07 July 2013

If it's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (or 's-Hertogenbosch)

Feeling much better.  Thanks for all the well wishes.  Having a fever for a couple of days really can take the wind out of your sails.    

Moving on with our European saga, after a brief sweep through Brussels, we caught the train to 's-Hertogenbosch (remember how it's pronounced?).  Turns out this is a really neat town to visit for business/pleasure/whatever.  I feel totally remiss in my travel planning for this leg of the adventure.  Normally I scope out a destination in advance to map our a plan of attach.  TripAdvisor is my tool of choice in planning our my strategy.  Look for the local hotels, restaurants, things to see before we hit the ground.  I'll admit I did study up on our hotel, the Movenpick, but not much else.  Figured this to be a small town outside of Amsterdam with few restaurants, no historical sites, not much activity - one sleepy little Netherlands hamlet.  Totally wrong.  's-Hertogenbosch is a really interesting town and I only wish I had a few more days to really explore.  Many canals, lots of historic buildings, restaurants down every street, one reeeallllly impressive church some awesome architecture (inner geek showing), a night-time free opera on the plaza, and geese.  

Train ride up from Brussels was good, if slightly complex.  For those used to having their own mode of transportation (aka car), traveling by rail can be an interesting experience.  We had a 3+ hour train ride up from Brussels to 's-Hertogenbosch after a long flight and wandering around Brussels for few hours.  Needless to say, we were running on fumes at the time.  We bought our tickets before we started wandering around town (that's the boy scout in me) and we needed to take three trains (2 transfers) to get to our destination.  I can handle the logistics, but need to be in the right frame of mind to make the connections.  My coworker was pretty much zonked out for portions of the ride and, if I hadn't been watching the stations and change, we could have wound up in France.  Finally made it to den Bosch and caught a taxi to the hotel.

The Movenpick was a interesting hotel.  It was recommended by our supplier as a good choice and close by, but, being a cynic, I like to scope out the places I am going to be staying at before I hang my hat.  Good reviews, but I really couldn't get a good mental picture of the place from the write ups.  Very nice hotel - modern motif (think Ikea), clean, efficient, very well run.  I need to hop onto TripAdvisor and give them my two cents.       

Some shots from the Movenpick
View outside of my window
Spot the wildlife?
Something to tempt greet you when you check in.
Go ahead - try one! 
Something left by the hotel staff
Touring the town

Typical Netherlands buildings.
We saw many similar homes/buildings throughout the town.  
St Jan Cathedral
Tight fit

And, of course, a few restaurants

One of the many sidewalk cafes around town
Not as contested or crowded as Brussels 
Narrow street with shops and restaurants
Another street, another cafe
Can you see what peeked my interest?  (Hint:  look to the end of the street)

Was interested in getting the translation of the statement 

Was chilly out - one of the different outside heaters that many restaurants had 
A quartet of gentlemen that played every night (for tips).
Very good musicians.
Good food
Veal medallions
And beer

Have no fear - the chocolate is coming.....


Abby said...

All sounds so fun! I'd love to see this part of the country. In the meantime, I'll live vicariously through your great photos. I've always thought it would be fun to "do" the train systems in Europe. You mean I'd have to pay attention?

Glad you're feeling better. Show that fever thing who's boss!

ShadowRun300 said...

So glad you're feeling a little more like normal. Just in time to go back to work, right?
I thoroughly enjoyed looking through your pictures. I saw the geese, and I saw the golden, but I LOVED the squeezed in building! Was it a home? A shop?
And I'm sure your coworker appreciated you looking after him, but I hope you were able to get some sleep at some point.
Now get to work on that chocolate blog!

terri said...

Sounds like a great place to visit and something that might have to come up in future travel plans for you so you can see more. Very impressive Cathedral!