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LONDON, BRUGES, CAEN/BAYEAU AMSTERDAM==COMMENT ON MY ITINERARY

LONDON, BRUGES, CAEN/BAYEAU AMSTERDAM==COMMENT ON MY ITINERARY

Dec 29th, 2001, 01:14 PM
  #1  
Harvey
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LONDON, BRUGES, CAEN/BAYEAU AMSTERDAM==COMMENT ON MY ITINERARY

This spring starting about April 29 I am planning a solo trip to London (7 nights). Then train, ferry/hyrdofoil to Bruges (3 nights). Then train to Caen or Bayeau where I want to go to the museum(memorial) in Caen and take a tour of the D-Day Beaches (probably from the memorial). Then a train to Amsterdam via Paris without a stop in Paris (if I can stand it). I'll spent about 4 or 5 nights in Amsterdam and see the Van Gogh exhibit. Am I planning too much? Comments, suggestions, and any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
 
Dec 29th, 2001, 02:13 PM
  #2  
Patrick
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I guess you are committed to flying into London and out of Amsterdam? Why not take a ferry to St. Malo or somewhere near Caen from England, then just work north ending in Amsterdam. Seems like a lot less backtracking.
 
Dec 29th, 2001, 05:53 PM
  #3  
Harvey
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Where can I get information about crossings from England to the D-Day beach area? Has anyone done this? This sounds like a good possibility.

As for flying into London and out of Amsterdam, that seems logical and probably won't cost too much. The best airfares (from CMH) have been in the 750-800 range.
 
Dec 29th, 2001, 06:53 PM
  #4  
janis
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First - your airfare seems quite high for that time of year. Should be able to do round trip to London for $450-500 (or maybe even less) and open jaw into London and out of Amsterdam for about $500-550.

Second - your itinerary has a lot of backtracking. One possible route could be Eurostar to Brussels then train to Amsterdam - train to Brugge - train to Normandy - ferry to the UK and fly out of London.
 
Dec 29th, 2001, 07:16 PM
  #5  
Harvey
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Janis, thanks for the suggestions. I too think I should be able to find air for 500-550 but have been unable to so far. Also I have been looking for info on passanger ferry to Caen/Bayeau area. Any suggestions appreciated.
 
Dec 29th, 2001, 09:05 PM
  #6  
xxx
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You can take a ferry from Dover to Calais. Not sure about transpo fromn Calais to Bayeux. Train? Bus? Maybe someone will chime in here.
 
Dec 29th, 2001, 09:52 PM
  #7  
gary
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I did a similar trip last spring. I would look into ferry service from England to Le Havre, Cherbourg, or St malo. I did not take ferry so don't have specific knowledge. However, ferry to Calais will entail a long roundabout train trip and consume a lot of time.

Caen and Bayeux deserve a minimum of a full day each. Bayeux is a charming town just to walk around as well as the seeing the Tapestry.

Getting from Caen to Bruges by train will require trip via Paris. To paraphrase "all roads lead to Rome", in France all trains lead to Paris. The Paris you see from the train window is very ugly, so please, please, spend a few hours in Paris to see its better side. You will need to get from Gare St Lazare to Gare du Nord for Belgium trains. Suggest a detour on the way to the Place de la Concorde metro station. You are now a couple of blocks away from the Tuilleries (park) and the Seine. It will be lovely in the spring. And Parisians are not as rude as most people say, however, they are more formal than Americans. And they will be in a good mood at the start of spring. Train stations have baggage rooms where you can leave your bags for a few hours for a nominal fee.

London is very big and very expensive. First day there should be the open air city tour where you can get on/off the bus all day long. Great to get your bearings and set some priorities. After that get a tube tourist pass (must purchase before leaving US) or daily tube pass (after 9.30 only, 4.50 pounds), good on tube and all city buses. See London Transport web site.

I don't think there are direct trains from Paris to Bruges, you will have to change in Brussels. There are direct trains from Bruges to Amsterdam via Antwerp. Some good art museums in Bruges.

If you want more info, email me. Bon voyage.
 
Dec 30th, 2001, 12:24 AM
  #8  
Sjoerd
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If you are at all interested to see the flower fields in the Netherlands, you may want to start in Amsterdam and make your trip in the opposite direction.
Best time for tulips is last two weeks of April and first week of May.
30 April is a national holiday in the Netherlands with a *huge* street party in Amsterdam, which I like but I must warn you that you'll only like it when you like *huge* crowds. Also, book soon because the flower time is high season here and many hotels are fully booked long in advance. Have a nice trip!
 
Dec 30th, 2001, 12:56 AM
  #9  
BTilke
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I think your itinerary sounds fine. Gary's suggestions are good, too, although you can in fact catch a Thalys to Brugge without changing trains in Brussels if you decide to follow his suggestions. The Brugge Thalys does stop in Brussels, then Ghent, but goes on to Brugge. This service is very limited, however, and it's not much more difficult to catch the more frequent Thalys to Brussels and change to a regular train to Brugge. There is a luggage check service in Brussels Gare du Midi, so if you want to spend a couple of hours seeing the Grand'Place, it's easy to do.
While you are in Brugge, consider going down to Ieper (Ypres) to see the superb, interactive WW I museum--an interesting contrast to the WW II sights you plan to see.
With all your travel, pack as light as you can. You won't need any dressy clothes, fortunately, for your trip.
FYI, for your Thalys trip, buy your tickets in advance. If you want more flexibility, buy the Thalys ticket only to Brussels, then go by regular train to Amsterdam. Doesn't take much longer than the Thalys due to the high number of stops.
Last but not least, IF there is a train strike or problems with the train for any other reason, you can catch a bus. The Eurolines bus service is www.eurolines.be and you can reserve a seat on the bus (if a strike is looming, contact them immediately, as the seats go very fast).
BTilke (Brussels)
 
Dec 30th, 2001, 03:52 AM
  #10  
Lois
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Bruges: Be sure to take opportunity to see Michaelanglo's statue of Madonna and Child, at Church of Our Lady. It's central in town, free admission, and having been 3 times, no crowds. It's small, but touchingly beautiful. Can't offer any logistic info, but sounds like great trip. Enjoy.
 
Dec 30th, 2001, 10:00 AM
  #11  
Harvey
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What is a THALYS?
 
Dec 30th, 2001, 11:17 AM
  #12  
BTilke
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The Thalys is a high speed train similar to the TGV (France) or Eurostar. It serves certain destinations in France, Switzerland and Germany, but its primary route is Paris/Brussels or Paris/Amsterdam (all Thalys trains to Amsterdam stop in Brussels, but not all Thalys trains to Brussels go on to Amsterdam). Almost all trains to Brussels from Paris are now via the Thalys (there is a late night non-Thalys "milk train"); there are still several regular trains from Brussels to Amsterdam (and back) each day in addition to the Thalys. For more information, see www.thalys.com
FYI, when there are "perturbations" to the regular trains (strikes, etc.) in a Thalys served country, the Thalys often still runs. But now always.
 
Dec 30th, 2001, 11:19 AM
  #13  
BTilke
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Forgot to add, Thalys is pronounced Taleess or Taliss (depending on where you're from). The "h" in Thalys is silent.
 
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