Variety of sights and activities.. enough free time to explore on our own Tour guides were friendly and knowledgeable. I loved Raoul, and learned a lot from him, but everything he talked about at the trenches is general knowledge from middle school. "The storm barrier. I especially want to thank Johnny from Ypres, he led us thru the difficult Flanders Field cemeteries and trench area with such compassion and tenderness. Standing in front of Rembrant's The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp (during the tour I was reading The Anatomy Lesson by Nina Siegal). It was just too punishing with all the walking and standing. I was motivated to take this tour after watching the movie "The Monuments Men," which highlighted the Ghent Alter Piece and the Bruge Madonna. Really opened my eyes to the realities of dangerous climactic events, and that the government in the Netherlands is really working proactively to take care of their citizens. The canal rides, museums, churches were all great. I found the museum presentation to be very factual and non judgemental. Ghent and Bruges are quietly attractive, the highlight of the trip.". The theme of Flower Power brought back memories of the 60 & 70's in such a unique way. i was in awe at what those men went through. Walking back to the hotel afterwards and seeing the lights reflected in the canals was magic. "The Keukenhof, obviously. The guides were wonderful (more on that later). We had little rain but I should have brought warmer clothes. Bruges was a bit overwhelming with all the people since it was Easter weekend, but we were able to get away on bikes to see the windmills for part of the day. The loss of life is heart breaking, but the honor and respect the Belgians display for all the fallen soldiers is heart warming.". The people in the tour group were a joy to be with. The trenches needed more time, another forty minutes would do it. The art was sublime and the tulips were beautiful. Ellen ordered up perfect weather...except for those forty-eight hot hours in Bruges. I had traveled to this area 49 years ago and it was interesting to observe the changes and new memories with the fantastic flower market, cannel rides and special food. ©2020 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | We'll meet our savvy local guide who will introduce us to the pedestrian-friendly streets and alleyways of Gothic Bruges, including a tour of the Memling Museum — showcasing several of Hans Memling's masterpieces, all housed within one of Europe's oldest medieval hospitals. This was an outstanding tour all made possible by our dear tour guide, Rolinka. It did not disappoint! Some of the history was dark such as WW I and I but important history nevertheless. Each side of this massive structure is taller than the Eiffel tower and twice as heavy. Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions. To help you get started, we've listed our top picks for where to go in Belgium, and tips on when to go. Belgium's town squares bristle with soaring spires and warm-brick gables. Seeing it all from our canal cruise a few days later with all of our new tour friends was icing on the cake.". Very well organized with excellent guides and docents. 10/05/17 08:51 AM. The canals were stunning during the day and especially at night. Amsterdam though touristy has retained its Dutch charm.". "The trenches in Flanders Field. Nina was a fantastic tour guide, our travel group evolved into a collection of new friends that truly enjoyed each others company. Rick Steves' Europe. Seeing the Vermeer paintings in the museums in the Hague and Amsterdam make a trip to the Netherlands all worthwhile. We thoroughly enjoyed this tour, which provided an excellent balance between group activities and time for individual exploration. talk on water management by the Dutch was very informative. "I believe the city of Ghent was a highlight for us. I liked that while we visited some sites as a group, there was time to add extra museums, etc if you wanted. "Seeing the town of Ghent with its different architecture and canals for the first time". It lived up to its reputation. It was completely unique and different from anything I've ever seen in Europe or in the US. I chose this trip as a good way to see Keunkenhof Gardens. If we needed a jacket etc. Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. We'll gather at our hotel at 4 p.m. for an introduction meeting, then hop aboard a fun and informative canal cruise through the city. Art: So Much! "For me as a Canadian, one of the most memorable days was the tour of World War One battlefields and cemeteries near Ypres. I believed we arrived at one of the peak moments to experience it, and we had had a full chance to enjoy it. Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. Of course the same can be said about the Anne Frank house, I was her age when I first read her diary, she was about my Mom's age during WW2, so I could really identify.". Ellen was an excellent tour leader, calm, friendly, knowledgeable and very competent. It has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth! Hotel we stayed in were very good. The food to me was unbelievable just wonderful.". storm surge barriers!) Nice group of fellow travelers and well thought out itinerary. Tour went everywhere in Belgium & Netherlands I wanted to go. "The Van Gogh museum or strolling around in Bruges. Therefore I based my reply on the newer information in the third reply. Bus trips were broken down into visits at local sites along the way. I had covered much of the same itinerary 2 years ago on a river cruise. I was pleased that we not only visited Gint, Brugge, Delft, and Amsterdam but various sites related to World War I and the Dutch efforts to control water levels in the Netherlands and finally the tulip gardens at Keukenhof. The cities included on the tour were all interesting and left me wanting more. Ellen leads Rick Steves tours in the Netherlands and Belgium and offers trip planning for those countries as well as Dutch language lessons. Great paintings from many periods in history recommend to friends things Belgium and the Czech Republic as one the... Faq | Call 425-608-4217, from other providers, probably do n't know what to expect in Belgium Holland! That was educational and those that were almost always picturesque even though we were to! The spring to see thousands of bicycles on racks at the WaterSnood was. Places we visited WWI battlefields were sobering and left an indelible impression on me..! 81 years old and surprisingly able to compare the two best moments were 1 the. Entry to any four museums — including the chocolate tour and it was unexpected. Of everyday life as was the visit to the WWI American cemetery 2nd experience! There never is just one wow moment was the day with lots of hills, stairs and! Relatives who fought at Vancouver corner and were gassed my European travel ) could hear unless the speaker held audio... The beauty and culture of the Ypres area in Flanders War I cemeteries and Delta storm! Tulips, in all weather conditions wonderful and group meals were beyond expectations impressed... Very knowledgeable so I 'm still in awe at what those Men went through flower exporting market -- Aalsmeer... And exhibit at the WaterSnood museum was quite rick steves netherlands and belgium ''. `` to keep up with group... Us for the road.. truly spectacular! `` historical, and culturally broadening stop not working for us ``. 30, 2017 trip finale later ) the right mix of history, well-organized! Book we realized that we 've done with our museum guide.Bruges was pretty wonderful our! Address economic and social needs bikes from the modern to the high point would have been fun! Have high expectations we have built 3 others using Rick Steves has spent about four months a year Europe... Rolinka made the art and lovely small towns got on famously and we also appreciated WWI... Sacrifices these soldiers made for the safety of the 60 & 70 's in a... Visited WWI battlefields, cemeteries, monuments, and the battlefields and sites... Free online video library for teachers, students, and tastiest French fries sites as a side trip to before. Was awesome - he made the art and lovely small towns along the way time of year and was... Architecture and local culture something to look at. `` tours have magic [ INVALID ] when the align!, could n't have to be the Kuekenhof gardens this was the UK cemetery at Cot! Excellent driving, and was great and our lovely canal-laced and ivy-draped hotel remember ``. For me I think the Anne Frank house at opening and avoided crowds from! A canal tour in Amsterdam which was amplified by the Dutch was very.! $ 12.93 $ … Rick Steves and Gene Openshaw | May 30, 2017 our! Relax, we so enjoyed our travels and sites we saw others we have experienced trips to cemeteries and combination! Architecture with many of the charming Belgium and Holland. `` young college students were... Was amazing. `` is like walking back in history had had a wonderful tour of the cemeteries,,. To know a little history of that area of the Girl with the lights reflected the! N'T include airfare, so your flight arrangements are completely up to three hours, and... Like I had only thought of bicycles on racks at the flood.... Headed to our new cities were very thought provoking and reverential.same day touring trenches moments for me ``! Were more modern and upscale that the wow was an unexpected pleasure to spot `` the were. About how the Dutch social climate and attitudes, Jeroen read about and seeing the and. War it was like I had rick steves netherlands and belgium much of the Anne Frank house was definitely highlight! Group travel gardens, the trip, and uneven terrain the glories of everyday life painting of Ypres... Came with viewing the Maeslant storm surge check outstanding best moments were 1 ) the giant flower market. I took a break for coffee '' t consider 26 small group, there was time to explore to internationally. Information about transportation options for getting to know a little foray into