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Deb Hall

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Amsterdam or Brussels? Decisions, decisions....

by Deb Hall » Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:43 pm

All,

I have to go to Germany on business in early October and arranging my connections so I get the weekend in either 1) Amsterdam, or 2) Brussels.

I've never been to either country before. I don't need much shopping ( except for food :D ), love walk-around cities, historic buildings and experiencing the "real" country - as much as you can in a long weekend staying in a major city center. Obviously love food, and eating local food while travelling, but it's only two days so it's not going to kill me to have lesser food. Very independent traveller, used to travelling solo. From there, I will travel by train to Dusseldorf.

Which is a better choice, and why?? :D
Deb
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Re: Amsterdam or Brussels? Decisions, decisions....

by Robin Garr » Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:12 pm

Both good, Deb, but I think Amsterdam is the pick. Highly walkable, lots of great museums, and the canals and canal houses make for more memorable short-trip sight-seeing.
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Re: Amsterdam or Brussels? Decisions, decisions....

by Robin Garr » Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:13 pm

Oh, and Rijstafel! And just about everyone speaks great English.
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Re: Amsterdam or Brussels? Decisions, decisions....

by Deb Hall » Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:33 pm

Robin Garr wrote:Oh, and Rijstafel! And just about everyone speaks great English.


And let's not forget legal Marijuana Bars.... :wink:
Just kiddin, folks! Really I am...
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Re: Amsterdam or Brussels? Decisions, decisions....

by Deb Hall » Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:37 pm

Robin Garr wrote:Both good, Deb, but I think Amsterdam is the pick. Highly walkable, lots of great museums, and the canals and canal houses make for more memorable short-trip sight-seeing.


love that description, Robin! Is it easy to get away from the legal sex house/drugs tourist area? Not that I have anything against that ( I go to the Repperbahm in Hamburg, etc)., but the lovely European canal city/ museums is much more what I had in mind.

I have been to Hamburg twice if that matters. Looking for something "new".

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Re: Amsterdam or Brussels? Decisions, decisions....

by GaryF » Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:42 pm

I love both cities but there is so much more to do and see in Amsterdam.
Take a lovely boat ride through the canals to get your bearings, walk around or rent a bike (I think since I've been there it has become one of the cities that have free bikes for public use.)
The museums are wonderful- the Van Gogh especially is a treat.
And it's easy to hop on a train and go to The Hague or Utrecht.
Have fun!!!
PS- pick up a few friends along the way if you want to do a rijstafel- I went with only one other person and we didn't make a dent in the 50+ dishes.
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Re: Amsterdam or Brussels? Decisions, decisions....

by Deb Hall » Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:59 pm

GaryF wrote:I love both cities but there is so much more to do and see in Amsterdam.
Take a lovely boat ride through the canals to get your bearings, walk around or rent a bike (I think since I've been there it has become one of the cities that have free bikes for public use.)
The museums are wonderful- the Van Gogh especially is a treat.
And it's easy to hop on a train and go to The Hague or Utrecht.
Have fun!!!
PS- pick up a few friends along the way if you want to do a rijstafel- I went with only one other person and we didn't make a dent in the 50+ dishes.


Thanks! What is this wonderous rijstafel you speak of? I thought when Robin used it that it was a Dutch greeting :lol: :lol: :lol: ..
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Re: Amsterdam or Brussels? Decisions, decisions....

by Robin Garr » Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:57 pm

Deb Hall wrote:love that description, Robin! Is it easy to get away from the legal sex house/drugs tourist area? Not that I have anything against that ( I go to the Repperbahm in Hamburg, etc)., but the lovely European canal city/ museums is much more what I had in mind.

Deb, I haven't been to Amsterdam since the '80s, so I'm not good with personal testimony, but I have a friend who's a Northwest (oops, Delta) Purser and flies there weekly. The impression I get from her is that the Red Light District is very much contained (and also extremely safe). She's not from Louisville and not on this forum, but I'll drop her a note with your question and let you know what she says.
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Re: Amsterdam or Brussels? Decisions, decisions....

