April 2018 tour

We are arriving in Brussels a day early (April13, 2018); what do you suggest we do with our free day in Brussels?

Comments

  • HI Bruce.
    My husband and I will be on the same trip, and we are also arriving a day early. On the 14th, for sure I want to go to see Floralia, a flower show on the grounds of Groot Palace. I think it is conveniently located in the center of town??? Other than that, I will probably contact the hotel concierge for other ideas. We won't have a lot of time since we will be needing to catch the transfer from hotel to riverboat for embarkation at 4:00. We can try to make the most of it though.
    We are from Dallas, and we will be flying from DFW to London, then Brussels on American. Probably not arriving early enough to do much of anything, but we can hope. This will be our 8th Tauck trip, and the 2nd Tauck river cruise. We are really looking forward to this trip. I can hardly wait to see the tulips!!!!
    What about you? Let's talk some more and try to make plans to get together on our first day.
    Looking forward to meeting you,
    Nancy
  • Hi Bruce,

    We are on the same cruise and also arriving a day early. We have been to Brussels before, a number of years ago, and, in fact, stayed at the same hotel. The cruise takes us around Brussels, so maybe we could go somewhere we're not seeing with the cruise.

    We are on a Delta flight from NY. You?
  • The usual things to do in Brussels are the Grand Place (old central plaza), the mannaken pis (small fountain of a boy urinating - really!) and visit the art museums. When I was a student traveler, the student guide to Brussels was called "See Brussels and Die (Laughing)." While it has it's sights, it's not the greatest tourist destination in Europe.

    If these sights don't thrill you, may I suggest a day trip to Bruges (or Brugge in Flemish). Bruges is really to best place for tourists to visit in Belgium (about an hour by train from Brussels). This lovely city has is known as the "Venice of the North" due to the canals in the historic central area (you can take a canal boat ride). The central area is a UNESCO world heritage site. The city declined after the 16th century, leaving much of the central area intact from that period. There is a statue by Michelangelo in one of the churches, a fine art museum and just strolling around is a joy.

    The Belgians love chocolate. If you go to Bruges, be sure to stop in at Chocolatier Dumon. The best chocolate I have ever tasted (could you bring me some?). Belgium also makes the best, most diverse selection of beer in the world. The brewery tour at De Halve Maan (Half Moon) Brewery in Bruges is fun and entertaining (and you get a beer at the end of the tour).

    Also, while in Belgium be sure to have the national dish, Moules Frites (mussels and French fries). French fries are everywhere in Belgium (they really should be called Belgian fries). You'll see shops and pushcarts selling fries everywhere (they eat them with mayonnaise).

    Happy Travels!

  • edited January 2018
    We're on the tour starting April 21 which begins in Amsterdam and we'll arrive on April 19. Maybe we'll have an overlap at the hotel and get to meet some of you. Safe and happy travels.
  • edited January 2018
    If these sights don't thrill you, may I suggest a day trip to Bruges (or Brugge in Flemish).

    Oops! I realized today that your tour goes has a option to go to Bruges. So if you want to do that, then ignore my suggestion. The alternative is to go to Bruges on your own and spend time in Ghent on your tour.
  • We did this trip two years ago and the tour directors devised a way for us to see both Bruges and Ghent while on the tour. The suggestion about mussels and beer is a great one as there are several different ways to request your mussels to be prepared. We never got the city tour of Brussels (because that was the year of the bombing), but from my other trips I can recommend the EU headquarters and other commercial sites (if you like that sort of thing).
  • We did this trip last year, just before Easter. Yes to the chocolateer mentioned, and The Old Chocolate House in Bruges on Mariastrasse, where we had really good waffles with chocolate and fresh whipped cream and tea, and also to Ghent's Luc VanHoorebeke on St.Baafspein. We thought the places around the main square in Bruge were too touristy, but if you walk a bit afield you'll find some lovely spots. It was a cool spring, yet there was plenty of color in the Keukenhoff gardens. The tour spends just a few hours there, yet you'll see tulips everywhere. I'd been to Bruges before, and it's definitely a place to see, yet I found Ghent to be more arresting. We were able to do both on our tour. Antwerp is wonderful; be sure to see the Rubens paintings in the cathedral there.
    For people with time in Amsterdam, one side trip to consider is Delft - think Vermeer. The Noordrmarkt in Amsterdam was fun - lots of food and arts. Bon Voyage~

