Travel to The Netherlands and Belgium – Episode 98

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Bruges - Travel to The Netherlands and Belgium - Amateur Traveler Episode 98

The Amateur Traveler talks to Daniel Perez of the Gamer Traveler about his trip to the Netherlands and Belgium: Brussels, Bruges, Amsterdam, and Delft. Daniel talks about the beauty of the low countries, how he did a self-guided tour using a package, history, art, beer and why the Netherlands and Belgium, in particular, should be added to your travel itinerary.

A great way to save money when you visit Amsterdam is the Amsterdam Pass. This pass includes hop on-hop off bus and boat tours, entrance to the major museums, the Heineken Experience, and more.



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Show Notes

the Gamer Traveler podcast
Brussels Museum of Musical Instruments
Coudenberg – Brussel’s Royal Palace
Dam Square
Anne Frank House
Van Gogh Museum
Rembrandt House Museum
Heineken Experience
Portuguese Synagogue, Amsterdam
Bruges – Official Site
Bruges Belgium
Johannes Vermeer
Anton van Leeuwenhoek
Hugo de Groot
House of Orange
Dutch East India Company
80 Years War (Chris got it wrong)
Delftware – Daniel used gate1travel for his self-guided tour – travel information


Amanda’s email
Ed’s email


Ghent Belgium


Today the Amateur Traveler goes to Belgium and the Netherlands.

Chris: I’d like to welcome to the show Daniel Perez who’s come to talk to us about a recent trip to Belgium and the Netherlands. Daniel, welcome to the show.

Traveling Soon? These useful links will help you prepare for your trip.

Daniel: Thanks a lot Chris.

Chris: And Daniel is another member of a new organization that he and I have been working on which is the Travel Podcasters Network. And Daniel has probably one of the more unusual travel podcasts. You have the Gamer Traveler.

Daniel: Yeah.

Chris: I’m going to let you explain it.

Daniel: Basically, it’s a show about gaming and travel both rolled into one. I’m a role player and a gamer of, you know, many, many years. And when I was trying to figure out a podcast that I wanted to do mostly for my gaming interest, I didn’t want to rehash what other people were doing so I went for the weirdest angle that I could find and I decided to combine it with my love of travel. It was originally a segment in another podcast, like a feature segment, and I would talk about a small location and then you’d tell ways of using it in a role-playing game or setting or anything like that. And eventually I decided to go ahead and take it solo and it’s been doing very well.

Chris: So you recently were on a, I think you said, a 10-day trip to the Netherlands and Belgium.

Daniel: Yeah. It was actually a year ago right now.

Chris: Ok and can you tell us where you went? First, lets lay out the itinerary.

Daniel: Sure. We flew from Miami to Brussels. And we spent three days in Brussels and we went up to Amsterdam, spent a couple of days there. I think it was three or four days in Amsterdam. Then, went back down into Belgium to visit Brugge. Spent a few days there, then went back up into the Netherlands to the town of Delft and one more day in Amsterdam before returning back to the states.

Chris: Ok. And then lets take those, kind of, one at a time and hit the highlights of the different places. So you started in Brussels?

Daniel: Brussels.

Chris: So what were the highlights of Brussels for you?

Daniel: Actually the city itself. We had read up on our destinations. We usually do that. We’re nerds like that.

Chris: Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Daniel: But we didn’t really know what to expect out of Belgium in general because it’s usually one of these like, ‘Oh you know there’s France and England and Germany and oh yeah, there’s Belgium over there.’ So we sort of knew the highlights and we’ve seen our videos and everything but we weren’t really ready for what we encountered there and it was a very nice surprise. Brussels is a very international city. It’s very laid back, very quiet. Kind of French in that sense. But it certainly has a lot of that Dutch entrepreneurial sense of, you know, the merchant’s core of the city. It was very interesting. Very welcome surprise to our trip. Very good start too.

Travel to The Netherlands and Belgium – Episode 98 Transcript

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Chris: Any particular part of Brussels that stands out in terms of places that you saw or things that you did?

