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Two weeks or so in Belgium and Netherlands

Two weeks or so in Belgium and Netherlands

Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 04:34 AM
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Belgium is home to the best Frites anywhere - french fries served in paper cups from ubiquitous Frites/Friten stands dotting Belgian streets - try the variety of different toppings like old standbys mayo and ketchup or curry sausce, etc.

A Belgian tradition.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 04:45 AM
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Yes,yes frites are high on our list as well.

There is a place in our neighborhood that tries to emulate the Belgian version and that is all they sell. We shall see how they measure up.

For the benefit of others we will conduct an independent and exhaustive survery. We were looking forward to moules frites as well but we will be there out of season.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 06:15 AM
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<i>IMDonehere on Dec 23, 13 at 8:45am
For the benefit of others we will conduct an independent and exhaustive survery. We were looking forward to moules frites as well but we will be there out of season.</i>

Brussels for mussels. Also try Antwerp. I think that the seasonality of mussels is history. They also come from New Zealand and other southern places.

You will probably also like <i>haring</i> in the Netherlands. <i>Haring</i> is raw herring. It is served from <i>vis</i> wagons which you can find scattered about in city centers. The best in Haarlem is the Lijnzaat stand at the Botermarkt, near the big V+D department store.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 06:35 AM
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and of course Wafels... Belgian waffles
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Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 08:41 AM
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Anyone see the posting, "Am I too fat too travel?" Well, it will be only on the way back.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 07:27 PM
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Is anyone familiar with these places to stay?
Thanks.

bruges
http://www.bedandbreakfastbrugge.be/
baert B&B 75E

Guesthouse Nuit Blanche
http://www.bruges-bb.com/bed-and-breakfast.htm

Ypres
hotel Kasteelhof 'tHooghe
http://www.hotelkasteelhofthooghe.be/

Ghent
Bon Vivant Boat
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev..._Province.html
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Old Dec 24th, 2013, 08:31 AM
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Anyone see the posting, "Am I too fat too travel?" Well, it will be only on the way back>

Let's see Belgian chocolates (truffles are great) - frites - wafels all washed down by beer - only moules are not fattening - if they were not smothered in butter!
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Old Dec 30th, 2013, 08:44 PM
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I will give you my narrow perspective, mostly of cultural stuff.

If you like Art Nouveau architecture, you are in prime territory. You will want to see the Cogels Oysylei district in Antwerp, several districts in Brussels (the Horta museum is a must-see) and stroll around the Hague. The Hague also has a fabulous small museum, the Mauritshuis, that has some very famous Vermeers (Girl with Pearl Earring etc.) so from a cultural point of view the Hague packs a real punch and is well worth the visit.

Ghent is a very nice walking city, lovely canals and old architecture, and has some excellent classical concerts, as do Brussels and (of course) Amsterdam. If you like classical music see what's up at the BOZART in Brussels, at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and, for that matter, wherever you will be. The quality is very high.

Bruges is heartbreakingly beautiful. Antwerp itself is reasonably attractive (and the Rubens house is interesting) and its main museum has an extraordinary Antonello da Massina Crucifiction, the brother to another version he did which is housed in the National Gallery in London. Amsterdam's art highlights include the Riijksmuseem, the van Gogh museum and the Hermitage. Smarter people than me can tell you more about those.

As you see, my suggestions are from a very narrow perspective, but I hope they are useful!
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Old Dec 30th, 2013, 08:48 PM
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Oh, forgot. If you like chocolate, make a pilgrimage to Mary in Brussels. Just incredible.
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Old Dec 30th, 2013, 09:42 PM
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Thank you. Please note that the Mauritshuis in The Hague is not scheduled to re-open until some time in June.

Thanks I did not realize that there was a branch of the Hermitage in Amsterdam.

We are always interested in architecture. We have spent considerable time in Spain and it will interesting to see the Belgian Art Nouveau as compared Gaudi or that in France.

We just booked our flights tonight for the end of April through the middle of May.

We chose one hotel, in Gent, with the silly name of Snooz Inn.

The pace of the trip will be incredibly leisurely, especially when you consider how close Belgium and Dutch towns are to one another.

DanLev, I will mention your name at Mary's.

We have a Bosch triptych print in the house. Forty years ago they used to sell prints at the Prado that were on canvas rather than paper. The difference in texture and appearance is striking. We have not seen them since. And we had a cockatiel named Bruegel but we never decided if it was the elder or younger.

