Tuesday, December 16, 2008

euro questions

I'm jumping the gun a little bit, but you guys are always really helpful with tips so I'm gonna ask:
Anybody know a good place/area to stay in Amsterdam?  How many days do you think is good for hanging there? If you've been to Belgium, what cities are not to be missed?


The Armeniac said...

Aachen in Belgium is fantastic. It was Charlemagne's Capitol and is one of the few northern medieval cities to come out of WWII whole. They have a lovely restaraunt in what used to be City Hall and Charlemagnes Cathedral is stunning. I would avoid hostels in Amsterdam, not fun to be surrounded by high, drunk S. Africans.

beckler said...

I hope to avoid hostels entirely, unless someone clues me in to an ok one where you can get private rooms. I don't want to talk to any Australians.

Anonymous said...

We're staying at the Mars Hotel near Terrapin Station!!


The Armeniac said...

Good Idea!

Anonymous said...

I say that you rent this apartment and not just because I want to stay on your couch.


smitty said...

Are you going for the Alkali Flat shows? Couchsurfing.com is my plan if I can make it. I've already been offered a place to stay from someone I met in Nepal.

smitty said...

Oh, and showing up at Dishwasher Pete's house unannounced and drunk at 3am.

Diligu said...

Stayed here a few years ago. It's not cheap, but the neighborhood is very cool.

Amsterdam is very small. You can easily walk anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Aachen, or Aix-la-Chapelle to hard-core frogs, is in Germany, but it's a short skip over the border. Don't know if you should go though. Everyone knows what krauts think your kind.

beckler said...

Typical that the Armeniac would try to trick me into going to Germany

Anonymous said...



Richard St.Ofle said...

I'm not kidding!
you'll never forget it
it's incredible!

beckler said...

JD-you don't have to be mean about it. it was a simple question.

Yes, Bruges for sure.

Anonymous said...

Richard is 100% right. If you go nowhere else, hit Brugges. It's crazy gorgeous.

Antwerp is the best city in Belgium and Leuven is worth a trip for the great, little known breweries. There is so much to do in Antwerp, I'd recommend staying at least 3 days, if not more. Brussels has a lot to see, but it's ugly and one of the least dynamic big cities I've ever spent time in.

In Amsterdam, aim for something in the Jordaan district. The Jordaan is central, beautiful and a good enough hike to deter stoned hostelers from coming anywhere near it. Stay closer to the east side of the Centruum and you should be good.

I'd also try to get out of Amsterdam a bit and see some towns like Alkmaar - similar to Brugges and famous for it's weekly cheese market. Seriously, acres of the best cheese you've ever tasted.

Both Belgium and the Netherlands are small countries and the trains are very reliable, so daytrips from the big city are very simple.


Verification word: mulaur - the sound my stomach is making thinking of the cheese and beer you're going to consume on my behalf.

Anonymous said...

I'm not even sure I'm gonna make it out of this trip alive.


Anonymous said...

how was that mean? I've been to diksmuide and I loved it. There's not really anything there, but still.


beckler said...

The name of the town sounds like an insult you would hurl at someone. Joke!

Anonymous said...

Touring through Belgium last year with the Flats was amazing - I grew up visting the Netherlands many times growing up to see family, but never spent a lot of time there. (My dad's side of the family is from the southwestern part of the Netherlands near the Belgian border.)

Dani nailed it on the head - check out Antwerp, don't bother too much with Brussels. In Antwerp, my recommendation for both lodging and food/beer/wine is a great little cafe/wijnbistro called Patine, it's near the art museum and the people (Willem and Annemie) are absolutely wonderful (tell them the Alkali Flats sent you).

Bruges is gorgeous, although pretty touristy but not in the same way as Amsterdam or Paris or other big European cities. The striking thing about it is how intact it has remained despite all the wars (compared to many northern european cities which were virtually destroyed by the world wars).

I would also highly recommend you check out Ghent - similar to Bruges, but a much bigger town, less touristy.

Westmalle on tap almost anywhere you go in northern Belgium - man, I miss that!


KW said...

Bruges is indeed lovely. I loved our hotel there a lot--it was a little bit removed from the main touristy part of the city--but easy walking distance to the square--and the people were super friendly. It was called the Hotel Adornes: www.adornes.be

I remember their breakfast as a particular standout. I have no restaurant recommendations because we were traveling with a two-year-old and went wherever seemed like it would be tolerant of that and would have, say, frites (everywhere was, everywhere did, and honestly we did not have a bad meal). One thing about Bruges: your French will probably not get you much of anywhere. It's Flemish-speaking there and people seemed much happier to muddle through in English than to be addressed in French.

In Amsterdam we rented an apartment in the museum quarter near the Vondelpark (a very nice place to have a beer--the snack bars and teahouses in the park are great). I loved being in that neighborhood--it was away from some of the super-touristy parts of the city, which can tend toward the slightly scuzzy and overrun, but plenty close enough to walk all over. And the streetcars are very handy.

Anonymous said...

Erik beat me to it, but you guys HAVE TO stay at Patine in Antwerp. They are the nicest people, the food is incredible (Eel stew!), you're right in the middle of tons of cool museums, cafes, restaurants, and architecture, and you could probably even finagle a deal. Google Patine Wijn Bistro and dig their cool website.

And I'll add Bruges just like everybody else. They call it "The Venice of the North" for good reason. It's beautiful.


Anonymous said...

Jordaan in Amsterdam is where we stayed the other month. Really great.

Also, there's no reason you'd stay there but just in case, the new new new capsule hotel at the amsterdam airport is cool as heck. Citizen M it's called. I think it was 60 euros for a single.


Deirdre said...

I second the comments above about Bruges -- it has a magical feel to it. I enjoyed Antwerp as well.

To make your trip better, I would recommend getting to know Belgian beers. It's a whole new world of beer flavors.

beckler said...

Hmm...Belgian beers you say? Are they anything like Budweiser American Ale? J.K.-Diedre, you have no way of knowing this, but beer is the reason we're going to Belgium

Deirdre said...

Beckler, if you are going to Belgium for beer then you already know! Boy oh boy, you are going to love it. I planned my days around beer and art when I was there -- it was bliss. This was back in the 90's so I have no good recs to give you, except definitely search for a beer guide to Belgium -- they exist, I've read about them, just never paid attention, maybe Tim Webb is an author (?), that's a guess. You will have sensory overload, with a smile on your face and a warmth in your belly.

Josh Nice said...

deirdre's 1st comment's the raddest.

in other news, this on pitchfork today:

Guest interview with vivian girls on the best albums of 2008.

The Bananas: New Animals
The Bananas are the best band ever, end of story. They've been a band for almost 20 years and every record they ever put out is amazing. Their music is a combination of punk and surf and doo-wop and even hardcore and even a little bit of jazz (?!?!? I hate jazz but it works in this case). I remember meeting them for the first time at 2007 Mauled By Tigers fest and making weird jokes the entire time and on the last night I was just like "Oh yeah, by the way I'm the biggest fan."


-josh chapstick

Patrick J. said...

I would highly recomend Ghent and Antwerp. Make sure you visit at least one lambic Brewery.

Ian said...

In't Spinnekopke in Brussels has great food and rare Cantillon brews on tap. http://www.spinnekopke.be/

J Lehr said...

I would stay at the Flying Pig Hostel...and I know what you're thinking.. Hostel? Well it's a blast, you can get a single room, there's a great bar downstairs and it's close to everything! Trust me I had a great time when I went!