Daniel: Absolutely. We were staying in a hotel that was just two streets away from the Grand Place, which is the center, the main square of Brussels. So it was its heart. This has been labeled by some people as the grandest and most amazing square in Europe and it certainly has a fighting shot for that title. It’s beautiful. It’s the right size. It’s surrounded by these beautiful and amazing gabled gild houses dating back to the 16th and 17th century. And it’s a very relaxing place. There’s food and drinks all around and just fantastic. Outside of that, there was also the upper part of the city where you get to see the Museum of Musical Instruments in an old art deco building, art nuevo building, sorry, which is also very nice. And there is the Coudenberg Museum, which is an underground look at some of the foundations of medieval Brussels.

Chris: Oh, interesting.

Daniel: Yeah. This is just off of the Royal Palace. It’s in one of the little wings on the side. You go in. You go down the stairs. It’s usually very empty. It certainly was when we went. It was Saturday and it was just empty. It was us and two other people. And you actually go into the foundations of medieval Brussels. You get to walk under the main road above and you get to see the old, I think it is the left wing of the palace, which used to be a church. You get to see the Basilica area where the altar would have been and then you actually get to go into what would have been the street and see the street itself and some of the houses that would have been lining it, which is also very cool.

Chris: So Brussels, like a lot of old cities, you’re saying, has built up upon that level, the medieval level?

Daniel: Very much so, actually. It’s another one of those cases in Europe where whatever they dig they certainly have to stop every so often because they’re finding new things.

Chris: Interesting and then your next stop after Brussels was Amsterdam.

Daniel: From Brussels, we took a train up to Amsterdam.

Chris: Ok.

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Daniel: We had been to Amsterdam back in 2001 the first time that we went to Europe, my wife and I and other friends. So we sort of knew what to expect. It was in a way kind of like coming home because the first time that we arrived in Amsterdam, we had just come from England so Amsterdam was a very much a culture shock. This time is was the known place so we felt very comfortable going back to it. And knowing a few things, you know, what to expect in the city as far as transportation, the attitude of the people and things like that, then you know it made it easier to just fall into place in the city. Not to mention that is just one of the best cities in Europe so it’s just.

Chris: Ok, now why do you say that? What makes it the best for you?

Daniel: I feel that for Amsterdam especially in some ways because it is one of the places that most people just view as a party central. It really is just a fantastic cultural landmark. It has so much history. It’s seen so much of what is the history of Europe pretty much from medieval times or before up until the modern era. Some people usually just dismiss it as being only, you know, this place where pot is legal and there’s parties all the time. Which is certainly a part of it but not all of it.

Chris: And so if I’m going to Amsterdam for the first time, and I’ve been there actually once before, where would you recommend I go? Like I’ll go here and I’ll say

‘Yes, Daniel was right. This is one of the best cities in Europe.’

Daniel: There’s the Damrak, which is the main street coming off of the train station.

Kind of your usual main street but you get to see a little bit what makes Amsterdam Amsterdam. Everything from the tulips and the flowers and the wooden shoes and you know the naughty parts and everything like that and you get to the Dam Square. Where you get to the main central, the old dam used to be there, you know, for which Amsterdam takes it name. We went to the Anne Frank house, which is one of those locations that you certainly have to go. On our first trip we took an afternoon and spent it in the Vondelpark. We didn’t have a chance to do it this time but it certainly stood in our minds as some of the nicest time that we spent in the city because it’s just nice to just be relaxing along with the natives of the city where they go to relax. There’s of course the various museums: the Van Gogh Museum, there’s the Rembrandt Museum, the Heineken Experience. You just have to visit it as well.

Chris: The Heineken Experience?

Daniel: Yeah. It’s the old Heineken brewery in the middle of the city. They’ve actually moved it outside of the city but they’ve maintained that as a visitor center and it’s pretty cool. It’s kind of kitschy but, you know, you get free Heineken during the trip so

Chris: All right.

Daniel: It makes it all the worthwhile. And then we also visited the Spanish/Portuguese Synagogue, which was just a few streets away from our hotel over there.

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Chris: Any other highlights of Amsterdam as we’re just doing our quick pass through once here?

