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Two weeks or so in Belgium and Netherlands

Two weeks or so in Belgium and Netherlands

Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 03:00 PM
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Thank you all once again. We look up those writers and other touring suggestions.

My taste in architecture ranges from the classical Moorish style, simple on the outside, complex and ornate on the inside, to emulate what a person should strive for. But I am also fascinated by Gaudi and Puig and how an artistic form can create a sensibility for the place where it exists. I usually like clean lines and simplicity rather than baubles and bubbles, but I am always open to something well done.

Probably the period I like the least is 1950's- 2000's but there too are grand exceptions.

We are looking forward to medieval buildings and surprises.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 03:20 PM
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There are vestiges of medieval buildings in Brussels like the Porte de Hal. Here is a tour that might interest you:

http://visitbrussels.be/bitc/BE_en/o...of-brussels.do

If you do end up following the Art Nouveau line (turn of the last century), the Museum of Musical Instruments (at Coudenberg) is an amazing example, by Paul Saintenoy. Even more amazing: two or three buildings to the left is another building by the same architect, completely different style, because it was commissioned by a Protestant, rather than Catholic client, and different communities within Brussels had different architectural tastes. There is quite a bit of interesting architecture in Brussels, but you have to be patient and ferret it out!

Lavandula
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 03:38 PM
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Hard to leave out Alesund in Central Norway for its art nouveau structures throughout the city. At first look one is stunned by such gems.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 04:48 PM
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@tower - thank you, Alesund looks wonderful! I had no idea... I will put it on my list of places to see.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 05:09 PM
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Thank you all again for your suggestions.

Hey, Tower, do I make a left or right when I leave Brussels to get to Alesund?
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 05:53 PM
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Actually, go straight north through Denmark, take ferry to Oslo and then drive to Alesund in scenic fjord country. When you see a sign saying "Welcome to Tiajuana" you're lost!
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 06:00 PM
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Danlev...here are some familiarization photos of beautiful Norway..go to #80, and there begins Alesund. Actually look at all the pix, they're quite indicative of the beauties of Norway, including the remote Lofotens. The entire country offers varying degrees of incurable eye candy

https://picasaweb.google.com/stuartt...uHk6iIgbSEgAE#

stu tower
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Old Jan 4th, 2014, 05:18 AM
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Yes, beautiful scenes of Norway. Bergen is one of my favorite places. Enjoyed the tram-train-ship trip from Oslo.
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Old Jan 8th, 2014, 08:45 PM
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OK sports I have a few questions.

We are renting a car from Brussels and going to Ypres. The map indicates we first head to Gent and then southwest to Ypres. I always like to a rent a car away from the city center so I do not have to negotiate the city itself.
The two locations, besides the airport, for the rental car facility include:
Rue Americane 145
Gare Du Midi

Which would be better situated?

We also made a reservation for the Hotel Bloom in Brussels. Is anyone familiar with the joint?

And we are renting an apartment for a week in Amsterdam, north of the Jordaan on Van Noordtkade and close the main train station. The posters say that Amsterdam is easy to transverse by foot and tram. As I noted above bikes are not an option for locomotion. How convenient or inconvenient is that for the usual suspects of museums and sights?

Thanks as always.
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 01:38 PM
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Gare du Midi is one of the major rail stations in Brussels and is the main station for the Eurostar and for trains to Paris. It is very easy to get to, as there are trains, metro and trams accessing the station. (The other train stations are Bruxelles-Central / Brussel-Centraal and Bruxelles Nord / Brussel-Noord). It is sort of a seedy area but not downright unsafe. However, it would be my pick if I had to get a rental car, if I didn't know my accommodation.

Rue Américaine is on the border of Ixelles and St.-Gilles, which is mostly suburban. However, it is just off the Avenue Louise, an area which has a lot of hotels (a posh shopping district), so if you stayed near Louise or Place Stéphanie, possibly it would be simpler to get to that location. You could walk it from Av. Louise pretty easily, or there are trams down the length of Av. Louise.
Rue Américaine also has the Horta Museum.

I don't know Hotel Bloom apart from the website, but St. Josse-ten-Noode is also not my favourite district - the area around Bruxelles-Nord is also a little seedy. You are also not far from the built-up part of the city. But having said that, I have heard good recommendations of that particular hotel here on Fodors. Plus you are reasonably close to the major shopping street in central Brussels, Rue Neuve, where there is a supermarket (in City2 shopping centre). There are quite a few hotels close to Rogier / Botanique so you are hardly alone in that area. If you stay there you can take a metro to Bruxelles-Midi (metro: Botanique) quite readily.

