We’re back in action!
Not that the blog was ever out of action per se, but we haven’t been up to too much since Egypt. This past weekend, though, was a 4 day weekend here in The Netherlands. Last year during this time we went to London to visit my aunt and uncle. This year, it happened to fall over our – hold on to your hats – 3 YEAR Netherlands-versary – so we decided to explore our country of residence a little more.
Rotterdam was our city of choice. We hear so much about it, and about how different it is from other cities in The Netherlands. In fact, I think your typical Dutchie would probably not rank Rotterdam as one of their top cities; too modern for their taste. This sentiment is perhaps exactly why we loved it!
We got a really good deal through NS, the train company. €100 bought us two round trip train tickets and a one night stay in an NH hotel (which is a pretty nice chain) in city center with breakfast included. Considering Groningen = the Winterfell of Holland and for us to get anywhere near Kings Landing, even with our train discounts, is ~€30 round trip per person this was a great deal!
First stop, the Markthal (Market Hall).
The building is pretty impressive from the outside, right? Well it’s even more impressive from the inside!
The Markthal is exactly as it sounds- a giant indoor market with bars, restaurants, shops, basically anything you might want.
The Markthal is essentially next to another iconic piece of Rotterdam architecture, the Cube Houses.
They look cool, but seem pretty impractical, right? One is staged as a museum so we were able to go inside. They actually have more living space in terms of square meters than our current apartment, and the layout was surprisingly nice, and the top floor is a great sunroom! There are a few on AirBnB, if you ever find yourself in Rotterdam and want a unique housing experience.
After the cube houses, in true Shwit style, we walked. 21.22km (a half marathon) to be exact. A 30 min walk to a place called the Fenix Food Factory turned into an over 2.5h adventure due to our unfortunate luck with closed or broken bridges. We did see a lot of nice things along the way though.
See this lovely bridge? It’s called the Erasmus Bridge. It’s a well-known Rotterdam landmark and, due to construction, was our only way by foot to the Fenix Food Factory.
Great view right?
Only one problem…
We happened to be on a little island in the middle of the river with only one way on and one way off on either side. Neither of those were anywhere close to the entrance of the bridge.
So, off we walk.
We were almost there!… and then this.
We literally needed to walk over this bridge to get to the entrance of the Erasmus. Instead, we ended up taking a 20 minute looping detour to make it to the exact same spot on the other side of the canal. By the time we actually made it on the Erasmus we had been walking for about 2 hours and Shane was on a mission.
This was the best I could do for a bridge pic.
Eh. Oh well. Cause we made it!
Another indoor/outdoor market type of place more focused on craft beers/ciders & local food. It was right on the water, the weather was perfect, and the atmosphere was great making it worth the walk!
The next morning we made a quick stop by Museum Rotterdam, which gave us a short overview of the history of the city. In 1940, Rotterdam was bombed as part of the German invasion during WWII. The ‘Rotterdam Blitz’ lasted only 15 minuted, but fire in the aftermath burned most of the old town. This event is what set Rotterdam on such a different architectural path than the rest of The Netherlands.
It was a quick trip, but a nice preview of what Rotterdam has to offer! Rotterdam, to us, was somewhere we could really see ourselves long term. It was a nice blend of old and new, and really has that ‘city feel’, which we really enjoy.
Until next time, Rotterdam!