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Featured Country: Belgium

Many of our European cruises feature a call at Zeebrugge (Brugges/Brussels), Belgium, and it’s close enough to the Netherlands to drive there for an overland adventure should you arrive for your cruise out of Amsterdam or Rotterdam a few days early and choose to explore.

Guests Jan and Dick Yetke joined us again and they decided to do just this prior to their recent Eurodam cruise. Enjoy exploring Brussels, Ghent and Brugges, Belgium, with them.

Upon arrival in Amsterdam on morning of Aug. 21, we picked up our rental car and drove to Brussels, Belgium (about a two-and-a-half-hour drive). Near our hotel was a large square surrounded by many restaurants with outdoor cafes. Next to this square was the Parlamentarium, European District. We had supper at one of the outdoor cafes, walked around a little more, and then went back to the hotel for the night.

The next day we took the CitySightseeing Brussels red double-decker Hop-On Hop-Off bus. We have done these tours in cities all around the world and find them to be very good for seeing lots of the highlights of a city. You have earplugs and listen to a commentary about the city and what you are seeing. We rode the red line first, then got off at Central Station which was by the Grand Place. Walked to the Grand Place and had a light lunch at an outdoor cafe there.

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Then got on the blue line tour to see other things. One very interesting sight is the Atomium. We did not tour it but enjoyed seeing it.

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The Royal Palace is good to see and it is surrounded by a beautiful park.

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Brussels is home to NATO so lots of international people living and working there.

Of course, Belgium is known for chocolate. So, Dick had to go into a few chocolate shops. We actually did not buy any today.

DAY 2:
Today we drove out of Brussels to Ghent and Brugges. These are really neat little towns that are fun to walk around. Too bad we didn’t have our bikes with us because biking would have been great. We parked and enjoyed a lovely walk thru some of the streets in Ghent. We ended up along a nice canal and saw some outdoor cafes and decided to have lunch at one of them which happened to be outside the Marriott hotel there. We enjoyed watching all the canal tour boats during our lunch. It was a beautiful day and we loved our walk thru town.

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Back in the car and out to Brugges. We also parked and walked there. We found a major square with a large cathedral, lots of shops, cafes, etc. We did go into a chocolate shop there and bought some individually wrapped dark chocolate squares. They are delicious!!! The lady gave us each one free to try. I put mine in my pants pocket and forgot about it (should have eaten it right away). Since it was hot out, next time I reached into my pocket for something it was full of melted chocolate. Ugh, what a mess!!! Okay, now you have had a good laugh!!!

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We then continued our drive out to the coast and drove south along the coast down to DeHahn. That was a vibrant town, very cute, and very crowded. We were going to continue on to Oosterdam, but decided it was getting late so headed back to Brussels.

If you have photos of a port or country that you really enjoyed on your Holland America Line cruise, send them to info@hollandamericablog.com and you might be featured on one of our social media channels.

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