Traveling allows me to see the world through my eyes

Trip Planning

On this page I will keep track of my trip planning notes and list all of my resources and everything that I’m learning along the way as I plan Trekcapri’s 2010 Adventures to Vibrant Europe:  Amsterdam, Bruges and Berlin.  I can feel the energy and excitment of the adventures that awaits me.  I can’t wait!  😀

THE NETHERLANDS

In 2008, a good co-worker friend encouraged me to travel to the Netherlands.   She said that it is an amazingly beautiful country and that I would really love it there.   After looking at my photos from my very first trip to Europe where I traveled with a group tour, I realized that I had already been to the Netherlands, specifically I spent 1 day and 1 night in the City of Amsterdam.  I hardly remember a thing other than a group tour I took to a cheese making factory where I did the typical tourist photo opp standing in these giant wooden shoes.  That’s pretty much what I remembered.

So in November, I will be returning to the Netherlands, spending two weeks in an apartment.  With an added third week that my supervisor encouraged me to take, I decided that I would travel by train from Amsterdam to Berlin, Germany.  After reading a Slow Traveler’s (Shannon) a couple of years ago I have always wanted to visit.  Berlin has such history and seems to be emerging in the World Stage as a vibrant city full of art, history, entertainment and much more. 

In this part of the world, the counties are so close together and so while spending two weeks in Amsterdam I’m going to train over to Belgium (Bruges) to spend a long two night day trip there. 

All three countries are described as vibrant European countries and so I have nick named my trip my “2010 Vibrant Europe Adventures!  Whoo hoo!

 

 AMSTERDAM

ITINERARY IDEAS

Anne Frank House: Operating Hours:  September 15 through March 14 – Address: Prinsengracht 267 – My plan is to visit the Ann Frank house the first chance I get.  I missed seeing it the first time and I definitely won’t do that again.

Dam Square:  Address:  De Ruyterkade 5 -1013AA Amsterdam

Between the Canals:  Address:  De Ruyterkade 5 – 1013AA Amsterdam – The section of this canal which runs from Leidsestraat to Vijzelstraat is known as the ‘Golden Bend’. Some of the most beautiful canal houses are located in this bend of the canal.   I’ll have to visit this part of the city the first sign of clear weather.  Leidseplein Square and Rembrandt Square are the main entertainment areas of Amsterdam and located in this quarter.   

Jordaan Quarter:  Address: De Ruyterkade 5  – 1013AA Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum:  Recommended by AnnieNC, the Rijksmuseum is located in the center, this museum houses art from the great masters of the 17th century: Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Vermeer and Rembrandt. 

Address:  Jsn Luijkenstraat 1 – 1071CJ  Amsterdam

Operating Hours:  Monday – Sunday – 9:00 am to 18:00 (6:00 pm) / Cost: 12.50 Euros

Van Gogh Museum:  I’m really looking forward to seeing the collection.

Address: PO Box 75366 / 1070 AJ Amsterdam

Operating Hours:  Open Daily 10:00 am to 18:00 (6:00 pm) /

DAY TRIPS IDEAS

The Haag –

TRANSPORTATION – TRAINS

  

Resources: Trekcapri's Vibrant Europe Adventures: Amsterdam, Netherlands


BELGIUM

 Considered to be the “Essence of Europe”, Belgium which is situated between the borders of France and Holland, is known for it’s friendly and welcoming people, great architecture (a mix of Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, and Art Nouveau), cobble stoned roads, Belgium waffles, Belgium Chocolate and Belgium Beer.  It goes without saying that I plan on doing a two-night day trip here from Amsterdam.  😀  

Bruges:

The historic City Center in Burges (Wikipedia) is on the World Heritage Site of UNESCO.  They say that with it’s lovely canals it is referred to as the Venice of North Europe.  But having been to Venice three times, I would have to say that Venice is is a total Class of their own and although I’m sure that the canals of Burges are beautiful it would be hard to compare it to Venice. 

Itinerary Ideas:

 Church of Our Lady (WikipediaThis beautiful church is on my must see list.  The tower is the highest structure in the entire city and the interior looks amazing. On the alter piece alter, there I will find  Michelangelo’s depiction of the Madonna and Child (Wikipedia) in white marble:

In this sculpture, baby Jesus is not held by Mary, but rather is standing and looks to be just stepping away.  Mary does not cling to her son but looks down as if she knew his fate.   