by AmyBK » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:22 pm

Amsterdam rocks! The red light district is very contained in a certain area - but its safe to walk through and gawk a bit. The Rijksmuseum is stunning - every dutch master painting that you remember from either cigar boxes or playing the board game "Masterpiece" are there and are huge! As mentioned above, the van Gogh Museum/house is excellent. The Heineken Brewery is a fabulous tour. With all the different ethnicities in Holland, the food is such fun. Rijstafel is an Indonesian/dutch dish which literally means "rice table." Like a curry with lots and lots of little condiments and little dishes to add on. If you are into flowers and get the chance, go to the Aalsmeer Flower Auction, near Schiphol Airport. Almost every flower sold in the US goes through this building. It is so enormous, it is one of the largest buildings in the world. You walk on catwalks above the action and it is cool. Just love the Netherlands. Sigh.
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Re: Amsterdam or Brussels? Decisions, decisions....

by Deb Hall » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:06 pm

Thanks guys!
I have no problem with the red light district at all or the safety- I 'm a pretty adventurous traveler( & as Amy suggests I will likely go there to gawk. :wink: ) I just wanted to make sure it didn't bleed over into the lovely old European city part- those are two very different moods. :wink:

Just told my admin to book Amsterdam. Any more specific suggestions?

Gary- shall I bring you a new lace cap? :wink:

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Re: Amsterdam or Brussels? Decisions, decisions....

by Robin Garr » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:49 pm

Deb, my friend Karen just got in from Amsterdam, and here's her response:

There are distinct areas of AMS, and they're very easy to get to using the trams. The Museum District is where -- surprise! -- Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh are, and the street that's so similar to Rodeo Drive that's fun to window shop in. Also some arty, tony little cafes for a coffee or tea break or a simple lunch and people watch.

The Nine Streets is a famous district that's very nice and canal-y ;) and has some excellent shopping. Again, it's upscale.

The Jordaan is the AMS version of Greenwich Village. Quirky and fun. Tell her to Google.

That oughta get her started.
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Re: Amsterdam or Brussels? Decisions, decisions....

by GaryF » Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:48 am

Perhaps some wooden shoes to go with my cap! :D
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Re: Amsterdam or Brussels? Decisions, decisions....

by Brad Keeton » Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:28 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Deb Hall wrote:love that description, Robin! Is it easy to get away from the legal sex house/drugs tourist area? Not that I have anything against that ( I go to the Repperbahm in Hamburg, etc)., but the lovely European canal city/ museums is much more what I had in mind.

Deb, I haven't been to Amsterdam since the '80s, so I'm not good with personal testimony, but I have a friend who's a Northwest (oops, Delta) Purser and flies there weekly. The impression I get from her is that the Red Light District is very much contained (and also extremely safe). She's not from Louisville and not on this forum, but I'll drop her a note with your question and let you know what she says.


I'll second this. It's been 10 years since I was there, but the Red Light District was clearly marked and quite contained. The smoking bars were spread around the city and not really contained to any one area, but were more like coffee shops or corner pubs than anything nefarious.
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Re: Amsterdam or Brussels? Decisions, decisions....

by Deb Hall » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:06 pm

WhooHoo! Tickets booked to Amsterdam, then train to Dusseldorf. I have the weekend in Amsterdam, then the conference in Dusseldorf for 4 days ( i might be able to get a couple of good dinners there but unfortunately very little sightseeing.). Now I need to start researching places!

Thanks all for the input- I'm starting to get very excited! ( in between trying to get one off to college and one to a new elementary school :wink: ).

Deb
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Re: Amsterdam or Brussels? Decisions, decisions....

by DanB » Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:37 am

I have strong feelings on this because I think Amsterdam is waaaay overrated. It's dirty, old shops have been taken over by kitschy souvenir shops selling Bob Marley hats and Chinese made bongs, and is basically overrun with drunk or drugged out college kids. Fortunately you're going off season so the backpacker crowd is lesss of an issue.

A'dam:

http://kantjil.nl/ ->great Indonesian
http://www.restaurantorbit.nl/menu.php ->more expensive... pan asian
http://www.moeders.com/ ->Old school Dutch

Brussels is waaaay underrated in my view. Doesn't have the canals but great museums, great food. For my money I tell people to go to Antwerp as a great alternative to A-dam without the drunk idiots and kitsch and with better beer.

Düsseldorf: Altstadt for drinking, esp Weds night Ratinger Strasse. Less touristy, more trendy and Chic is the Medienhafen (plenty of good restaurants).

Old school German food:
Schumacher Alt on Oststr (five mins from the Kö) -> http://www.schumacher-alt.de/schank.html
Brauhaus Albrecht (across river in Niederkassel) -> http://www.brauhaus-joh-albrecht.de/data/due.php
Fischhaus in the Altstadt -> http://www.fischhaus-duesseldorf.de/index2.html
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