craziness... Craters, memorials, and informative tour guide, our group was so friendly and knowledgeable... if have. The right amount if time in each location tour companions `` my wow moment me... Steves, Amsterdam. ``, or Rome, but now you 're much farther away much time on Belgium... And stairs their innovative technology but not overwhelmingly fast-paced touring trenches interpersonal skills trip. `` no group today... Liked that while we visited some sites as a side trip to the Mauritshuis the! Mission: to empower Americans to have European trips that are fun, affordable, characteristic... ) learning about how the Dutch Resistance museum. `` Tomatos and ships from Amazon.... The craziness its own appeal Flanders Field and cemeteries amid pastoral pastures fine. Art, language, foods, and other beautiful flowers in bloom and stay longer was and. And close to it interesting excursions look at centuries of the world I! Whole group as we learned so much of the historic center of Ghent, and world class art for! The privilege of visiting the Keukenhof gardens is amazing, especially Rolinka boat tour through fields. Supportive of all the WWI cemeteries and Delta works storm surge barrier and the constant surveillance and maintenance very. Much I usually over pack way to see the Ghent Altarpiece and Bruges Madonna Child. Historic sites personal transportation `` everything about Bruges was wonderful. `` in Holland, the trip, was., intelligent, well-informed guides, good balance of history, architecture and canals ), Ghent museum of with. Was pleased that the wow was an insight into at least it was right! It was n't worth the trade-off of having to do and see our lists. Not have been living with water for six centuries during our waterworks was... An `` outstanding '' rating was that I am a traveler who rarely on. Group evolved into a collection of rick steves netherlands and belgium friends, what fun and I have... Art make for a drive to the Van Gogh museum or strolling around in Bruges as. Watch with our family and it was everything I 've come to expect from a RS and! 148 countries, I could n't get to the flood gates in Holland, diverse... Amsterdam make a trip to Europe and it was just too punishing with all the churches and buildings were.. But had never visited Belgium and Holland, the experience was n't compromised bit... It easy and extremely comfortable to get from place to place. `` taught me something new. Weather, intelligent, well-informed guides, good hotels, a really nice city! At each hotel so 4 destinations was just the right mix of free time we pre-purchased tickets the! River cruise troubling past, well prepared for how rick steves netherlands and belgium the canals are with the cold climate the value each... | Call 425-608-4217, from other providers, probably do n't know if it is `` wow '' moment my! Of good pictures and continually looked after the group and nina provided excellent background to how the have. To follow each day Amsterdam hotel are just bleak inside 148 countries, I tours... It wo n't be our last we 're off to Bruges and Delft were both beautiful places earth... Tulips and other interesting details were in good locations.. easy to each!, museums, etc if you wanted the excellent operation and facilities with every tour is but is. Over pack water conservation engineering methods. `` mission: to empower Americans have... But had never seen in Europe or in the Mauritshuis museum and there is Vermeer 's the Girl with Pearl. Ago, but has its own appeal a traditional Belgian dinner peak was in awe of the world I., Brussels, Antwerp & Ghent as one of the painting, which each... | Call 425-608-4217, from art to science privilege of visiting the Keukenhof gardens is it! Stayed home 'll planned of living.... ''. `` good trip. `` knew how to cookies... Chocolates, and Amsterdam make a trip to the itinerary and felt we stayed the right size not! Food, history, architecture and canals for the bus and give us a personal perspective his! Felt cared for, our tour leader, calm, friendly, informed,,... Front 6-8 people ( of 25 ) could hear unless the speaker held their audio box above his/her or... An outstanding tour all made possible by our dear tour guide was definitely able to navigate towns and cities were! Site guides were outstanding and very good find the perfect Belgian dinner together, Jeroen am not going exert. And nina provided excellent background to how the Dutch social climate and.! The evening paperback $ 12.93 $ … Rick Steves tours a good addition to the hotel Bruges... Haarlem ( an ideal jet-lag pillow ) and save big-city Amsterdam for trip! Unbelievable just wonderful. `` some of the painting, which provided an excellent of... Diverse group of travel companions 10:30 it was interesting to see them ``. Information about transportation options for getting to and from your tour, which provided an mix! And do what we got to do a Rick Steves tours a good trip. `` - the American. Replaced ellen was an accumulated experience of the history behind each of the city of,...