Daniel: Just walking through the streets. I’m sure it’s just one of those places I personally like to just walk around. Our return trip we only spent the night there because we were flying out of Schiphol Airport and we stayed in a different hotel. We stayed near the red light district and that was an experience. I don’t know that I would do it again but it certainly was cool to do it just the one time. And you know you certainly get to see what makes Amsterdam a very liberal place. But it’s also just cool to walk around. You get to see a lot of the hidden culture that the city has to offer. There’s little houses where Rembrandt lived and nobody really makes a big deal about it. It’s just down the street from the synagogue, that’s it. There’s also the areas where you can get some of the hidden history in terms of you know what happened during WWII, the bunkers and the buildings that were used as secret meeting places. Those are kind of outlined in various areas of the city. Just to hang out and relax. It is a very laid back city and if you just want to go and have a nice time just relaxing but in the middle of the city, it is certainly one of the best places to do it.

Chris: Ok. Now one thing you mentioned is that you had taken the train from Brussels up to Amsterdam. So you decided this time not to rent a car but to get around by train. What was part of that decision process?

Daniel: We flew to Brussels and Amsterdam as part of a tour deal that we found through a tour agency. It wasn’t guided but they sort of packaged all the amenities in there and it was a really good price so we decided to take it.

Chris: So you did a self-guided tour where they’re basically booking all the accommodations and the transportation but you are on your own in the cities?

Daniel: Yep.

Chris: How interesting. Ok.

Daniel: That’s what accounts for the fact that we went from Belgium to Netherlands then back down to Belgium and back up because the first part of the tour was what was covered by our package deal. And then after that was done we decided to stay another week and then we went back down to Brugge and then up to Delft and back into Amsterdam. Yeah, not to mention that it’s just cool taking the train. We had the chance to take the trains extensively when we spent a month in Europe back in 2001 and on our subsequent trips to Europe the second time was in Ireland and we used a car because Ireland it is just better to rent a car and then we spent a week in Paris which you just don’t move around. You just spend the time in the city.

Chris: And so your next stop was Brugge?

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Daniel: Yeah, we took a train.

Chris: And Brugge is one of my favorite cities in Europe so we’re going to slow down here a bit.

Daniel: You know what? That is exactly what you do when you arrive there. We took a train down into Brugge and boy what a surprise that was. That’s a town that you literally you want to just grab it, put it your pocket and take it with you wherever you go because it really delivers on what it promises. It’s this medieval gem just hidden. Not hidden, but it was for many years. It’s certainly been found by now. It is very much a touristy place but

Chris: Sure.

Daniel: You see what I like about Brugge is the fact that it is touristy but it doesn’t feel horribly touristy. It doesn’t feel like Disney World or anything like that. The people of Brugge have done a really good job of giving tourists all the information that they need and then just stepping back; letting them enjoy the city on their own. And that’s precisely what we did. We stayed in a B & B that we found on line and it was just the most amazing little place. It was kind of

Chris: Was it inside the historic center then? Or just outside?

Daniel: We were inside the actual historic center but we were, I think it was north of the city, I don’t quite recall the direction right now. But we were like a five-minute walk away from the square, which was close enough to walk, but not right there so we didn’t have all the touristy bustle on our street. And it was just fantastic. We had a couple that runs a store and a B&B all in the same building. So every morning we woke up to these humungous baskets of breads and fruits and chocolates and meats and cheeses and it was just fantastic.

Chris: And see that’s when I knew I was going to enjoy Belgium was when they offered me chocolate, or I think it was actually probably Nutella, which is a hazelnut spread to go on my croissants in the morning. I knew that this was going to be a place that I could enjoy.

Daniel: I love Nutella. I love that I can get it in Europe for so cheap.

Chris: For us, one of the reasons that I say Brugge stands out for me is you mentioned going to Amsterdam and being a little overwhelmed the first time. That was the very first place that we had stepped foot in in Europe and we were intimidated by it, I’d have to say at the time. I’m sure I would enjoy it much more now than I did then. So we didn’t spend much time there. We went off to Haarlem and up to Edam but then the next day we went to Brugge and that’s when I felt I was really in Europe. Because a lot of Amsterdam, I mean although it is a very beautiful city, but a lot of outside of Amsterdam when you are driving on the highway, it felt very similar. It didn’t fell that different from home.

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Daniel: I can definitely understand what it is to be overwhelmed by Amsterdam the first time. It completely hit us over the head the first time. My god, we really wanted to just get back on the train and run back to England. It was like, “Oh my god this is home.”

Chris: I think for us we just allowed ourselves to be intimidated by its reputation. I don’t think we really gave Amsterdam a chance the very first time we were there.

Daniel: What happened for us, it was just the bustle and the people and the strange language even though most people speak English you know. It is just the Dutch and so many people and I was like uuuuhh. I can fully understand how going to Brugge would be just like a mental vacation; ohhh, yes, now I’m here.

Chris: Anything stand out about Brugge for you?

Daniel; You mean other than the whole city itself? Uuuhh. I’m telling you it’s just this fantastic place. There was the market square. It was a very nice place. The Grand Carillon was just amazing. We toyed with the idea of climbing the 300 and so steps up to the tower and then we decided against it because we were tired and so we just walked around and we went the Berg Square and to the Basilica of the Holy Blood. We didn’t get there in time to see the relic that supposedly houses a drop of blood of Christ. The church itself is a beautiful architectural masterpiece and it was nice to see it there. We also just walked around. We did a lot of walking around Brugge because the thing with the Benelux, sorry Netherlands and Belgium, in general, is they really don’t have this high concentration of “bang” world-renowned sites. The sites themselves are you know the cities themselves; the people and just walking around town and just getting that feel, that vibe. We did a lot of walking around in Brugge. We rented bikes and we kept them overnight and we went biking around town. We went to the windmills that are just outside of the city and picnicked all over the place. Fantastic.

Chris: Tell you what. You say you didn’t get to the top of the tower. We actually did so I’ll scan some of our old pictures. If you watch the iTunes enhanced version, I will have some pictures of what view you missed there. How’s that?

Daniel: That’ll be fantastic. That’ll be awesome.

Chris: Now for you, I got the impression that Brugge, though as much as I enjoyed it, wasn’t the highlight of the trip for you?

Daniel: You know we were actually kind of surprised by that when we returned. We were kind of comparing notes and then we suddenly realized that it was Delft actually that most stood out in our minds. Preciously because of what I said earlier that Brugge for all the beauty that it has, and it really is a beautiful place, it is a very touristy town. I mean you see the buses arrive in the morning, dump their hundreds and hundreds of tourists around, and in the evening they’re out of there.

You know, like it happens in many places around Europe. We enjoyed our time there and then we went up to Delft. Delft is like 15 minutes away from The Haage, 15 minutes away from Rotterdam so its sort of near to civilization but it’s like civilization just looked at it and said, “Yeah, you stay over there”. It was a fantastic little place. There was almost no one there. I mean there were all the locals and there were certainly tourists but I think if you put us, all the tourists there in one room, we would have had a very nice mixture with like 30 people that’s it. So we had a chance to just walk around town. Everybody was super nice because they didn’t have that rush of people just banging on them. We were able to sit down in cafes and just have some of the wonderful beers that were just the highlight of the area, that is Netherlands and Belgium. We haven’t talked about the Belgium beers.

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Chris: What is a good Belgium beer? I’m not a beer drinker so I couldn’t tell you.

Daniel: You know I’m normally am not a beer drinker. I have a beer every so often. But every one that I tried over there, I liked. There was a really strong one called Delirium Tremens that really deserves the name. There is one called Kwak which is served in this cute little beaker looking glass and I have a picture that I can send you so you can put it on the feed. Just drink it and you have to be careful because you have to grab it by this wooden contraption and be careful that it doesn’t splash all over your face. There were a couple of triple beers which are like one beer, triple the strength, that are very nice but you need to nurse them, which is certainly what the Belgium’s do. There is a typical Belgium that goes and has one of these beers and they’re set for the night. But most of them just grab a beer and just sit down and talk and they talk and they talk and they nurse that and they’ll have another one and just stretch it throughout the night. It’s just a conversation lubricant. That’s it. The thing about Delft is that is was just all the charm of Brugge but none of the people.

