Darla’s 2025 Adventure Art Abroad

Bruges & Brussels, Belgium

With an optional river cruise through Holland & Belgium

  (The pic on the banner and others below are from the Avalon website)


I have planned a very popular area for us at the peak of viewing season—the tulips of Holland!  I have reserved cabins on the Avalon Waterways cruise Tulip Time Highlights for Garden/Nature, an 8-day cruise from Brussels, Belgium to Amsterdam, Holland!

The 2025 art workshop/retreat begins 15 April in Bruges, Belgium where we stay 4 nights. We plan to see the sights, take in some museums and windmills and taste the famous Belgian chocolates as we begin our art journal. 


Last year I created a book: “Making an Art Journal as Your Travel—with Art Ideas by Darla Bostick.”  It was well received when we were in Italy for my 2023 workshop/retreat. Each art participant gets one!  In Bruges we will begin our art journals and continue as we move to Brussels.



Your workshop includes:

Instruction: 6 days of instruction with a complementary book written by Darla.

Lodging (4 nights in Bruges/1 night Brussels)

The cost for 1 artist & companion with instruction and shared lodging for 2 is $2250 

The cost for 2 artists with instruction and shared lodging is $3050 (or $1525 each)

Transport: You are responsible for your own airfare or any other transportation.I am flying from DFW if you wish to join me and travel along. Most likely we will have to fly into Brusses, Belgium. If so, we all take a train from Brussels to Bruges. For our final day of the workshop on the 19th the train returns us to Brussels and we enjoy the city, spending one night. The Bruges city center is small enough to experience by foot and Brussels has a metro (we have one day in the city center which should be enough). If you do not choose to join us on the river cruise, you could fly home from Brussels (and you may want to spend extra time there….)

Airfare rates are not yet available as we are more than one year in advance of our event. 

Meals and Snacks: not included (however you could pop by a bakery and pick up pastries for breakfast the next day…)

Admission costs: Any costs for museums or a canal cruise, etc will be added on as we progress. Participants will be informed of possibilities and cost.

Just as a footnote, a lot of our spouses like to tag along on my Art Adventures. Bruges is well known for its beer and tours… (just saying).  As another option spouses could skip Bruges and meet us in Brussels on the 19th one day before the cruise. They could join us for the tail-end of our adventure before we board the ship the next day on the 20th.

Here is the plan:

14 April hop on your plane from home

15 April arrive in Belgium  If you arrive in Brussels you take a short train ride north to Bruges (1.5 hours)

15 April arrive in Bruges and check into our rooms

15-19 April we are in Bruges

19 April take a train to Brussels and spend one night—have some time to relax in Brussels plus add on to your travel journal

The workshop ends in Brussels



20 April taxi over to the ship where we can board as early at 10am and around 2pm have access to our rooms

20-27 April cruise through the Senne and Rhine Rivers

27 April—add on time in Amsterdam for the Vincent van Gogh Museum, the Rembrandt Museum, Anne Frank House??? 

Our Avalon Waterways River Cruise is 8 days 20-27 April 2025 on the Rhine and Senne Rivers.

See your visions of tulip season in Holland and Belgium come into view while cruising from Brussels to Amsterdam-perfect for garden and nature enthusiasts. For flower lovers, an expert botanist will provide lectures onboard, sharing his knowledge about botany and the world of plants! Take in the quintessential Dutch scenes of windmills, waterways, and seemingly endless rows of blooming color. Embark in Brussels and sail to Ghent—“The Diamond of Flanders.” Visit St. Bavo’s Cathedral with its stunning Flemish artwork. Sail to Bossuit for moving battlefield remembrances, including In Flanders Fields Museum and the Last Post Ceremony. On to Holland for a visit the former Dutch East India Company trading port. You’ll tour a marvel of flood-protection at the Delta Works in Veere. In Kinderdijk, see 19 windmills built in 1740 for water management and marvel at the Erasmus Bridge in the historic port city of Rotterdam.

Be amazed at the varieties and volume of tulips and other flowering bulbs in the flower farm regions of Zaandam and Haarlem and delight in a visit to see the breathtaking blooming colors of Keukenhof, also known as the “Garden of Europe.” With 70 acres of parkland and lakes, Keukenhof is one of the world’s largest flower gardens with more than 7 million flowering bulbs each year.

This beautiful and historic springtime river cruise concludes with two nights in Amsterdam. Take a guided canal cruise past bridges and homes of a golden age.

Now, here is the important part!! The cruise is optional—totally. You can just do the art workshop/retreat and fly home from Brussels on 20 April.

As a group we get free gratutities as well as $1000 per person discount. This does not include airfare and you can add travel protection separately if you wish. To hold your room, you must contact me and then I contact my liason at Avalon and they will email you a link to make your deposit of $250 per person (non-refundable).

Because we qualify as a group, we have discounted rates!

Here are the cruise rates:

Categories P, A, B have floor to ceiling windows

Panoramic (P) is $4408 per person

Level A is $4358 per person ($50 less than Panoramic each)

Category B is $4258 per person

Category D is on the level of the river—the windows you see in the blue band on the ship photo above for two sharing a room the cost is $5618 together after our discounts!

There are no single room discounts.


Categories P, A, B have floor to ceiling windows (above)

Category D Deluxe stateroom 172 sq. ft. (above)

Our itinerary

Tulip Time Highlights for Garden and Nature Lovers Cruise Code - WXA 50420 T Darla Bostick, Group Leader 800 221 0097 darlabostickart@gmail.com


Day 1, Sunday April 20, 2025 BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (EMBARKATION) Welcome to Belgium.

Your Suite Ship® is Ready for Boarding. Flights into Brussels must arrive by 2:00 pm. Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm. Enjoy dinner on board as you sail for Ghent this evening. EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO GHENT (Dinner)


Day 2, Monday April 21, 2025 GHENT

Medieval Masterpieces and Flemish Finery Visit the Adventure Center for today’s activities with your Adventure Host. ACTIVE Explore a different side of Ghent by bike with your Adventure Host, OR:

CLASSIC Explore Ghent—“The Diamond of Flanders”— with a Guided Sightseeing Tour of this showcase of medieval Flemish wealth. You’ll visit St. Bavo’s Cathedral—with its remarkable Flemish artwork. Alternatively, you may choose to join a full-day Guided Optional Excursion of Bruges to explore its canals, cobbled streets, and medieval buildings. You’ll see its crisscrossed canals, the 13th-century belfry of Market Square, and charming patrician houses. This evening, enjoy live entertainment onboard. OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO BOSSUIT (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)


Day 3, Tuesday April 22, 2025 BOSSUIT Battlefield Remembrances in Flanders DISCOVERY Visit the In Flanders Field Museum in Ypres—named for the soldier’s famed poem. Learn about the story of the invasion of Belgium, the first months of the mobilization, the four years trench war in the Westhoek, the end of the war, and the lasting remembrance to follow. After your visit, enjoy lunch at the museum’s café. DISCOVERY Following the museum, visit battlefields, cemeteries, memorials and private collections. DISCOVERY Experience the Last Post Ceremony, taking place nightly under the arches of the Menin Gate. Enjoy some free time for dinner before the Ceremony starts. OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO MIDDELBURG (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


 Day 4, Wednesday April 23, 2025 MIDDELBURG, HOLLAND

A Spicy History in Middelburg’s Dutch Harbor Town

ACTIVE Explore Middelburg by bike with your Adventure Host, OR:

CLASSIC Join a Guided Walking Tour through the winding cobblestones and canals of Middelburg. See the 15th-century Gothic Town Halland learn about its important role in the spice trade and Dutch East India trading. Enjoy lunch on board while cruising to Veere. ACTIVE Alternatively bike from Middelburg to Veere with your Adventure Host. VEERE History and Scottish Houses ACTIVE Join a hiking experience in the Domburg area on a scenic route through history and landscapes, OR: CLASSIC Explore the town of Veere with an expert local guide. DISCOVERY While sailing satisfy your curiosity about botany and nature during a lecture hosted by a local expert. EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO KINDERDIJK (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)


Day 5, Thursday April 24, 2025 KINDERDIJK–ROTTERDAM

Harnessing the Wind for 300 Years Join your Adventure Host for today’s special activities.

ACTIVE See the windmills of Kinderdijk by bike with your Adventure Host, OR:

CLASSIC Join a Guided Tour of Kinderdijk where 19 windmills were built in 1740 as flood prevention and water management. You’ll hear about the windmill’s vital role in the Netherland’s history and why it became a national symbol of Holland. Enjoy a cruise through Rotterdam harbor.

ACTIVE Experience Rotterdam by bike with your Adventure Host, OR:

DISCOVERY Join a Guided Visit to Floating Farm Rotterdam, the first floating farm in the world and regarded as one of the many examples of green innovation in the Netherlands, OR:

CLASSIC Join a Guided Sightseeing Tour of Rotterdam featuring innovative architecture, including the marvelous Erasmus Bridge. Later, enjoy live entertainment onboard. OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO ZAANDAM (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) Day 6,


Day 6, Friday April 25, 2025 ZAANDAM

Windmills, Waterways, and Waving Fields of Flowers

CLASSIC Join a half-day Guided Tour of breathtaking Keukenhof—known as the “Garden of Europe”—for its 70 acres of lush parkland, lakes, and the world’s largest flower gardens—with more than seven million tulips, daffodils and hyacinths as well as other bulbs, planted each year. Alternatively spend your time to explore independently the quintessential Dutch town of Zaandam. Cruise to Haarlem this afternoon while enjoying lunch on board. HAARLEM Tulips and North Sea Trading Ports

ACTIVE Enjoy an easy bike ride to the beach with your Adventure Host, OR:

CLASSIC Visit Haarlem, a major flower bulbs growing district outside of Amsterdam. Explore the former North Sea trading port with its medieval features, gabled houses, and leafy courtyards.

DISCOVERY While sailing, discover more about botany and nature joining a lecture hosted by a local expert. Enjoy dinner on board your ship this evening as you sail to Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN AMSTERDAM (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 7, Saturday April 26, 2025 AMSTERDAM

Canals of Colorful Amsterdam

ACTIVE Join a Biking Tour through the Dutch countryside past polders, dykes, and quaint centuries-old villages, OR: CLASSIC Explore the iconic waterways of Amsterdam on a Guided Canal Cruise past stately homes of Amsterdam’s “Golden Age", OR:

DISCOVERY Access Amsterdam’s secret gardens hidden behind the brick façades – a unique opportunity as they are normally closed to public. This afternoon, you may like to join Guided Optional Excursion. OVERNIGHT DOCKING IN AMSTERDAM (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)


Day 8, Sunday April 27, 2025 AMSTERDAM (DISEMBARKATION) Your cruise ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)   Important


Note: at 26 May the cruise is fully booked. I can go ahead and get you on a wait list. Once a room opens, a $250 non-refundable deposit per person saves you a place on this beautiful art workshop/retreat/cruise!

You can check it out on the Avalon Waterways website, but you MUST reserve through me so we get our maximum discount!

Payments: now $250 per person for cruise, by 20 Jan 2025 pay balance of cruise

Let me know what you think!

Darla Bostick   940.320.5660

PS One of our artists, Teresa, sent me this link. It pretty much sums up why I love Avalon cruises! Our first cruise was on Mekong River in Cambodia and Vietnam. Others we have done are to Myannmar on the Irrawaddy River, to India on the Ganges and to Hungary/Germany on the Danube. Sept/Oct 2024 (this fall) my group is joining us on the Rhone River for a cruise following out workshop



I do want to clarify that the workshop is 15-20 April 2025.

The cruise is separate 20-27 April 2025