II’m really looking forward to seeing this in person. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to take a photo, but I will certainly take notes of my experience and observations.  Thanks to AnnieNC and Sandrac, I have a deep appreciation for understanding some of the art and sculptures I have the pleasure of seeing while traveling.

Markt (Market Square) (Wikipedia)- The Market Square is located in the City Center. It is a lovely pedestrian only square, planked by the 12th century Belfry. 

Boat Tour Cruise – Pending

Transportation:

Change trains in Antwerp and again in Gent: 3 hours 31 minutes. The first leg from Amsterdam to Antwerp Centraal is on the high speed Thalys train (requires reservation so make sure to book a day before).  There’s an early train that leaves at 6:16 am arriving in Brugges 9:29 am  and another train that leaves at 8:16 am and arrives in Brugge at 11:29 am.  I might want to take the “crack” of dawn train so I can arrive early in Brugges, maybe have some Belgium waffles 😀 for breakfast before I check into my hotel.  I’ll be traveling light so I could easily find a restaurant and chill for a couple of hours maybe do a little sightseeing before checking in.

Resources: Trekcapri's Vibrant Europe Adventures-Bruges, Belgium


BERLIN (GERMANY)

 I have read that Berlin (and especially former East Berlin) is emerging as a very vibrant, energenic, artistic community attracting visitors from all over the world. 

Itinerary Ideas

Berliner Fernsehturm (TV Tower for 360 View of Berlin) – Address:  Panoramastraße 1a – 10178 Berlin-Mitte (hours of operation: 11-01 to 02-28: daily 10 to 24 h Cost is 10.50 Euros

Alexanderplatz – Popular Square in the central distric of Mitte (close to TV tower-May try to find a place to eat there my first night in Berlin) – Address:  10178 Berlin-Mitte –

S+U Alexanderplatz
S-Bahn S5, S7, S75, S9
U-Bahn U2, U5, U8
Bus 100, 200, 248, TXL
Metro Bus/Tram M4, M48, M5, M6

Eastside Gallery – Located on the original Berlin Wall – Address: Mühlenstraße 1 – 10243 Berlin-Friedrichshain

S Warschauer Str.
S-Bahn S3, S5, S7, S75, S9
Metro Bus/Tram M10, M13

Berlin-Wall History Mile

Checkpoint Charlie/Checkpoint Charlie Museum):  U Kochstr./Checkpoint Charlie – Address: Friedrichstraße 43-45 – 10969 Berlin-Kreuzberg

U-Bahn U6
Metro Bus/Tram M29

Reichstag – Seat of the German Bundestag (Federal Government)

S Brandenburger Tor
S-Bahn S1, S2
Bus 100, TXL

Open Daily:  8-24 hours

Kunsthaus Tacheles – The former Department store now location of artists paintings

Brandenburg Gate – Symbol of Berlin’s reunification) – Pariser Platz – 10117 Berlin-Mitte

U Brandenburger Tor
U-Bahn U55

Museum Island (Pergamon Museum) – While there I want to see the Berliner Dom (the City’s cathedral)

Jewish Museum – Monday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is 5 Euros

River Spree City Cruise – Wendenschloßstraße 350-354, 12557 Berlin – Daily 1h city tours on River Spree and East-Side-Tour from station Alte Börse.

DAY TRIP IDEAS:

 Option 1:  BERLIN TO WERNIGEROD (HARZ MOUNTAINS). 

Train Travel:  3 hours with minimum 1 change 

Option 2:  Berlin to Spreewald  (Well so much for Spreewald. Just discovered their operating hours go from Jan to Oct.) See how important travel planning is  😀 !

Train Travel:  2 hours with minimum 1 change

Option 3 Potsdam (Shannon visited there and it sounds pretty cool)

Local Transport:  23 minutes from Berlin

Option 4:  Frankfurt-an-der-Oder

Train Travel:  Hour and a half away

Option 5: Szczecin, Poland

Train Travel: Just over an hour. I’ve always wanted to see Poland. :)

Option 6:  Berlin (Berlin has so much to see and do, I would be just as happy to explore Berlin and not do a day trip)

Train Travel: None

Resources: Trekcapri's Vibrant Europe Adventures - Berlin (Germany)

 

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Running, cycling and hiking gives me that rush! Music energizes and soothes my soul! Photography preserves my memories and tells my stories! Art provides beauty and fuels my imagination! History gives me knowledge, a deeper understanding for the present and hope for the future! Family & Friends warms my heart! And Travel . . . well Travel keeps me HAPPY!

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"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - - by Mark Twain

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