Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Two weeks or so in Belgium and Netherlands

Two weeks or so in Belgium and Netherlands

Old Dec 20th, 2013, 11:36 AM
  #41  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 6,476
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There is no organization more fearful of controversy than a tourist board. They probably described the invasion of the Nazis as large group of vacationaing culture vulures with extreme needs.

Thus Holland it is.
IMDonehere is offline  
Old Dec 20th, 2013, 12:40 PM
  #42  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,911
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
<i>Two weeks or so in Belgium and Netherlands
Posted by: IMDonehere on Dec 16, 13 at 2:26am
We are in the planning stages of a trip in late April or early May that will be limited to Belgium and Holland.
We will not bike as a form of locomotion but could rent a car to see things in the countryside.
Can you suggest serious writers of Belgium and The Netherlands who have been translated in English?
We are planning on eating Indonesian food in Amsterdam and any other ethnic food you would suggest.</i>

As has been mentioned a visit to Keukenhof should be near the top of your list. Here is my photolog of a bike trip from Haarlem http://tinyurl.com/5nwqzp. Of course you can drive, take public transportation, or go on a commercial tour.

Two of my favorite books on NL are "Tulipomania" by Mike Dash and "The Undutchables" by Colin White and Laurie Boucke. Both are current.
From the last century and beyond, if you can find them, I suggest:
"The Lands of Dykes and Windmills" by Frederick Spencer Bird, 1882.
"Through the Gates of the Netherlands' by Mary E. Waller, 1906. This is a beautifully written account of two Americans who moved to Holland a hundred years ago. I followed 70 years later. It is amazing how many things remain the same.
"Holland on Ten Pounds" by Sidney A. Clark, 1936. Twenty years before the famous $5 Frommer book this man did it for &pound;10, per week!

"Indonesian food" is OK if you like Taco Bell. I can't tolerate the smell, much less the grub. There are far better native places to eat, many of them.
spaarne is offline  
Old Dec 20th, 2013, 12:44 PM
  #43  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 13,617
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I enjoyed Brussels quite a bit - we spent 3 days there and had a great time. I think it is one of the most under-rated cities that I have been to. But there are others who didn't care for it much.

I liked the general atmosphere of the city - it is fairly laid back and friendly while still being urban. We found great food and tremendous beer everywhere we went - add chocolate and waffles and it is heaven. We found lots of friendly bars and quite a bit of live music on weekend nights. I am a big fan of art nouveaux architecture, of which there is a lot in Brussels. I loved the comic murals on many buildings.
november_moon is offline  
Old Dec 20th, 2013, 01:30 PM
  #44  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 6,476
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks again including the book recommendations. It seems the time we will spend in Belgium is expensing.
IMDonehere is offline  
Old Dec 20th, 2013, 01:55 PM
  #45  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thus Holland it is.>

Only if speaking to non-Dutch - to Dutch we should be sensitive to their feelings and desires - The Netherlands it should be - but on a forum where most folk say "Holland" then Holland of course is fine but so is The Netherlands or the Low Lands for Belgium and The Netherlands as we learned in school.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Dec 20th, 2013, 02:24 PM
  #46  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 6,476
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
That said, is the language they speak in Belgium, Belch?
IMDonehere is offline  
Old Dec 20th, 2013, 02:48 PM
  #47  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,911
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
<i>IMDonehere on Dec 20, 13 at 6:24pm
That said, is the language they speak in Belgium, Belch?</i>

Caution. Language is no laughing matter in Belgium. It is French (Walloon) in the south and Dutch (Vlaams) in the north. Bruxelles/Brussel is officially bi-lingual.
spaarne is offline  
Old Dec 20th, 2013, 05:50 PM
  #48  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 6,476
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I will watch that.
IMDonehere is offline  
Old Dec 20th, 2013, 08:22 PM
  #49  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,839
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Please do. Actually, it's not even Dutch, but Flemish. There are marked differences, and the Dutch and the Flemish don't go together as well as might be expected.