Chris: Now, I had not really heard of Delft until I listened to your show recently about it and I’m sure a lot of people then like me weren’t aware of the historical significance of Delft. So if you could tell us a little bit about that that would be good.

Daniel: Sure. Most people will actually know of Delft by reputation if they know who Johannes Vermeer is and of course he was a painter of the very famous Girl With a Pearl Earring. Johannes Vermeer was one of the Dutch Masters. He certainly wasn’t acknowledged as a master during his lifetime, but few were. He lived in Delft. One of his friends was, and I’m going to butcher the name so sorry to all the Dutch speakers, Anton van Leeuwenhoek, and he was the inventor of the microscope and of the camera obscura. I don’t know if he was the inventor but he certainly improved on the camera obscura. There was Hugo de Goot who was a famous politician and he set up a lot of ideals that eventually led to greater political reforms and in the Netherlands and in the rest of Europe so it certainly had a few important figures. It also was the seat for a while of the Royal House of Orange and of one of the important centers of the Dutch East India Trading Company. It was a very happening little place.

Chris: What stands out for Delft for you in terms of what to spend your time on there? Besides the Dutch beers which

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Daniel: Well, Dutch beers are like Heineken and you know there are a couple of others

Chris: Right. Those I know.

Daniel: The funny thing about Delft is that you can do it all in one afternoon and you’re fine and you actually haven’t missed anything. There’s the main plaza with the New Kerk, the new church, which is still like 1400’s. Which is where the House of Orange now holds its burials because, I don’t recall the year, but at the time there was a war with Spain and the burial grounds of the House of Orange Nassau were in Spanish hands so they couldn’t bury their dead over there so they

Chris: This would have been, I believe, the War of Spanish Succession.

Daniel: Yeah, thank you. What else? There’s the Old Kerk, the old church which is a few streets away and is very interesting because the tower of the church is actually leaning. If you look at it from one of the canals, you sort of look and say that tower is going to fall. It’s not. But they have to be very careful. It has a gigantic bell inside. It’s a nine-ton bell that it can only ring on very special occasions because the vibrations of it could actually topple the tower down. So normally, you just hear upon the hour, a little hammered ding, and that’s it because anything stronger than that on a regular basis and you know, there goes the church literally. There’s the delftware, the Royal Delftware factory. We actually didn’t get to go to it but it is just a couple of minutes south of town and you can actually get there either walking or just taking one of the little, there’s a canal boat that takes you down to the factory. But when you’re in the center, in the main plaza, you certainly can find a lot of stores selling delftware pottery and if you’re going to be there, as I said on my show, something that I didn’t do. One of the best souvenirs that you can buy because it is something that you can only find over there is a tulip bulb holder and they’re very funny because they’re flower pots that look like hearts because they have four or five little holes for to put the tulips in and they kind of look like ventricles which is kind of weird. We were wondering why the people have delftware pottery of a heart until we saw one with actual tulips inside and then we felt like an idiot. I think that’s pretty much it. Again, you can literally just walk around town and just get a feel for the town. There’s little houses where it says Vermeer lived here or Vermeer had his inn over here and things like that. There are plagues all around town to tell you little factual details. Again, it’s one of these places where you can go see the churches, see the delftware pottery and then just walk around and take it all in because walking around town is what really makes a visit to these little towns.

Chris: So one question for you. You said that before you went you did all your homework and as you went to the various places, all those various cities, what did you think the guidebooks recommended that you didn’t think was really worth the time? Things that they overhyped.

Daniel: You know to be honest, even though we actually got to spend a few days on each of our locations, we were sort of on a schedule because we had four different locations in 10 days, which is still a pretty speedy trip so we focused on the bigger attractions so to speak. The places that we did visit, the guidebooks were spot on. Any place that the guidebook kind of vacillated on, we decided to skip it or we just kind of walked by it and that was it.

