I agree, option 2 is better.
Now, I will stay in Utrecht 4 N. Then train to Ghent (4N). I will visit Bruges and Brussel on a day trip (one day a city), Does 4 nights sound reasonable and not rushing? Budget $ 200-250 cad/night. Sam mentioned that when visit Bruges and Brussels, I would catch Gent “ Sint Pieters main station), and when going to centre of Gent, catch “ Damport”.
In this case, which train station I should catch and get off for my accomdation ? what area (i.e. Ghent city centre ?) or perhaps name few hotels you could recommend for my 4N staying in Ghent, or anyone who has idea?
Then, the next morning, train from Ghent-Brussels airport (1h30 min appx) , Venice by plane. My flight departs at 14:30pm, arrive at airport around noon. Probably leaving hotel around 0830-0900 am.
3) buying train fare, you suggest to buy at courter upon arrival. Would we be benefit/ saving to buy train pass (discount, if any) or not much difference, just purchase ticket as we go.
4) Attached google link of train route (choose the 57 min travel time option, correct, as train departs 1 min after 9 am per schedule. From Gent-Sint-Pieters ,Kon. To Bruxelles-Midi, then to airport.
Which station/platform I would be waiting at Gent-Sint-Pieters physically, is there vision sign at the front of the train so I could keep eyes on, and any staffs to assist at the train station.
Nigel, we are going to Venice ( 3N), Florence (4N), Milan( 3-4N, not decided yet). Then fly from Milan to Vancouver. Do you feel the timeframe is plenty ? I visited Italy 15 years ago, it's more like revisit with my mom (her visit time). I will post separate posting under Italy forum. Any of your favour spots you can share with us.