Belgium is involved in what can only be called a long secession. Flemish nationalists have always had the stench of nazi collaboration hanging around them and in fact two political parties (NVA and Vlaams Belang) are now political forces to reckon with, VB being a "reformed" movement. Yet from time to time photographs surface of VB members in politically compromising situations, usually with their right arm stretched out. The annual Flemish commemoration of WW 1, the IJzerbedevaart, is usually a venue for all kinds of neo nazi groups. There used to be a lot of resentment against Wallons for their former dominance of Vlaanderen along with a ban on Flemish and outright discrimination of Flemish speaking Belgians. Now that the French speaking part of Belgium has fallen behind and is dependent on the Flemish speaking part, only the Wallons are in favor of the Kingdom of Belgium and royalist, while the Flemish want secession or in any case a much loser federation and want to stop the flow of money from Vlaanderen to the Wallonie. The situation is especially tense around Brussels, which is officially bi-lingual, but which is being linguistically annexed by French speakers. There, something as innocuous as a cycle tour around Brussels through Flemish speaking municipalities can already create a lot of communal tension.
menachem is offline  
Old Dec 20th, 2013, 08:23 PM
  #50  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,839
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
loser = looser (why no edit function? )
menachem is offline  
Old Dec 20th, 2013, 08:26 PM
  #51  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,839
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/yt-fP3...rbedevaart_96/
menachem is offline  
Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 09:14 AM
  #52  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,209
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Great info to help us plan our trip to Amsterdam!

Thanks!
2010 is offline  
Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 11:42 AM
  #53  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 6,476
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As of 15 minutes ago here is the proposed itinerary

Day 1-Arrive Brussels (morning) walk around until we drop
2-Day in Brussels
3-Rent car head for Ypres
4-Day in Ypres
5-Drive to Bruges
6-Day in Bruges
7-Drive to Gent
8-Day in Gent
9-Drive to Oosterscheldekering in Holland and spend night in ANtwerp-drop off car
10-Train to AMersterdam
11-17 Amsterdam with day trips to Delft and Haarlem and maybe one other town by train.

We will get an apartment in Amsterdam, otherwise hotels and b and b's.
IMDonehere is offline  
Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 11:51 AM
  #54  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 6,476
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the political landscape synopsis.
IMDonehere is offline  
Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 08:58 PM
  #55  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,839
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Gladly done. Europe, it's complicated, Belgium, a bit more so.

Looking like a great itinerary. If you visit the Oosterscheldekering, do remember to stop in nearby Veere.

http://www.planetware.com/netherland...-zld-veere.htm

There's a connection with Brugge too, as Veere took over as a Scottish staple town in the 1500s.
menachem is offline  
Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 09:45 PM
  #56  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 6,476
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you for the suggestion. A number of countries have complicated pasts which lead to complicated current issues. We are most familair with Spain which too has many languages, histories, cultures, and heritages that have created present day problems.

These are very interesting and manifest themselves in all sorts of overt and covert ways. It is this hidden world that is almost impossible to know and see during a short visit.

When people say you are spending too much time in a country, it usually means their interests are not the same as yours, and time is an issue. As noted we have spent considerable time in Spain and less in Italy, France, and the UK but there is never enough time and always another something to see.
IMDonehere is offline  
Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 01:21 AM
  #57  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 20,525
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think you may have left too much time for travel on Day 7. Driving to Gent from Brugge is a very short trip. Of course you could spend more time in either Brugge or Gent. Or even take the train in from Gent to Brussels to see more of that city. Not sure how much time you are planning to spend in Antwerp but that city is worth at least a full day.
Vttraveler is online now  
Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 02:41 AM
  #58  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 6,476
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Day 7 would be a drive to Gent and the rest of the day in Gent. We might consolidate days 3 and 4 into one day at Ypres and add a full day in Antwerp.

In Amsterdam we will see at least three museums with a full day alloted for the Rijksmuseum and half days for Anne Frank and the Van Gogh. Right now there are free days in Amsterdam to walk the city and see other sights.

One of our favorite things to do in large cities, is to have lunch out and buy meat, cheese, bread, wine, chocolate, etc, and throw it in the backpack for a meal at night. That way you can have a sampling of the local stores and a feast. We are not shoppers unless we see something unusal and for a small amount of gifts.
IMDonehere is offline  
Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 03:31 AM
  #59  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 20,525
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you like beer, don't forget to pick up some great Belgian beer while you are out buying your supplies for the evening. There is a link to a thread with beer suggestions at the end of my 2011 trip report from our trip to Belgium.
Vttraveler is online now  
Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 04:29 AM
  #60  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 6,476
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Horrors of horrors, I do not drink but my wife will try the beers. There is a small town near Ypres that supposedly is the epicenter for Belgian. Personally I looking forward to assaying the chocolates.
IMDonehere is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -