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I'm planning my first solo trip in Europe at the end of September. I'll be visiting Bruges with my parents and then going with them to Cologne for one of their friend's birthday parties. I've then got 4 days to myself before flying out of Amsterdam, so I'm trying to think of some cool places to visit while I've got the time: any cool museums, castles, and battlefields from people's experiences? I'm a burger so I want to get some real history, not just 15 guys getting scalped by Indians like my town is famous for. My main pursuit is that I want to visit Boulogne-sur-Mer for a day because I've spent a lot of time playing as that dynasty in Crusader Kings and want to visit that castle, but I'm otherwise free. My current plan is looking like:
>Day 1: Cologne to Lille, spend the day in town, visit the Citadel, get a feel for solo travel & staying in a hostel
>Day 2: Day trip to Boulogne for the ramparts, chateau, basilica, and the column of the grand army, and back to Lille
>Day 3: Visit Ypres and the Flanders Fields museum/do a battlefield tour, then either head up to Ghent or return to Lille
>Day 4: A day & night in Ghent or a night in Amsterdam so I don't need to worry about an early morning train
>Day 5: catch noon return flight in Amsterdam
Any suggestions along the way or different places I should visit? i do like Belgian beers if there's a city with a particularly great Trappist monasteries or great views of the landscape, but i'm otherwise just a silent tourist who doesn't want to be that obnoxious American that everyone hates
>no problems with budget but i'm not going to splurge
>really into history, castles, and battlefields, i did a D-Day tour in my youth. Not a big fan of art museums
>have elementary german and no french or dutch experience
>first time doing solo travel outside of the US, so i'm not familiar with setting up for hostels, trains, and luggage storage without my car as a backup
Ah yes Flanders. The German playground
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Belgian here, Ghent is worth a visit and has all the beerst you'll ever want. Not worth the effort to go to an abbey just for the beers. The center of Ghent is nice, korenmarkt. Bruges is the best imo though, but you're already going there, do a walk on the "Vesten" if you have some time, it's a nice way around the city.
It is the poorest region in France
Ghent and Bruges are the highlights of that area. Ghent less well known. You’ve already got a couple of days for your autistic special interests so you’ll have a good time. Rail in that part of the world is reliable, don’t go to Amsterdam early for fear of delays.

Trappist breweries aren’t worth visiting. You can buy most of the beers anywhere. Active grey market for Westvleteren if you need to tick that box.

If you are staying in hostels talk to people and join them for dinner and beers.

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