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Old 03-22-2014, 09:50 AM   #1381
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Did you happen to be there for the spring equinox?

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Old 03-23-2014, 11:06 AM   #1382
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Did you happen to be there for the spring equinox?

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No, unfortunately we were there on Wednesday the day before the equinox.
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Old 03-23-2014, 02:53 PM   #1383
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Planning a trip to Belgium in a few months. This will be my 8th or 9th visit, and mainly focused on the traditional Brussels/Brugge/Antwerp route.

DW has only been there with me a couple of times, so she won't have any trouble finding things to do, but I'm approaching the "been there, done that" stage.

Any offbeat suggestions would be welcome!
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Old 03-23-2014, 03:12 PM   #1384
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Well, by now you must have sampled all the good beers in Belgium!
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Old 03-23-2014, 04:54 PM   #1385
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Planning a trip to Belgium in a few months. This will be my 8th or 9th visit, and mainly focused on the traditional Brussels/Brugge/Antwerp route.

DW has only been there with me a couple of times, so she won't have any trouble finding things to do, but I'm approaching the "been there, done that" stage.

Any offbeat suggestions would be welcome!
If I were in Belgium, I might stop in to see the Ardennes Coticule quarry and workshop where they make coticule whetstones, in the village of Petit-Sart. Coticule stone has been mined since Roman times and fashioned into whetstones to sharpen knives and razors (and swords). This is the last operating workshop that makes them.

Heritage - home of the famous Belgian Coticule Whetstone Look especially at the pdf "Coticule Pilgrimage" for some nice pictures.

Ardennes Coticule - Home
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Old 03-23-2014, 05:10 PM   #1386
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If I were in Belgium, I might stop in to see the Ardennes Coticule quarry and workshop
Thanks, Gumby!
That looks interesting. I've been in that part of Belgium several times, but never heard of this. Probably won't get there this year (we'll just be in the north), but it's now on my list for future visits.

And Meadbh, you must realize that sampling all the good beers in Belgium is impossible. Even just all the great beers! They are constantly developing new marvels.
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Old 03-23-2014, 06:27 PM   #1387
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I was thinking of going to Brussels earlier this year but didn't for various reasons.

Netherlands and France are short train rides away, aren't they?

I would have gone for a week and base either entirely in Brussels with day trips to Bruges, Antwerp and one or two other cities or split time between one city to the west and Brussels.
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Old 03-23-2014, 06:50 PM   #1388
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hmmm, We're taking a similar cruise next month. Amsterdam to Budapest in 15 days.

This will be our second river cruise and are very much looking forward to it. Hungary and Slovakia will be new countries for us.
What cruise line? The question goes to meadbh too. Just curious what my options would be. I like the all inclusive luxury, but I also like some adventure...I was considering renting a houseboat (aka hiring a barge).
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Old 03-23-2014, 06:57 PM   #1389
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What cruise line? The question goes to meadbh too. Just curious what my options would be. I like the all inclusive luxury, but I also like some adventure...I was considering renting a houseboat (aka hiring a barge).
I am doing the Avalon cruise called Capitals of Central Europe (westbound, 12 days). I chose it because it had no single supplement (and because of the itinerary).

Danube River Cruise Vacation Packages | Avalon Waterways®
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Old 03-23-2014, 08:04 PM   #1390
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We're doing a riverboat cruise from Amsterdam in a few weeks. Our first riverboat cruise and first time to Belgium.
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Old 03-23-2014, 08:23 PM   #1391
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What cruise line? The question goes to meadbh too. Just curious what my options would be. I like the all inclusive luxury, but I also like some adventure...I was considering renting a houseboat (aka hiring a barge).
We did Viking River Cruises before and enjoyed it a lot. So we're going with them again.

In February, DW and I discussed looking for "last minute good deals" for a future trip. Less than a week later, we got an offer from Viking for the 15 day, Amsterdam to Budapest trip this spring that looked pretty good ("free airfare" and other things), so we jumped on it.
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:47 AM   #1392
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Hello all you seasoned travelers!

I am posting to get ideas/advice.

We have a chance to go somewhere internationally in mid-May (friends offering us buddy passes to fly really cheap...WOW).

We probably can swing 10 days off for the trip. With talking to our friends, they recommend somewhere in Europe b/c of the shorter travel time/less time needed for adjustment of jet lag, etc. They recommend flying into Munich, Germany because you can get to so many great places by train from there.

Because of traveling on buddy passes we can't book anything too firm like tours ahead of time (we'd be flying standby for each leg of the trip). However we could possibly book something last minute once we end up whereever our final destination is.