  • Hi to bruce 43 and juliarachel

    We are Nancy and John from Dallas, and we will be on the same trip, arriving a day early in Brussels, landing around 2:45 on American from Heathrow. I have talked with Tauck about our schedule in Brussels. We will depart from Hotel Amigo on April 14 at 3:00 to get to the riverboat for 4:00 embarkation. The next day we nave a morning tour that is a drive by, look at general overview before departing Brussels.
    So we are going to try to see as much as we can in the limited time that we have. If we are lucky, there will be time to do some exploring on Friday afternoon when we arrive. If things do not go as planned, we will be hanging out at Heathrow because we missed our very tight connection that Tauck arranged.
    The first thing we will do on Saturday morning is go to see Floralia, the floral exhibit on the grounds of the Groot Palace. It is a floral extravaganza, open just one month of the year. Since we will only have a few hours at Keukenhof, i want to get a head start on the tulips. I contacted the hotel concierge this afternoon. He said that the exhibit is lovely and is a 30 minute drive from the hotel. He suggested a taxi, about 30 euros. I was thinking about leaving the hotel around 9:15. Probably spend a couple hours there, then back to hotel. I will need a few more details from the concierge. There is a website for Floralia; it looks gorgeous.
    After that, we can walk around Grand Place, see the cathedral, maybe the royal palace if it is close, and anything else that looks interesting. Maybe eat some chocolate!
    Then back to hotel to catch the transfer to the boat. Perhaps some of this might interest you.
    We would love to hear from you and what your ideas are. We look forward to meeting you.
    Nancy (DixieChick)
  • edited February 2018
    Dixie Chick, if Tauck have arranged a tight connection, then them ask them to change it! I would never go thru Heathrow without a minimum of two clear hours, we have missed several connections at Heathrow even with that amount of layover in the past, it can be a zoo.
  • Hi Nancy and John from Dallas!
    We are Ellen and Moshe from NY. We have been to Brussels before--in fact, we stayed at the same hotel, so I think we're going to play our time by ear. We arrive directly from NY around 9 AM so our room may not be ready. We'll really have plenty of time. It's also been my experience that's it's hard to fall asleep the first night because of jet lag so I don't want to make any promises until I'm forced to.

    Safe travels to Brussels and I look forward to meeting you onboard the ship if not sooner.

    Ellen and Moshe
  • Hi Bruce,

    We are on the same cruise and also arriving a day early. We have been to Brussels before, a number of years ago, and, in fact, stayed at the same hotel. The cruise takes us around Brussels, so maybe we could go somewhere we're not seeing with the cruise.

    We are on a Delta flight from NY. You?


    We are arriving from ATL about 10AM on the 13th and was wondering about a trip to Flanders on the 14th as we plan on doing the Bruges option during the cruise. We realize we have to back to the ship by 4PM
  • Hi to bruce 43 and juliarachel

