We venture today to my friend’s hometown, Rotterdam. Marianne immigrated to Canada many years previous though I’ve been interested in visiting her hometown.
Rotterdam has a sad history. On May 14, 1940 it was bombed, the fires devastated the town and after the war few buildings were standing. It has been recreated with fascinating architecture and interesting ideas. Resilience is strong in Rotterdam.
We take the train though we make this interesting by hopping between the two platforms trying to figure out which one is correct. Two tries later we are off. It is pouring rain today and through raindrops we look out the window at the scenery. The train ride will take one hour from where we are staying. This is nothing for us and we both wonder how great it would be if we could get around easily by train and metro.
The landscape quickly changes to rural and soon we see the familiar Dutch wooden windmills. We marvel at the work it would have taken to build these structures that are still in use today.
We arrive and need to change to station blaak as Marieke has told us. We twirl around march up the stairs so we can see a good view of the station and the lay of the land and figure out where we need to be. We get on the correct train and a few moments later we arrive.
I wonder how far to the cube houses as I walk out and look around. They are here with the market in front of us exactly as Marianne described.
The rain has stopped. We spend time looking at the cube houses and a curious sculpture. We marvel at the outside of the market, it beckons us inside.
The market is a busy, happening place with tons of shops and restaurants. It is curious as it’s inside of a courtyard or rather is the courtyard for a apartment building. The people in the building can look out their window at the hubbub of activity or choose to draw the drapes. It’s interesting, unusual and artistic.
It is difficult to choose a restaurant though we settle on poffertjes and strop waffle to start. The poffertjes are melt in the mouth goodness and calories do not count on holidays we remind ourselves
We walk outside and find retail shopping nearby. We browse though quickly abandon this pursuit as we are not in a buying mood. We instead decide on a ride on the Ferris wheel for another perspective.
We ride and snap pictures of the city. John spies the maritime museum and we decide to go there next. I notice an old church and wonder how it managed to survive the bombing. We are offered another perspective of the cube houses pencil building and bridge. The architecture is unique and beautiful though I can’t help but feel sad for what was lost.
John enjoys the maritime museum with its outside and inside options. The Harbor is protected and we muse that this would have been important for the Nazi’s during the war. How different today when there is a relative peace with water lapping the shore and workers carrying out their daily duties.
I find a bullseye that makes a sport of flicking butts into the receptacle. Only a few stray cigarette butts miss their mark so it appears to be working.
We find the statue representing the destruction of the heart of Rotterdam during WW II and marvel at the resilience that recreated the city from those ashes.
We venture back to the market in search of dinner. We are overwhelmed by choice though settle on a restaurant where we enjoy charcuterie and wine.
We wander a bit more to find coffee and dessert with a perch over the market providing yet another interesting perspective. We relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
It is late as we walk to the train station, only one misstep and soon we are zooming back to Amsterdam. We have learned much during our short visit about Rotterdam, and the resilience of its people.