So, we are very much looking forward to this trip.
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Old Dec 30th, 2013, 11:11 PM
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Thanks for the reply. Mary is not a person, just the name of the chocolate shop, so they won't know me. Incredible stuff though.

Pity about the Mauritshuis. That's right, some of their pictures have recently toured here to San Francisco.

The Belgian Art Nouveau is similar to French, to my amateur eye. Gaudi is unique, of course, and a little too Dr. Seuss for me. I preferred others in Barcelona - the Eixample was fabulous to stroll around.

But you can track down some AN walking maps online for Brussels, and it's great to see in its natural habitat, as it were. I find the Horta Museum to be soul-satisfying.

By the way, the best art nouveau city I have been in is Nancy, in France. Better even than Paris, Brussels, Antwerp, Vienna, Prague or Barcelona. I haven't been yet to Darmstadt or Riga, though I want to. Nancy is something else entirely. If you haven't been, it is worth two days. Look at images online and you will see...

In general, the design element is very strong in the Low Countries for some reason. The Hague has surprisingly (for me) creative architecture. Again, you can find itineraries online.

Lovely to know that there has lived a cockatiel named Bruegel.
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Old Dec 30th, 2013, 11:15 PM
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Oh, I forgot. I have a great B&B to recommend in Brussels: Chez Dominique. Very near the Central Station, lovely place, nice hosts, great breakfast, reasonable price.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev...-Brussels.html
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Old Dec 31st, 2013, 04:03 AM
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I've spend days in Darmstadt and overall it is a dowdry modern blah town but perhaps I did not ferret out the art nouveau!
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Old Dec 31st, 2013, 05:00 AM
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In The Hague, consider the Prins Willem V gallery as a destination.

It's separate from the Mauritshuis, but details can be found on the Mauritshuis site

http://www.mauritshuis.nl/index.aspx?ChapterID=8911

And Panorama Mesdag

http://panorama-mesdag.com/

an amazing visual experience
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Old Dec 31st, 2013, 05:50 AM
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http://www.madurodam.nl/en/

and you can see all of Holland in miniature also in The Hague at Madurodam -for all ages!
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Old Dec 31st, 2013, 10:01 AM
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Thanks all again. Will resume late Wednesday. Off to spend New Year's with a bunch of other old farts.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 03:34 AM
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<i>I did not realize that there was a branch of the Hermitage in Amsterdam. </i>

And it's covered by the National Museumkaart.

<i>And we had a cockatiel named Bruegel but we never decided if it was the elder or younger.</i>

"Mad Meg" by the Elder is at the Museum Mayer van den Bergh in Antwerp.

If you have an interest in modern architecture, Rotterdam is filled with post WWII construction, since most of the city was bombed. Some interesting buildings, including the Kijk Kubus.

http://www.kubuswoning.nl/introkubus2.html

Robyn
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 05:20 AM
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Thank you. My interest in architecture is more about the aesthetic of an individual structure than any one style. I started to write about specific styles but there are always exceptions that I both love and hate. One constant,for me, is whether how any structure is designed with regard to what is surrounds it.

Thanks again.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 06:01 AM
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Would that we might return and especially in the Springtime, Keukenhof Gardens being absolutely beautiful. You can easily cover your destinations via auto or trains. That's one advantage of a relatively small and easily traveled region. You are already knowledgeable and have good suggestions in this thread but I'll just post our own trip report which was however a river cruise. That is so easy with all the canals. No mayo on frites thank you. We did enjoy some extra days in Amsterdam and relaxing in Brugge. Yes, Delta Works an engineering feat worth exploring.
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...nd-belgium.cfm
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 02:24 PM
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Serious writers: I really only know a few but the fault lies with me and not because there are only a few. You might be interested in the work of Maurice Maeterlinck (a Flemish playwright who is very well known abroad, and who wrote in French); likewise a couple of modern authors who write travel literature such as Lieve Joris or Jan Brokken (I think Lonely Planet has published them in English). For the Netherlands, Harry Mulisch, who wrote The Discovery of Heaven, which is considered to be outstanding. Or of course there are classical writers like Joost van den Vondel (17th century), for whom Vondelpark is named.

Well, there would be more but maybe this will start you off.

For art: be sure to see the Horta Museum in Brussels. If you are interested in Art Nouveau there are whole neighbourhoods in that style and you can do tours that point out that style locally. There are dozens of artists in Belgium too, but again I only know the work of a few personally such as James Ensor, or René Magritte, who has his own museum in Brussels. In the Netherlands, be sure to get to the Kröller-Müller Museum in the Hoge Veluwe.

Lavandula
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