    We are Nancy and John from Dallas, and we will be on the same trip, arriving a day early in Brussels, landing around 2:45 on American from Heathrow. I have talked with Tauck about our schedule in Brussels. We will depart from Hotel Amigo on April 14 at 3:00 to get to the riverboat for 4:00 embarkation. The next day we nave a morning tour that is a drive by, look at general overview before departing Brussels.
    So we are going to try to see as much as we can in the limited time that we have. If we are lucky, there will be time to do some exploring on Friday afternoon when we arrive. If things do not go as planned, we will be hanging out at Heathrow because we missed our very tight connection that Tauck arranged.
    The first thing we will do on Saturday morning is go to see Floralia, the floral exhibit on the grounds of the Groot Palace. It is a floral extravaganza, open just one month of the year. Since we will only have a few hours at Keukenhof, i want to get a head start on the tulips. I contacted the hotel concierge this afternoon. He said that the exhibit is lovely and is a 30 minute drive from the hotel. He suggested a taxi, about 30 euros. I was thinking about leaving the hotel around 9:15. Probably spend a couple hours there, then back to hotel. I will need a few more details from the concierge. There is a website for Floralia; it looks gorgeous.
    After that, we can walk around Grand Place, see the cathedral, maybe the royal palace if it is close, and anything else that looks interesting. Maybe eat some chocolate!
    Then back to hotel to catch the transfer to the boat. Perhaps some of this might interest you.
    We would love to hear from you and what your ideas are. We look forward to meeting you.
    Nancy (DixieChick)

    We plan to do Bruges with the tour but were wondering if we could go to Flanders onour own early on the 14th, think this is doable?
  • KathrynH wrote:
    We did this trip two years ago and the tour directors devised a way for us to see both Bruges and Ghent while on the tour. The suggestion about mussels and beer is a great one as there are several different ways to request your mussels to be prepared. We never got the city tour of Brussels (because that was the year of the bombing), but from my other trips I can recommend the EU headquarters and other commercial sites (if you like that sort of thing).

    What did the tour directors suggest as to seeing bothe Bruges and Flanders?
  • HI Bruce.
    My husband and I will be on the same trip, and we are also arriving a day early. On the 14th, for sure I want to go to see Floralia, a flower show on the grounds of Groot Palace. I think it is conveniently located in the center of town??? Other than that, I will probably contact the hotel concierge for other ideas. We won't have a lot of time since we will be needing to catch the transfer from hotel to riverboat for embarkation at 4:00. We can try to make the most of it though.
    We are from Dallas, and we will be flying from DFW to London, then Brussels on American. Probably not arriving early enough to do much of anything, but we can hope. This will be our 8th Tauck trip, and the 2nd Tauck river cruise. We are really looking forward to this trip. I can hardly wait to see the tulips!!!!
    What about you? Let's talk some more and try to make plans to get together on our first day.
    Looking forward to meeting you,
    Nancy

    We are flying Delta into Brussels around 10 AM on the 13th and perhaps see Floralia that PM
  • Hi Bruce,

    We are on the same cruise and also arriving a day early. We have been to Brussels before, a number of years ago, and, in fact, stayed at the same hotel. The cruise takes us around Brussels, so maybe we could go somewhere we're not seeing with the cruise.

    We are on a Delta flight from NY. You?

    We are on Delta from ATL getting in around 10 AM
  • edited February 2018
    Hi Bruce
    “In Flander’s Field the poppies blow, Between the crosses, row on row.” I did major in English Literature, but I had to look this up to be sure.
    To answer several questions:
    1) We will be in Flanders on the river cruise. It is an area, not a town, where Ghent, Antwerp, and Bruges are. Flanders Field is the only American cemetery in Belgium from WWI.
    We will be going to the only WWII cemetery on the cruise. I think one cemetery per trip is enough, but I do plan to wear something red, white, and blue out of respect for our fallen soldiers.
    2) Bruges vs. Ghent. I posted a question under General Discussion about this. Every single response said Bruges, so we are going with tne 100% majority.
    3). We are flying American, so we have to go through Heathrow and will not arrive in Brussels until mid afternoon. If we make our 2 hour connection. That means we cannot plan anything definite for early April 13 Afternoon. We will have to plan Floralia for the morning of April 14 and see whatever else we can before 3:00 transfer to riverboat.

    We are really looking forward to this trip. We would enjoy meeting you before we go to the ship. Maybe at the bar about 5/5:30 for a drink, then dinner? We could leave messages with the concienge.

