My tour was the first one in April 2012. I chose this time to enjoy the spring gardens, less crowds, and lower airfare than summer season.
I added 1 pre night in Brussels and 2 post nights in Amsterdam. The new itinerary doesn't begin in Brusells. But it is the best place to fly into for the revised tour and it's worth an overnight.
I spent the afternoon walking around and visited Cathedral St.Michael & Gudula. I had dinner in Pl de Catherine neighborhood at La Villette Restaurant, Rue do Vieux Marche-aux-Grains 3. The owner is Belgium French. The diners were 90% locals. It's a quaint hole in the wall. She made a great stew!
The next day I spent over half of it at the Royal Army & Military Museum. They have an extended aviation hall, too. Their cafeteria is excellent and budget price.
Brussels Lodging: Hotel Aris Grand Place
Marché aux Herbes 78-80 Grasmarkt Tel: 011 32 2 514 43 00 Fax: 011 32 2 514 01 19 http://www.arishotel.be
Amsterdam's plans were 1 day for Keukenhof and 1 free day for Amsterdam. As Keukenhof had good showings the trip to Aalsmeer Flower Auction was replaced by a half day at Keukenhof. I spent my free time in Amsterdam visiting the Amsterdam History Museum, the The Dutch Resistance Musuem, and The Jewish Memorial. Another day I explored the side canals and shops of the Joordan. Surprises everywhere of art, cheese, chocolate and wine samplings along the way!
Tour highlights for me were the Maeslant storm barrier, the guided day of Flanders Field, Keukenhof, and learning about Flemish art and Dutch history.
Cons: The water is not free. I didn't like the tap water's taste or smell. So I always paid for bottled water.
Tossups: I didn't think highly of the Frites but others loved them.
Pros: Beautiful countries, good ground transportation, Chocolate- good beer- yummy mussels if you like em' and good guides(personal stories/connections to their countries).
Wows- The Maelstant barrier and Keukenhof. This is the most compacted
and diversified tour I have been on out of 4 tours to date (Ireland, Berlin-Prague-Vienna, Eastern France). One morning you're looking at fine masterpeices of art and in the afternoon you're relaxing at a brewery!
Don't think about it, just go!