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Questions about Amsterdam, Brussels, Brugge and Delft

Questions about Amsterdam, Brussels, Brugge and Delft

Old Jul 1st, 2006, 06:52 AM
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Questions about Amsterdam, Brussels, Brugge and Delft

I have the opportunity to go to Amsterdam for work some time during the last week of September, and I'd like to have my husband join me over there for about a week or so to do some traveling around the Netherlands and Belgium. I'm in the early stages of planning, so I have some questions.

First, what would be the minimum number of days to go from Brussels to Brugge to Delft to Amsterdam? I don't have exact dates for my business meeting yet - and whatever dates I need to be in Amsterdam for business will influence how many days we have to travel around. Visiting those four cities would be my ideal itinerary - just trying to figure out realistically how much time we'd need to make it happen.

Also, if we can't make that happen, which city would you recommend we drop? Obviously, Amsterdam is a given, because of the business trip - but the other three are negotiable. My goal is to get a good taste of both countries (literally - we love food) and really just soak up the atmosphere.

I'd appreciate any advice - thanks!

Meredith
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Old Jul 1st, 2006, 07:05 AM
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The 'touristic' centers of Delft and Bruges are quite small - easily visited one day each... Amsterdam can be fairly sampled in 2-3 days (couple of museums, Anne Frankhuis, canal tour, walkabouts...). Some are attracted to Brussels, others are not. It takes perhaps a bit more effort to truly appreciate. Has some good museums and restaurants, know for beer varieties... 2 days would probably let you know if you liked it or not.

I didn't check train routes but maybe 2-3 days in Amsterdam after your business, train to Delft (about 1.5 hours) and visit Delft, then on to Bruges and spend the night... move on to Brussels the next late afternoon and give it a couple of days. You can fly home from there, or you can return to Amsterdam - that train takes about 3 hours. (you'd have to find out if there are luggage lockers in the Delft train station..)
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Old Jul 1st, 2006, 07:17 AM
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I would say stay in center of Brugge at least one night and see most in an 8-hour day. Very walkable.
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Old Jul 1st, 2006, 07:39 AM
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We spent five nights in Amsterdam last June and really fell in love with that beautiful city. We went to London then Paris then Amsterdam via train, so I can't help with the other towns. There was plenty to do in Amsterdam for us for 5 nights. Here's my trip report:

"Final stop: Amsterdam. Five nights’ stay, first visit for all of us (family of four).

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Amsterdam! You always hear of the Red Light district and the coffee shops and the laissez-faire attitude, but you don’t hear how open and friendly the people are, how lovely the canals and side streets, how wonderfully trendy the restaurants and cafes, how people are out strolling at all hours of the night and you feel safe everywhere. I think I’d expected it to be quaint and charming (which it is), but in a dark wood-paneled cliché way, not in the young and contemporary way it is.

The standard reply we were given in Amsterdam, when we asked for anything, was always “Of course!” How refreshing.

We stayed in a fabulous location, at The Hotel Residence le Coin, which was directly across a small street from the Hotel de l’Europe, down the street from the Hotel Doelan, on Nieuwe Doelenstraat (sp?). A great neighborhood in the heart of old Amsterdam.

The hotel has a lift and A/C, also free use of the hotel’s washing machine and clothes dryer in the basement (which was welcome as we’d been traveling over a week when we arrived there). Each room has a little kitchenette, a nice-sized bath, large rooms with wooden floors and a sitting area. It’s fairly new, so everything sparkles. Very friendly front desk, too.

Two cafes on the same block as the hotel were wonderful: Café Katoen for a university atmosphere, and Café de Jaren, for great table seating on the canal.

Amazing dinners at two restaurants in particular:
“Stout!”, at Haarlemmerstraat 73 (www.restaurantstout.nl). Fabulous ‘foamy asparagus’ soup with shrimp, chateaubriande, fresh fish, dessert course, wine list. Very trendy lighting. Great service. We’d gone to the neighborhood in search of a restaurant called “Lof” which we’d seen written up. We didn’t like its atmosphere, but were lucky that Stout! was just across the street.

Also at “Restaurant Dining Eleven” we had a great dinner. It’s at Reestraat 11. Also trendy and contempory, well-presented and beautifully-served meal.

Another nice dinner at “frenzi”, at Swanenburgwal 232. Very simple and contemporary. We arrived shortly after 10:00p.m., when most restaurants close in Amsterdam, and persuaded the owner to sell us any left-overs they had in the kitchen! They put together a nice Caesar salad with cooked-in-the-shell shrimp and mango. Very nice.

Also a good brunch at a place across the street from frenzi—called “Puccini”. Creative salads and sandwiches. Very nice also.

We took a canal cruise one evening. Toured the Anne Frank Huis and the Van Gogh Museum. Visited the Nieuwe Kerk (sp?) Our teens went to a concert at the Paradiso and loved it.

One afternoon we did the 2:30 “Best of Holland” excursion to Volendam and Marken, with a stop to see wooden clogs made, Gouda cheese created, and to visit windmills. It was by bus, with a boat from Volendam to Marken. A lot of fun. Even our two teens liked it.

Our teens also liked shopping at one street in particular, between our hotel and the museum district. Also a Zara shop there, and many others like it. They thought the selection and prices were better in Amsterdam than what they’d seen in London and Paris even.

A detail about Amsterdam if you go there-- carry enough Euros in cash, because many places won't accept a credit card for a 'small' purchase (i.e. under 25 EU).
The only unpleasantness we encountered in Amsterdam related to cab rides and inconsistent pricing. Especially when our two teens were grossly overcharged cabbing to the hotel from the concert. They were well aware of the route, having walked it already twice, but we'd wanted them to cab home late at night. They knew the cabbie took a very round-about way back in order to over-charge. Also, when we arrived at the taxi sand at Central Station, I was literally swarmed by rather aggressive cabbies and felt uncomfortably jostled by them all.

 
Old Jul 1st, 2006, 07:17 PM
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Thanks for the good advice to everyone. And Maureen, thanks for including your trip report on Amsterdam!

It sounds like we should be able to hit all these destinations in a relatively short time frame - but if we have to skip one, any thoughts on which one?

Thanks again!
Meredith
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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 05:47 AM
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Topping this to give it one more chance. Then I promise I will let it die gracefully... Thanks!
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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 06:46 AM
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I just posted my trip report about a week or so back on Prague, Budapest, Brugge and Amsterdam (ended in Brussels for a day). You can look it up by searching my name.

While Amsterdam is definitely a don't miss, Brugge doesn't play fair.

After Brugge it's quite difficult to get excited about the views anywhere else. Every corner is a sight on a canal, beautiful building, pond and/or swans. Just not fair to the others.

Also, I believe they have a rule for stores; no hanging tourist junk on the front. That way you actually see the front of the buildings, etc.

We stayed in Brugge most of two days (slept over two nights and left early evening of the second day).

The first day we just walked around and ended up at the train station to buy our tickets for Amsterdam.

The second day we rented bikes and rode around for two hours going to the outskirts and then passing and stopping at the windmills and taking a bike path half way around the city and then through it.

We ended walking some of the same sights again but no matter there.

Amsterdam is definitely a city to visit for a few days. You must decide how much time to spend wandering and how much time to spend in museums. That will determine your timing.

One to three days should be fine depending on your breakdown.

The highlights of Brussels can be seen in part of a day also depending on your interests.

We were in delft many years ago but not on this trip.

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