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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 03:25 PM
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Looks like you are inundated with answers. You might look at my trip report -

http://www.rimerson.com/Netherlands0...erlands09.html

We like to see art so it's pretty heavy on that. Loved the Grand Square in Brussels.
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 05:16 PM
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Roblm, loved your trip report. Alas, I couldn't get your slideshows to load - got an error page. But your other photos came out fine.
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 06:27 PM
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Thanks for the information and the trip report. We understand we will take a cab or public transportation to the car rental facility.

Please note:
Rick Steve's knows about art, what Mother Teresa knew about sex.
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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 07:08 PM
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OK, well, your objective is to get onto the ring road around Brussels - Midi is just a bit closer to that. I assume you are looking at Avis, which is in Rue de France, just behind the station. From there, there are main roads all the way to the ring (starting in Rue des Veterinaires, ending in Av. d'Itterbeek). Check the route on Via Michelin website.
On the ring road, drive north until you get to the road to Oostende (to the east), and follow it as far as Gent (Gand/ Ghent), then on to Kortrijk and Ieper.

I don't think the Rue Américaine site has as simple access to the ring. It's a bit further west. However, in terms of traffic, it is much quieter. If you are not experienced in driving on the right (as I don't know where you are based), this would offer a little bit of an opportunity to get the hang of the car and right-hand driving before launching into main roads.

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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 07:09 PM
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Sorry, that should read 'Oostende (to the west)' and 'further east' - apologies!

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Old Jan 9th, 2014, 07:56 PM
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Thank you Lavandula. Yes it is Avis, and I assume Avis is Avis and unlike other countries where it could be AutoEurope or some such company. They seem to have best price. We are dropping the car off in Antwerp a week later.

I am an American, so I usually drive on the right. I am sad to say, I have never mastered driving on the left and have missed the English, Scottish, and Irish countryside due to that failing. And I live in NYC and have driven in Sicily so I am road tested.
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Old Jan 10th, 2014, 03:57 AM
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The posters say that Amsterdam is easy to transverse by foot and tram. As I noted above bikes are not an option for locomotion. How convenient or inconvenient is that for the usual suspects of museums and sights?

Amsterdam is very easy to traverse by foot and tram. The center/centrum, where most attractions are located, is very compact, but it is laid out in rings with spokes, like a bicycle tire, so you can get turned around easily. You can pick up a good map of the city, with tram stops, from the VVV, across from the entrance to Centraal Station.

You can also purchase a 1-7 day tram card from the GVB, which also works on the GVB buses (not Conexxion). The GVB is in the same building complex as the VVV. Here's a link to their website.

http://en.gvb.nl/ovinmamsterdam/Pages/bestdeal.aspx

Robyn
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Old Jan 10th, 2014, 04:58 AM
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"Rick Steve's knows about art, what Mother Teresa knew about sex."

You do realize that that comment came across as being incredibly patronizing - not just to Mr. Steves (who as a public figure must surely be used to it) or to Mother Teresa (who is presumably past caring) but to Roblm.

Look, by all means criticize Rick Steves' opinions - but that's not the purpose of your thread. Your thread is about travel logistics, or if your prefer, travel engineering. If you know as much about engineering as you apparently do about art and sex (I would be particularly interested in learning about board certification in the latter) you will understand the concept of 'step-wise refinement' - starting with a rough simple plan, and then refining to one's own specific needs. It is often the start, i.e. the rough draft that can prove the most challenging, and it is as an aide to this step that certain travel guide authors appeal - or do not - to their readers.

Please also remember that in the absence of knowing a traveler's specific objectives for the places they visit, it is impossible to evaluate whether they did a 'poor' job by visiting as 'many' or as few places as they did. Don't make the mistake so many here do, and assume that travel one-upmanship equates to sophistication. It does not.
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Old Jan 10th, 2014, 05:26 AM
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I guess the sense of humor of police are out in force. Oh, my god a joke was made and, and, it mentioned Mother Teresa. I suggest you turn off the TV, do not listen to the radio, and not buy a newspaper, because who knows what people will say.

I did not realize that Rick Steve's was above reproach. This is after all, as you point out, a travel board. And he is a professional travel writer. And he just the worst guide book writer. He knows little about art but continues to give people advice. That and many other shortcomings.

OK, it was harsh to Roblm and for that I apologize, but I am not going to apologize for a joke.
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Old Jan 10th, 2014, 06:36 AM
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Sorry, Artstuff, thanks for the info.
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