There were a couple of surprises. One of the things that we actually were surprised that the book said was going to be cool and we actually found that it to be really, really cool was we took a day trip out of Amsterdam and we took a train up to this little town of Hoorn, it is about 15 minutes north of Amsterdam. And there were boarded a steam train and that took us for about half hour or 45 minutes up through the Dutch countryside and up into the town of Medemblik in the north and it was really amazing. We were there in late June so we were certainly after the flowers had been picked from the fields but there were a few patches here and there that told us that if we had been there in you know late March, April or even early May while the flowers are in full bloom, this would have been an overwhelming experience. You get to see this explosion of colors, flowers really love the Dutch soil. It is just amazing. And just going to the countryside and seeing people just on their bikes waving you goodbye and in a steam train it was even cooler.

We got to the town of Medemblik and we got to one of the dykes so we got to see one of the actual modern dykes of the Netherlands. We got to see some of the modern windmills up in business. We actually got to walk very near to an old windmill that is still in the town. From there we took a boat that took us in the IJsselmeer, which is one of the inner seas of the Netherlands, and it was another hour or so south and that dropped us in the town of Enkhuizen. Where they have a living history museum and this is the place that basically recreates the Netherlands, as it was in the late 1800’s early 1900’s. The houses and buildings have been moved from other locations in the Netherlands to this museum park so they could be preserved and they have them set up as they would have been in the little villages. You can actually walk inside most of them and see the paraphernalia of daily life for the Dutch people of the late 19th century including there was actually a very interesting surprise for us. There was a house that belonged to a combination Jewish Ritual Slaughter and kind of like hometown Rabbi for a town you know outside of the main city that actually spoke a lot about the prevalence of the Jewish population of the Netherlands throughout the whole country before WWII and before it was pretty much exterminated in the country itself. That was quite interesting for us. We also saw one of the windmills that they have there, which is small but is very cute which always counts with windmills. We got to eat smoked herring, which is kind of weird, but they love it. It is a very interesting place because you actually get to see buildings in their natural setting. I mean they’ve been moved around but they’ve been reassembled, as they would have been in their little towns all over the Netherlands. It was a very nice surprise. It was actually one of the places that the book said, “Yeah it’s nice but you might just want to skip it and get back to Amsterdam” and we said well we paid for it so we might as well enjoy it. And we were certainly very glad that we got in there and we walked around and got to see this bit of history on site. And then we got back to Amsterdam. So that was actually a very nice surprise for us.

Chris: Interesting. Do you have any more information for people who would be looking for the same kind of self-guided tour? Where did you find that through?

Daniel: We got our package tour. Do you mind if I actually say the name of the company?

Chris: No, not at all.

Daniel: It was Gate1travel. We found it in some papers that we got in the mail or something like that. It was in a magazine or something like that and that is how we got to do it. It is actually the first time that we have taken any kind of tour, prepackaged or anything. We actually always put together our trips ourselves. We have all the books. We have the videos and the DVD’s and we certainly know how to use Google on the Internet so we just put together itineraries ourselves. This actually like I said was the first time that we took any kind of deal like that and we took it because it was actually a very good package for the price.

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Chris: Yeah. I’ve seen their deals and they do have some pretty good deals. I’ll include that link in the show notes obviously.

Daniel: Other than that we actually like I said just put it together ourselves. Use Google and as a starting point and then from there we just start searching around everything that we can gathering all the information that we can. Like I said, we’re nerds so we just have all these books and research it.

Chris: As we wrap this up, any other recommendations for someone who is going to follow in your footsteps to the Benelux region. To Netherlands and Belgium?

Daniel: If I really have to give a tip for that, if you are going to be in the area try to make it to Belgium. I think Belgium doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. In the greater European landscape. It is a very interesting country and we actually only stayed in the north in the Dutch side. We actually never went to the south with Wallonia, which would have been the French side. That is a completely different area over there. Go to Brussels; go to Brugge, even to Antwerp or Ghent. These are all very nice cities to visit. You can actually do them as a day trip if anything and so you can just wet your feet without having to commit and if you are going to the Netherlands, get out of Amsterdam. I mean Amsterdam, it is a fantastic city to visit but the countryside is beautiful. It’s very accessible. The trains take you anywhere that you want to go. There’s buses and trams and things like that. Go out and see what the Dutch countryside is because most of the Netherlands it’s really not Amsterdam and by that I mean that Amsterdam is its own little microcosm with people who are like Amsterdammers and they’re Dutch but they are more like city folk. Most of the Netherlands has more of a rustic town feel to it and to not get that experience as well even by going to places like Delft which is sort of like a town but it‘s nestled in the middle of the countryside so it has that sensibility. If you don’t get that other side of the experience, you will be missing on something.

