Subject: Belgium, Nederlands etc.
Hi, Bill:

In the Netherlands, if you do your homework, you can get to just about anywhere you want via a combination of trains and buses. We spent two weeks based in Leiden during tulip season, 2002. We had two one-week railpasses, one second class for local travel, the other first class for longer trips. For local bus and tram transport, we bought the Strippenkaarts (if you are a senior, the price is particularly attractive). As described earlier, you get on the bus or tram, tell the driver where you want to go, and he/she cancels the requisite number of "strips" or lines on your Stripppenkaart. Handy, because two people can travel on one Strippenkaart if they have enough unused strips. Buy one, use it up, buy another.

If you are a senior, you can buy your geezer Strippenkaarts at a Connexxions bus office. While there, gather up a collection of bus schedules which makes trip planning a cinch.

We were there during tulip time. Plan A was to rent bikes and ride through the spectacular Bollenstreek flower fields between Leiden and Haarlem but age and reason prevailed and in Plan B we rented an Opel Corso for the day and drove them instead. $US 39.74 plus fuel from the local AVIS office. Flower fields that extend to the horizon! And at the end of April is the annual Bloemencorso parade with bands and floral floats that the Rose Parade would envy, running along a twenty mile route from Noordvijk on the seacoast all the way to Haarlem.

And mark your calendar for 2012 when the incredible Floriade flower and garden expo makes its every-decade return.

Jerry in E TN USA