When I started dreaming of a trip to Belgium and the Netherlands, I thought I would combine it with travels through eastern France. But as the plans developed, I decided instead to visit Norway. A friend suggested I call this trip “Beltherway” — for BELgium, neTHERlands, and norWAY.
I planned the trip for the month of May 2016, and this turned out to be a perfect time to make this trip. The weather wasn’t hot, there were just a few days of rain, and the crowds weren’t as bad as they would likely be during the summer.
I flew Icelandair via Reykjavik to Brussels and spent the first five nights in Belgium, three nights in Ghent and two nights in Antwerp. I also spent some time seeing Brussels and Bruges. Then I went to Delft for two nights, with a stop in Rotterdam and a day trip to The Hague. Next I took the train to Amsterdam, stopping in Leiden for a few hours on the way.
I stayed in Amsterdam for five nights. While I was there I made some day trips, one to a couple of smaller cities north of Amsterdam, and one to Haarlem.
Then I flew to Oslo. I stayed there four nights, including a day trip to Fredrikstad, before departing on the “Sognefjord in a Nutshell” itinerary, with two nights in Balestrand en route to Bergen. After two nights in Bergen, I flew to Trondheim for two final nights before flying home.
I blogged a lot on this trip. I also took a ton of pictures.
Brussels (111 photos)
Bruges and Damme (63 photos)
Ghent (131 photos)
Antwerp (76 photos)
Rotterdam (107 photos)
The Hague (27 photos)
Delft (104 photos)
Leiden (77 photos)
Hoorn and Edam (74 photos)
Haarlem (68 photos)
Amsterdam (230 photos)
Oslo (275 photos)
Fredrikstad (63 photos)
Norway Fjords (356 photos)
Bergen (192 photos)
Trondheim (114 photos)
I made a few “highlights” albums too, in case you prefer just a small sampling from some of the bigger albums.
Best of Amsterdam (55 photos)
Best of Oslo (34 photos)
Best of Norway Fjords (26 photos)
Name the Trip (9/29/2015) - I don’t know what to call this trip. My last three trips to Europe were easier: Italy, my Nordic Adventure, and the Balkans. But what do I call this trip? I was thinking “Northern Europe,” but that doesn’t feel nearly… more… My Beltherway Itinerary (10/26/2015) - Yes, Beltherway (for BELgium, neTHERlands, norWAY). Thanks to Troy Aker for the brilliant portmanteau. This past weekend I went up to Rick Steves’ Travel Center in Edmonds for a trip consult with Lisa, and with her help I was able… more… Day tripping around Balestrand (3/1/2016) - My next big trip is just over two months away, so I’ve been putting a lot of energy into making final plans. One of the big questions I had for myself is how to spend my day in Balestrand. On… more… Beltherway Itinerary Update (3/3/2016) - I decided that I really want to stay in Amsterdam and not in Haarlem. Because it’s Amsterdam, and I like being in the heart of things. 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It might actually have nothing to do with getting a full six hours of sleep last night, but that certainly didn’t hurt. (And six hours sleep is close to normal for me. Even so, I had a… more… In which I am asked about Trump (5/11/2016) - It’s my third full day in Belgium, and today for the first time I was asked my opinion of Trump. But first I had to finish my Ghent experiences and sit on a train for nearly two hours to get… more… Keeping Kosher (5/12/2016) - I like to be a food tourist, which usually means looking for foods that are traditional to the place I’m visiting. After three days in Ghent, I decided on Plan B. (That’s B for Belgium.) Ethnic food in Antwerp Yesterday… more… Out of the frying pan… (5/13/2016) - … and into the freezer. Or so it seems tonight. The temperatures have dropped about 25 degrees Fahrenheit, from the upper 70s to the lower 50s, which, as those who know me are aware, is a good thing! 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Preconcert The program was Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and Prokofiev’s… more… Just like home (5/23/2016) - Yesterday in Oslo was like so many winter and spring and fall days in Seattle: grey and rainy. Fortunately I got most of my outdoor sightseeing done on Saturday, when it was beautiful (until late afternoon). So yesterday was a… more… If Rick Steves writes about this place… (5/23/2016) - Fredrikstad could be the next Cinque Terre. It is surprising to me, given his Norwegian heritage, that Rick Steves gives short shrift to this country. His Scandinavia guidebook includes Oslo, Bergen, and the fjord region, and that’s it. Fredrikstad is… more… Backup battery (5/24/2016) - I am on the balcony of my room at the Balestrand Hotell, trying to focus on what I’m typing. But I am distracted by the view of the Sognefjord in front of me. The sun is still shining brightly onto… more… A contest (and some other stuff) (5/25/2016) - There’s a contest in this blog post. 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