Monday, March 3, 2008


We went down to Rotterdam yesterday, something I'd been looking forward to for yonks. At dinner on Saturday night, we got talking to the couple next to us, who when we told we were going to Rotterdam the next day, mock-fainted and rolled their eyes. "Rotterdam and Amsterdam have the same rivalry like Melbourne and Sydney". Uh ha.

I'd read about Rotterdam last year when it was the City of Architecture for 2007, and it looked fascinating. Just under an hour on the train from Haarlem, via The Hague, as soon as we got off the train there was interesting architecture hitting us in the face. Modern office towers sleek with charcoal mirrored surfaces, round lines, colours, it has a very different feel to it than Amsterdam. As we walked down to the port, we realised it felt like Barcelona, and how Barcelona feels more international, while Madrid is pure Spain. It is the same here, Amsterdam is absolutely Holland, with the old, slopping buildings on the canals, the bikes, the autumnal colours. Rotterdam is a mix of old, especially around the port with the ships and the ornate buildings, and new, having been bombed in 1940. We walked across the Erasmus Bridge, with it's pale blue cables melting in with the pale blue sky, an impressive sight.

We felt like tourists, and it was a delight. We went to a frites stand to grab something to eat, and noticing braadworst and knakworst, decided we should definitely have a hotdog. See, we used to think that being next to Germany, The Netherlands would be a haven of grilled sausages on the street, enticing the snack-loving Dutch to warm their hands and tummies with blistering worst of all kinds. Nee. You can munch on krokets and frites and Vietnamese spring rolls and haring but if you want sausage, you better fish it out of the bottom of your bowl of pea soup. So when we saw real hotdogs, and not like the frankfurt hotdogs you can find in Amsterdam, we jumped on it. "Braadworst? Don't you want something Dutch!" asked our man. Yes, of course we do. He started selling us krokets, which we know well. We have eaten all kinds of krokets, from Febo krokets to the ones supplied to the Queen, and to be honest, our stomachs could do without any more. So we kindly declined and pushed for the braadworst, even though he was filled with nationalist pride over the kroket. We went back to get some sauce, tomato please. "No!" Oh, ok. And proceeded to dip a frite into all the sauces and taught us about the different kinds, including 'war sauce', which is pinda sauce, or peanut satay sauce, with mayonnaise, because "it's not pretty". Brilliant!

We walked through the shopping streets, then down to the port, munching on fried dumplings from the Vietnamese stand, warmed up with a coffee (yes I was not dressed appropriately, sometimes I forget where I am), took lots of photos, rode the tram on the way back and saw more beautiful buildings, and caught the train home. Very content.

Have a look at my Rotterdam flickr photoset for more photos.


Cookie said...

fascinating to see how gorgeous Rotterdam looks in your pictures. But I prefer Den Haag or Amsterdam ANY time!! ;-)

Deep Kick Girl said...

Thank you for that lovely visit to Rotterdam and the beautiful photos. I really felt like I was there with you. (Wish I was!)

Karen said...

That picture of the lift bridge looks exactly like where I live - I actually had to look twice to realize it wasn't Portsmouth (New Hampshire, US)!!

Miss Ione said...

Yes, get on yer bike! Great idea to have the last few weeks travelling around. I am sure that each city has its own gastronomic delights as well.
Best wishes to Dani!

Brigitte said...

Being a Dutch girl it was such a delight reading your post on Rotterdam! I haven't been there in a while and seeing the pictures really cool.

Thanks a lot!

Mathilde said...

Funny how you describe Amsterdam as being really Dutch and Rotterdam as being international. I agree that the cities are completely different (and am starting to discover R'dam myself and liking it!) but Amsterdam is so not Dutch to me despite all the pretty houses and canals!