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What to do in Brussels for 8 days??

What to do in Brussels for 8 days??

Old Aug 20, 99, 11:15 am
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What to do in Brussels for 8 days??

Just snagged 2 tix from Lufthansa's auction yesterday - SFO to Brussels. Have been to Bruges and Antwerp but only passed thru Brussels. Am going with my very fit 83 yr old father (husband has to work!!- don't feel too sorry for him - he is going to China without me next month). We could rent a car but I would have to navigate AND drive. Usually I am just the navigator.

I am open to ideas for hotel (about $100/nite inc. any discounts - Sheraton is in Ent coupon book), museums, etc. Thanks in advance...
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Old Aug 20, 99, 12:45 pm
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Like the Conrad here in Brussels but US$100? You don't mean pp, right? Smile! Maybe the dollar will strengthen further!
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Old Aug 20, 99, 12:57 pm
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Karen, it's a very short train ride, or drive for that matter, to Maastricht just across the border in Holland. The history there is spectacular...the Barbizon Hotel has an underground area that were Roman Baths, dating back to the 8th century. The town itself is small, but quaint & pretty with great shopping. Everything centers around the town square & City Hall. The Maas River is beautiful at night.

Also, if you're up for a side day trip, and haven't been, it's an easy commuter flight to Amsterdam. That's a GREAT city!

When are you going??

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Old Aug 20, 99, 1:08 pm
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The Conrad is an awesome hotel, and I managed to get a weekend there for 3800 BEF/night in March (which is just over 100 USD). I felt like they made a mistake or something because the room (probably the cruddiest room in the whole place) was an absolute palace. The marble bathroom was bigger than some guest rooms in London for which I paid more... I would have been happy paying $300/night for that room. Try your luck...

There are some nice museums, and just taking a nice stroll through the city is fun too. I was only there for two days, but don't miss the chocolate... that's about all I can say.
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Old Aug 20, 99, 2:52 pm
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Eight days is an awful lot to spend in Brussels....You could always take the train down to Luxembourg (3 hrs), across the channel to London, or either to Paris or Amsterdam --all about 2-3 hrs away. Obviously you will do the "Grand Place" & wander around Rue de Bouche (tons & tons of restaurants with outdoor seating, all trying to get you to try out their food). I stayed at the Sheraton near the Gare Nord and as a Starwood Gold was upgraded to a big suite on the executive floor without asking. Travel on their 'metro' was fairly easy, but not as extensive or simple as Paris'. If I were you I would go up to Brugge again. Please let us know how it goes.
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Old Aug 20, 99, 5:35 pm
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I'd spend a couple of days in Antwerpen. The Hilton there is right on the central Cathedral square which is the spot in town. It's just a short train ride from Brussels.

I'll be there around Sept 8th-10th.
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Old Aug 20, 99, 6:09 pm
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I know that part of the world rather well, so, for what's it's worth:

Don't be afraid of driving; you wont do much without a car.

Interest in history? Waterloo is a hour from downtown; if Nappy had won, world would be much different. WWI major battlefields are a couple of hours by car. Crecy (Edward III), Agincourt (Henry V) are couple of days rt and can be combined with WWI. South and a bit east WWII Battle of Bulge in beautiful Ardennes Forest and north are Bridge Too Far

sites. Aachen, Charlemagne's hq (780's-815 AD) a day trip.

R&R? Great hotels (see SRS web site) on Channel coast. No good in winter but wonderful in summer and fall.

Day trip to Brugge, a gem. Couple of days in Holland, towns much nicer than cities, delightful everywhere.

Paris, can be done as day trip using swift train.

Again for what it's worth: use a car, don't stay in Brussels as there are literally dozens of very fine small hotels all over the nearby country. If you want specific hotel suggestions, ask and I will email more to you. Roads in Benelux are good, well marked, easy to follow, not crowded except in cities and on commercial routes to the ports. Be courageous; you will not regret it nor will your dad. I've got a few years to go before I equal his age and I hope my miles don't expire; if I don't, they wont.

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Old Aug 20, 99, 6:10 pm
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Great suggestions! I'll try the Conrad. I thought 8 days was a lot too so these side trips are a good idea. I've been to Amsterdam but other little towns in the Netherlands would be fun. Thanks - keep the ideas coming!
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Old Aug 20, 99, 9:26 pm
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I spent six nights in Brussels in April - had a wonderful time, but did three day trips (and 2˝ days in Brussels proper were plenty).

We stayed at Le Dome hotel, for around $120/night. A few blocks to the Grand Place, but near north train station (convenient for day trips) and right at a Metro station. We booked through a web-site/agent (Belgian)with lots of hotel choices at all prices; I may be able to dig it up if a search engine doesn't help you find it..

Chex Jean restaurant was good. Sundays (in the Gallery St. Hubert) is great for desserts…and has the most amazing self-cleaning toilet seat!

Fodor's (which I otherwise found excellent throughout the BeNeLux region) failed to mention the Royal Belgian Museum for Central Africa (that may not be its exact name) to your Brussels section - it was wonderful! Given Belgium's history in the Congo, it's not surprising that they have terrific stuff. About half the museum was anthropological, and the other half zoological.

The museum is located in the suburb of Tervuren: take the Metro to the Montgomery station, and there take the #44 streetcar to the end of the line. Total time from downtown: about an hour.

Day trips are easy. Bruges, Ghent, and Antwerp are each less than an hour by train (and you wouldn't want a car in them anyway)

Final tip: order from the prix fixe menus, not a la carte. Much cheaper this way. Most restaurants have choices at two or three price levels, with a few choices for each course; they usually post them outside their door, so you can decide where to eat based on this! And when you convert prices, don't forget that tax and service (tip) are included. Here that would add ~25% to the posted price, so what at first seems slightly expensive is actually rather cheap!
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Old Aug 21, 99, 11:03 pm
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All these suggestions are great. The Conrad is probably the best hotel in Brussels. If you do stay there, don't be shy to ask for an upgrade to a suite. They are very accomodating about that. I wish I could remember the room number. Will did up my folio and let you know at the Rudifest in SF (hopefully) They have a great room service breakfast too. There is an egyptian gentleman who works the phone lines and he can make just about anything/everything squeeze into a comp continental breakfast.
Hilton's not too shabby either. They were running weekend promo's at these hotels for under BEF5000.
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Old Aug 22, 99, 4:22 am
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the New York Sunday times (august-22-99) on Brussels http://www.nytimes.com/library/trave...2brussels.html
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Old Aug 22, 99, 5:45 pm
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Nice article. But not one word about the mannekin pis'!

Definitely check out Waterloo if you haven't before. The view of the battlefields from the lion memorial (whatever it's called) is fantastic!

We stayed at the Sheraton by the airport for around BEF 5400 (double). Not that great of a hotel, but it was nice & convenient to just walk across the street to the train station below the airport & go wherever.


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Old Aug 25, 99, 2:15 pm
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Rudi, you are amazing! Thanks so much for the NY Times site. I thought surely there would be a lot to see in Brussels, though I have not been before. Can you believe I am missing the architectural extravaganza by one day??

Now the big question: Drive or train??? I do remember trying to park in Bruges. Ack. But I love the countryside and the freedom of the car.
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Old Aug 25, 99, 2:33 pm
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Take the train the Brugge. That way you can relax after walking all those miles. I was lucky and had an associate from my company as a tour guide. His family owned an inn not far from there and he was a wonderful tour guide. Plus being with his wife and two cute daughters made it a fine outing. We took the train from Brussels. I have never been in so many churches in one day in my entire life.
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Old Aug 25, 99, 3:05 pm
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