Good day all!
Quick preface: this will be our sixth European trip, the third where we've traveled by rail, our first in Belgium/the Netherlands, and we have learned our lessons about packing light. We are in our mid-30s, and while we obviously want to see everything we can in the time allotted to us, have also learned that we enjoy a slower pace (even if it is walking 15 miles/day), over rushing from place to place.
With that in mind, my husband and I will be traveling in August, starting in Paris and ending in Amsterdam. This leaves us with seven nights while we travel between these two cities. We have strongly entertained a detour to Mont St Michel or the Mosel Valley (both places we would love to get to!) and if anyone believes that this is still the absolute best plan, I'm open to hearing about it! Otherwise, I've been thinking that slowing down the pace of our travel and really spending more time in Belgium wouldn't be a bad way to go. :)
Our itinerary currently looks like this (by nights):
8/8 - 8/10 - Paris (we've been before, and are using this time to get over jet lag and enjoy a couple of things we missed on earlier trips)
8/11 - 8/17 - Open for negotiation (must include at least three nights in Bruges, but when is flexible)
8/18 - 8/23 - Amsterdam
So, here is my struggle (while awaiting for the Belgium book to arrive tomorrow!!):
We'll be traveling by train northward from Paris. Given that we want to visit Ypres, does it make sense to spend a night or two there, on our way to Bruges, rather than do a tour visit from Bruges? I'm thinking that if we do not stay in Ypres, I'd like to give us four nights in Bruges in order to accommodate an entire day in Ypres. Does this make sense?
For those who have done the tours from Bruges (probably with Quasimodo Tours - though I'm open to other recommendations) did you find the tours too rushed throughout the day? We've done others before where we felt rushed through the sites, and have been a bit wary of them since.
I have three or so nights (depending on feedback related to Ypres/Bruges above) to accommodate additional stop-overs between Bruges and Amsterdam, with a preference towards smaller communities with relatively easy access by train. We're discussing a night or two in Rotterdam or the Hague, but am otherwise curious about your favorite, must-see stopovers?
Thank you in advance for all your guidance!