It was a sunny morning. Yours truly travelled from Leuven in Belgium to Rotterdam in The Netherlands by an express train. Reached Rotterdam by 9 am and then headed straight to the tourist info centre close to the station. As usual, bought a city map and I was looking forward to the expedition in the second-largest city of The Netherlands.
Rotterdam is an international commercial hub thanks to its strategic location by the North Sea; it is also the second largest port in the world. Rotterdam has many (maritime) stories to narrate. It was destroyed in World War II. But the city’s spirit of survival and revival has made it one of the sought-after habitable places in Europe.
Well, it was no surprise to see a busy city mostly abound with students, as it is home to popular portals of higher learning such as the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Classy buildings made the skyline – no wonder the city is famed for its modern architecture. I walked passed many historic buildings such as the Stadhuis (the city hall), the Witte Huis (White House), Euromast (an observatory tower), Beurs – World Trade Centre, the Erasmus Bridge, etc.
The Erasmus Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge that connects the northern and southern parts of the city. It looked damn cool. It apparently made it to Jackie Chan’s movie, Who am I?
The Gebouw Delftse Poort (Delft Gate Building), close to the central station, is one of the tallest twin tower complexes in the entire country.
I came across a peculiar structure in the city called Cascade and I was told it was built to represent a growing consumerist culture where natural resources are slowly depleting. I got an opportunity to visit Het Haven Museum (The Harbour Museum) where miniature historic ships from ancient times were kept and stories of such ships were made available through printed materials as well as multimedia devices neatly housed within the museum.
There was also a unique exhibition of those original ships lined up on the dock, of course with a neat description of each of them. (Quite strangely, this particular open-air museum hasn’t made it to many of the must-visit-places’ lists of Rotterdam; also there is no entry fee!) I met a couple of senior citizens who happened to be siblings. They told me that their father used to work for the shipping industry there. They felt nostalgic as they pointed to the ship named Helena in which their father used to sail.
Close to the Harbour Museum, a Walk of Fame was seen where celebrities had left their handprints behind. It was 1:30 pm and the weather was at its unpredictable best mood. Before the onset of a second cloud-burst, I wanted to head to my next destination, which was a restaurant. But, btw, I’d chanced upon a handprint of Bryan Adams.
I traversed the plush-looking shopping areas of Rotterdam: Lijnbaan and Hoogstraat. These did have all the popular brands of Europe. I could manage only a quick window-shopping due to paucity of time. I next took a metro to a local university where I had to meet a friend, P. She took me around and then we had dinner at an Indian restaurant together with her mother. It was a nice evening.
It was time to head back to my abode, which was a cuboid. Yes, a cube-shaped room took care of me that day. Well, I’m referring to the famed Cube House of Rotterdam!
Interesting indeed, isn’t it? 🙂