very old guidebook so I googled it and asked if we could visit (you have to write for an appointment, there is no fee). We were the only people on our tour. Baron Von Six himself answered the door and shook my hand, and an art history student gave us a one-hour tour of their incredible collection of art and furniture. What a great experience!
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Jul 20th, 2013, 02:37 PM
  #32  
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Thank you all. Since I am not a war criminal and the main museum is closed we will probably skip The Hague.The Six Collections, however, sounds interesting.

We are also staying two days in some places to slow down the pace. Not that we are old, but we are not kids any more and we travel with the idea that it is better to see a few places well, than many poorly. I know I am going to miss a lot of things in a lot of places.

Rick Steve's is basically useless, esepcially when it comes to the arts. We are visting too many countries to get a book for each but I will probably wind up taking Michelin Green Netherlands and Time Out Amsterdam.

I am glad the Dutch have a sharp sense of humor, I am not a gnetle soul.
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Jul 20th, 2013, 03:26 PM
  #33  
 
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Liked Delft, loved Leiden, same train line, do both
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Jul 20th, 2013, 04:02 PM
  #34  
 
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For arts Rotterdam, outside of Amsterdam, cannot be beat - I did about seven museums one day there with my National Museum Kaart - old art - new art - really contemporary art and architecture - old maritime museums and others - a famous modern house from 1920s by some famous Dutch dude, etc.
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Jul 20th, 2013, 04:22 PM
  #35  
 
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<
I am too, and for a short tag-along trip to Antwerp with my husband here's what I included:

Brussels - has a great art museum; Bosch and Brueghel are represented.

Antwerp - Brueghel's "Mad Meg" is here. While the Rubens House has very few "real" paintings, it is an interesting look at what life was like during Rubens' time.

Brugge - their art museum has a great Bosch; I had to miss this b/c I had to go *somewhere* on a Monday and all the art museums are closed on that day.

If you are a big Bosch fan, I highly recommend you visit his hometown, s'Hertogenbosch (also referred to as Den Bosch) in the Netherlands. There is a Bosch museum - no originals, but it contains high quality photo reproductions of all his works. They look very "real" and it was great to see all his work together. Also, for triptychs, you could open and close the panels to see what is painted on the outside. There is also a recreation of what his studio might look like, and some large scale reproductions of some of his crazy characters.

Also in s'Hertogenbosch is St. John's cathedral - if you go up top you can view some crazy gargoyle-like figures. I was disappointed I couldn't see these b/c the tower tour wasn't available when I was there.
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Jul 20th, 2013, 07:24 PM
  #36  
 
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We also enjoyed our quick visit to Rotterdam--saw the Museum van Boijmans (or something like that) and the famous modern house PalenQ refers to--the Sonnenveld House--it's a great self-guided tour (you get a headset.) We loved it. A side benefit was that there were hardly any tourists there(we went in early March) so we could see the art without any crowds and the people working at the museums we saw were very friendly and helpful.
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Jul 20th, 2013, 08:05 PM
  #37  
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Thanks again, these are all places we will consider. The more research I do, the more I want to eliminate Copenhagen. Or we will see where our budget leads.
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Jul 21st, 2013, 06:12 AM
  #38  
 
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The main negative we found in Copenhagen is that it is a major cruise ship port so choose your hotel carefully, a smaller one would avoid the cruise tour groups.
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Jul 21st, 2013, 11:18 AM
  #39  
 
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I stayed in a nice B&B a few miles outside the city center in Copenhagen - really nice - check out B&Bs as an alternative to pricey hotels and stay with locals.
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Jul 21st, 2013, 11:27 AM
  #40  
 
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<<>>

You would want to avoid The Hague if you ARE a war criminal, not if you're NOT a war criminal

BTW, menachem is right - there are beautiful parks in The Hague.
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