I've just started researching a Belgium and the Netherlands solo trip for June 2023. I just finished up an RS tour, Village Italy. While I enjoyed the tour, I realized that Italy's summer heat is too much for me and that changing hotels every two days was frustrating and tiresome. I am a teacher and am stuck traveling in either June or July. This would be my first truly solo trip; I've done two RS tours, but on an RS tour, you have built-in travel buddies. I'm a bit of a nervous traveler on travel days and like to have everything completely planned out. I think Belgium and the Netherlands look like a solo trip I can easily do.
While I can travel for up to 14 days, I might just do 11-12 as next summer is a very busy one for me. I would really like to limit it to two home base towns/cities, explore those areas, and take train day trips. I prefer to "stop and smell the roses" instead of seeing absolutely everything. Nightlife does not interest me as I've never been able to stay up long enough to enjoy it. The most I would do after dinner is maybe have a drink at the hotel bar or something very close by. I'll probably be asleep by 10:00 :)
I'm thinking of flying into Brussels and taking the train to whatever town I'm staying in, eventually taking a train to Amsterdam, and then flying out of Amsterdam to go home. Where should I home base in Belgium? My gut says Bruges because it looks so incredibly lovely, and I can find lots to do. Some preliminary research says Ghent because it's more centrally located for day trips. And now I'm finding Antwerp. I'm stuck. Former forum posts seem to argue for each one. I'm still leaning toward Bruges. Am I nuts?