    Cheers to tulips and to new friends!!!
    Nancy
  • You will visit Margraten, the Netherlands American Cemetery (the only World War II cemetery for fallen U.S. troops in Holland), and it will be moving. The group will get a thorough explanation of the "Bridge Too Far" effort (and there are old movies on board germane to this area also). You will want to locate grave marker for a fallen soldier from your home state.

    Be certain to watch the movie, "Monuments Men," around the time that you visit Bruges since you will see the Madonna, albeit briefly.

    This trip was our first encounter with locks and canals. We spent late nights at the bow of the ship (in the Lounge with drinks in hand while nibbling snacks) watching the operations. I think that the crew was using the water to wash the riverboat's exterior as there was water splashing everywhere at some locks. It was a wonderful adventure.
  • Regarding the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, we will be paying our respects to two men who gave their lives and have a connection to our families. We have also arranged to meet the adoptees of these two graves. It is such an honor for the locals to adopt the graves and we heard there is a waiting list of future adoptees.
  • Ok, travelers, it is almost time to depart for our adventure along the canals between Brussels and Amsterdam. The weather forecasts predict lovely weather for our trip, much warmer than the forecasts last week. I still will pack hoodies and sweaters, but I think I can leave my Michelin Man parka at home. I am from Dallas, so I think anything under 70 is chilly.
    I am wondering about the evenings on the boat. Other than the welcome and farewell dinners, it does not seem like there is any event that is especially dressy. Mr. Dixie does not like to pack a sports coat unless absolutely necessary. So I wonder what previous travelers think. Sports coat, yes or no?? I know that the ladies can manage with black pants and a nice sweater, top, or jacket.
    We are hoping for a speedy connection through Heathrow ?????? and a little time to enjoy Brussels on Friday acternoon. We are doing Floralia on Saturday morning, then anything else we can manage before we transfer to the boat.
    Bruce43 and juliarachel, we look forward to meeting you.
    Cheers for a fun trip‼️
    Nancy
  • Ok, travelers, it is almost time to depart for our adventure along the canals between Brussels and Amsterdam. The weather forecasts predict lovely weather for our trip, much warmer than the forecasts last week. I still will pack hoodies and sweaters, but I think I can leave my Michelin Man parka at home. I am from Dallas, so I think anything under 70 is chilly.
    I am wondering about the evenings on the boat. Other than the welcome and farewell dinners, it does not seem like there is any event that is especially dressy. Mr. Dixie does not like to pack a sports coat unless absolutely necessary. So I wonder what previous travelers think. Sports coat, yes or no?? I know that the ladies can manage with black pants and a nice sweater, top, or jacket.
    We are hoping for a speedy connection through Heathrow ?????? and a little time to enjoy Brussels on Friday acternoon. We are doing Floralia on Saturday morning, then anything else we can manage before we transfer to the boat.
    Bruce43 and juliarachel, we look forward to meeting you.
    Cheers for a fun trip‼️
    Nancy


    Nancy, I also don't like to wear a sports coat but this is our 5th Tauck tour and I am packing a sports jacket Because we arrive so early on Friday and am sure the hotel room won't be available until later that day we may go visit Floralia on Friday but will check the weather for the better of the 2 days. Looking forward to meeting you! Bruce
  • NANCY. I haven’t looked at your weather forecast, but I am in London at present, not really that far away from Holland, it has been wet, misty and very cold since we arrived on Monday morning. I have been wearing thick wool scarf, knee length puffer coat and thick gloves, yes cold. I am hoping it warms up. The daffodils are in bloom and most blossoms are flowering on the trees.
  • Just returned home after a wonderful time on this cruise. The weather was great the entire time and the flowers at Keukenhof were in brilliant bloom. We just loved Amsterdam, Bruges, and the other stops along the way. Thanks to Tauck and the staff for a wonderful time.
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