Chris: Well, thanks very much. It’s nice to hear a trip that includes Belgium, that isn’t one of those classics “If this is Tuesday, this must be Belgium.”

Daniel: You know I have never seen that movie. I cannot find it.

Chris: I’m sure it’s on NetFlix someplace.

Daniel: No actually it’s not on DVD. It’s really funny.

Chris: And then the other thing that I was glad to hear you talk about was that you actually got out on bikes because again these are the low lands and so for those of us who don’t like hills, this is a great place to bike.

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Daniel: Absolutely. We only did it in Brugge because of time constraints but if it were really up to us, we’d do it everywhere. Over there, if you’re not biking, you are going too slow.

Chris: Well, thanks so much for being on the show Daniel.

Daniel: No, thank you for having me.

Chris: Again, I don’t have any Internet access at the time that I am recording this and therefore no interest resources for this particular show. But I did have some letters from the community that I wanted to share. I got one from Amanda from Plymouth, Indiana who says, “Here’s a weird one for you. In episode 74 Word Nerds Hit Denmark or something like that. The Word Nerd guy you interviewed used a neat word you would explain later. The word meant a tell in a conversation that somehow shows your origin like an Eastcoastener saying “soda”. I think that was the definition and I needed a word that means that twice recently. Sadly I’m on dial up and downloading that whole podcast would take close to 4 hours. Do you remember the word? My husband is forcing me to watch Die Hard movies again and in Die Hard III he gets in an elevator with the bad guys who slip and call it a lift. That’s exactly what your nerd, I think, meant.”

And the word that Amanda was searching for is shibboleth. I will put a link in the show notes to the word shibboleth. It is a word that actually comes from the Old Testament from a story where they were using the pronunciation of a particular word to tell what tribe someone was from. I think it was the tribe of Dan if I remember correctly, but I don’t have access to that right now. Again, I’ll put a link to that in the show notes. So in our family, for instance, if you say. pronounce the round orange fruit and you get the answer “orange” you know that somebody might be from New York.

I also got an email from Ed and Ed said “Hi. One of the nice things from our era is that podcast technology is widespread enough to be usable yet new enough so that podcast creators are more accessible than the stars of other media. That’s great because I bet you actually read this note of thanks and appreciation.”

And I do in fact read all the emails I get and I think I always respond also.

“I love listening to the Amateur Traveler because even when I am doing yard work at home, I can vicariously enjoy a crazy, grueling, yet rewarding trip to Southern Spain or learn about the best places to go to get the authentic Greek experience. Most of the podcasts I listen to are in a foreign language so that I can hear a good show and also sharpen my French or learn some Spanish. But a few English podcasts are too good to pass up. I enjoy the Amateur Traveler largely because you do and your enthusiasm is contagious. Thanks very much for the excellent podcast. May you have wonderful travels in the future and may you tell us all about it.”

Thanks to Cindy the Amateur Traveler intern for transcribing this episode

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

3 Responses to “Travel to The Netherlands and Belgium – Episode 98”

Daniel M. Perez (The Gamer Traveler Podcast)


Chris, I just heard the episode; thanks for making me sound a lot more sure of my information than when we recorded and I had tons of Ums and Ahs. 🙂
Enjoy your vacation. I look forward to your shows once you get back.

Kauai Wahine


ENJOYED YOUR INTERVIEW OF DANIEL PEREZ and his trip to Belgium and the Netherlands. We plan on visiting next spring and found it as well as the show notes very helpful



Hello chris,
from Delft, the netherlands. I’m a long time listener and a longer time traveler ( who isn’t?). Just got back from Paris and on my way to Barcelona.
I haven’t got time to listen to the show yet but i’m sure it is great as allways. However there is a small but… my home is in delft and looking through the chapters i saw the word old and new Kirk. That’s allmost correct it should be: Kerk. No big deal but i thought you wanne know. You’ re allways busy with the language, i really like that.

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