The NS train takes you from The Hague to Rotterdam in less than thirty minutes! Instead of always buying a single ticket, I now bought a “chip card”. If I kept buying paper tickets I had to pay one extra euro for every single ticket … and after a while that really starts adding up!
This plastic card is also making traveling much more comfortable. You never have to stress, trying to make the annoying touch screen do as you want and print out your ticket as fast as possible.
Anyway… I’ve arrived in -it still makes me laugh- Rotjeknor! (In Dutch this sounds like “Rotting + Oink -the sound a pig makes-) From the magnificent central station it was about a fifteen minute walk to my hostel. The King Kong Hostel. In the reception there hung a little placard saying that they had won the “Hoscar” for best hostel in the Netherlands.
I must admit that the lobby already looked very promising!
Since it was not yet time to check in, I deposited my backpack in the luggage room and went out to explore Rotterdam.
I had already noticed that the central station of Rotterdam received a HUGE makeover. Barely five years ago, I took the train back home pretty much every week and I always made a quick stop in Rotterdam. I now didn’t recognize anything anymore from the station!
The town itself had changed a lot as well. And of course, in the positive sense!
Rotterdam was completely destroyed because of the non-stop bombing of it during WWII. Not surprising, of course. They were, after all, the biggest port of the world!
Because of all those bombings, not much remained of the charming Dutch houses and shops… However, As a result, the Dutch metropolis did get an incentive to build a more modern city with a lot of business opportunities. Sometimes Rotterdam is even called the Manhattan of the Netherlands because of all these modern high-rise buildings.
The first sight I went to see was the impressive Erasmus Bridge. This large bridge ( “The Swan”) is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship of up to 802 meters long! The strong wind almost blew me from the bridge, but fortunately I did not start to panic as hard as the little Chinese children who walked in front of me.
They ran to the other side as fast as they could, and almost right before they got there they had to stop moving because the bridge opened to let a boat pass under it.
A gigantic ship sailed under it and showed how gigantic this bridge actually is. The wide streets, including electricity poles, lanterns and tram lines were effortlessly hoisted into the air and came to hang vertically above me.
The Chinese kids were staring at the impressive sight with trembling knees. As if they had never seen something like this before in China. When the bridge closed again, I wasn’t surprised that they were the first to return to the mainland.
Across the Erasmus Bridge there were a lot of huge, very modern buildings. I understand why Rotterdam is compared to Manhattan!
The old harbour of Rotterdam
By using google maps and trip advisor I was looking at what would be my next destination. The old port looked nice, so I decided to walk there for my next visit.
In the harbor you can find many ‘old-timer’ boats. The boats that you’ll find there are very old and need to be restored urgently. In the old harbor you can find a place where these beautiful boats are made to look like new again. When the doors of the place are open, you can just walk in and look around. If you are lucky you will see some people refurbishing the boats. There or not, it’s still a nice sight to see.
Across the dozens of boats which are floating on the water, I saw quite a few curious looking, yellow houses.
Rotterdam obviously can’t be called modern if it wasn’t trying to experiment with new residential structures!
The entire block I was looking at, consisted of cubic houses that were turned on its side.
Impractical to live in, I thought. Fortunately there was a museum in one of the houses where you could take a look (€3) at how people lived in these peculiar houses.
They may try to prove otherwise by opening a house for the general public, but my opinion remains largely unchanged. It may look nice and all, but in my opinion very unpractical… You are, after all, stuck with a lot of corners, both in your walls and in your roofs.
Therefore I think a lot of furniture needs to be made to fit in the room, and that doesn’t seem to be a cheap thing to do.
In a country like the Netherlands, a house like this certainly seems impractical. Especially because a lot of people here are taller than 1.90m (6’2) and women almost equally tall… They’ll probably bump into everything while living in these houses!
For me, you can rotate the cubes forty-five degrees to the left or right. That way I don’t need to twist myself in uncomfortable positions at least!
Market Hall of Rotterdam
Without knowing, I had arrived to the number one attraction of Rotterdam. The market hall in Rotterdam is located near the Rotterdam Blaak Station and a little further you will find some huge shopping streets.
In the large building you’ll find a mix of great eateries and shops. Outside, it might look a little cold and uninviting, but inside it’s a beautiful, colorful building. The delicious smells of sweets change into the scent of delicious Dutch cheese, but also goes on into Turkish and Moroccan delicacies and spices.
The market hall is a kind of melting pot of cultures. To get an even better view, I stepped into a restaurant which was located on the second floor. From there I got the best view possible of the busy market. With a tasty Moroccan dish served, I of course couldn’t be happier!
After briefly walking around the shopping area, and photographing a church -while making an Asian woman incredibly nervous because I took my time to take the pictures, whoops! – I went back to the hostel.
Since it was already a couple of hours later, I was now able to check in and I immediately noticed how amazing this hostel was. Take it from me; If you go to Rotterdam you have to stay at the King Kong Hostel. One of the best hostels I stayed in so far! If not thé best…
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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.