If you could go just about anywhere for 10 days in mid-May internationally, what would you do? We don't want to do upscale, we are budget-minded travelers. But we have money to spend if it is a must-see, totally worth it experience. How nice to be able to say that!

P.S. I have never been to Europe. DH has been to London.
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:14 AM   #1393
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If you could go just about anywhere for 10 days in mid-May internationally, what would you do? We don't want to do upscale, we are budget-minded travelers. But we have money to spend if it is a must-see, totally worth it experience. How nice to be able to say that!

P.S. I have never been to Europe. DH has been to London.
Wow, what a wonderful opportunity! Definitely go to Europe. You will be spoiled for choice. First, are there any specific cities, regions or countries that you really want to see? That will probably dictate which airport you fly to. Major hubs include Frankfurt, Amsterdam, London and Paris. Munich has a very modern airport. Whichever major hub you choose, consider a Eurail pass. Rail travel is generally fast and efficient in continental a Western Europe. Also, in recent years, budget airlines have significantly decreased the cost of air travel in Europe. Pack lightly though, because they charge extra for baggage. In 10 days you could probably see three major cities if a busy sightseeing trip is your preference, or you could split your time between one city and a rural region.
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:56 AM   #1394
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Just booked 2-week trip to Israel for this July. We almost always take beach-type relaxation vacations. Went to Italy and Greece in 2012 and it blew us away. So, time for another history/sightseeing vacation. Can't wait!
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:38 AM   #1395
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we are budget-minded travelers. But we have money to spend if it is a must-see, totally worth it experience.
Me, I'd go to Prague......and perhaps a Prague/Budapest combo.....(We were in Prague last May and are going to Budapest this May.)

Prague is great*...if Budapest is half as good we'll be happy.


*And a helluva lot cheaper than London.
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Old 03-24-2014, 11:05 AM   #1396
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They recommend flying into Munich, Germany because you can get to so many great places by train from there.
Perfectly good advice. If I had ten days for a trip like that, I'd probably spend them right there in Bavaria. Munich is a wonderful city (one of my favorites) with a lot to offer. Go down to see King Ludwig's fairy tale castle Neuschwanstein, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and maybe across the border to Salzburg, Austria.

Trains are great over there, but as Meadbh mentioned, there are also great fares on the smaller airlines these days. Within Germany, Cologne would probably be my next favorite city to visit. Wiesbaden is also fun.
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Old 03-24-2014, 11:44 AM   #1397
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Trains are great over there, but as Meadbh mentioned, there are also great fares on the smaller airlines these days. Within Germany, Cologne would probably be my next favorite city to visit. Wiesbaden is also fun.
I would modify this to say that the great fares are on the European low cost airlines. The best known of these is Ryanair, which is actually Europe's largest airline. It is renowned for its ultra cheap fares and terrible customer service.
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Old 03-24-2014, 11:47 AM   #1398
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If you could go just about anywhere for 10 days in mid-May internationally, what would you do? We don't want to do upscale, we are budget-minded travelers. But we have money to spend if it is a must-see, totally worth it experience. How nice to be able to say that!
So many options and it really depends on your interests.

But, you asked so...

I'd visit two main cities - fly in to one, leave from the other.

Spend maybe three or four nights in each one. You'll get a nice feel for the place after a few days.

In between take the train from one main city to the other and stop over night in one or two places for a look see.

Example: fly in to Munich, spend four nights there, then take the train to Rome, stopping over night in Geneva and also in Milan. Lots to see in all those places. And taking the train through the Alps is awesome.

Another example: Fly in to Amsterdam, spend some time there, then take the train to Brussels, then to Normandy, then on to Paris for a few more days.

There are so many options...
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:19 PM   #1399
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All this advice is so awesome!!!!

It's hard to know what your interests are until people mention the options - at least it gives me leads of things to start reading about.

The beautiful thing is our new friends have 48 buddy passes they can give out per year and rarely use them. They have generously offered us as many as we want....we are limited only by the time hubby can take off work...now I am even more anxious for him to retire!!!

I feel like the world has opened up, and I am so overwhelmed but excited!

So even though there are multiple options, I am going to start making a list for future trips. When we have more time off, we will start planning more trips to Asia and Australia. Man, this just seems too good to be true.
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:43 PM   #1400
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sg--very cool! No matter where you choose, it will be awesome! But if you want cheap, really should look at Romania. We absolutely loved the quirkiness of the country, and the super friendly people. I've not spent any time whatsoever in the UK or the rest of Europe, so take that for what it is worth.
Good luck choosing...
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