When it wasdecided that Amsterdam would not be my only destination, the first place I thought of was Rotterdam. What I knew about it? Well, let’s see…it dramatically differs from all other Dutch cities and it has a cool bridge. Not too much, right? But then I’ve Googled a bit and discovered that Rotterdam is like La Defense in Paris – extremely modern and full of skyscrapers, metal and glass and for that reason a lot of people don’t like it at all and I wasn’t among them.
So that was it: next morning I woke up in one skyscraper, grabbed coffee at Starbucks and took a train to the city full of other big and massive buildings.
Well let’s be honest, it is not all about them. This city offers a variety of interesting places and things to do and here are some tips for you:
- Enjoy the unusual architecture:
It is obvious that the first building you will see will be the Railway Station and even there you will understand, that Dutch people probably have great imagination and designer skills, as each building looks unique and unusual.
If you start walking in the direction of downtown and Stadhuis (City hall - in more understandable language; by the way, every city is proud of their city halls and in each city they are so different) you will see the police station. And even if you don’t, please, walk around and find it. And I am not crazy!!! Just look at it and understand that nothing bad can happen to the country where the police station is turquoise and made of pixels. Isn’t it sweet?
And these buildings called Kijs-Kubus are definitely worth attention. For the last years they’ve become “must see” of Rotterdam. In fact, you can even go inside one of the cube – whether via museum or via renting a couch in hostel (if you did – please go on and tell me the details). They say, that some welcoming Dutchmen can kindly invite you in if they fill like you’re so extremely interested. Well, why not give it a try, right?
To be honest, you don’t need to search for something unusual – it is just on every step, so enjoy.
- Become amazed by variety of sea inhabitants on the fish market:
I am not a huge fish lover and kind of not a fan of the fish smell, but as it is Holland, which is so famous for its seafood, why not to watch how it had looked like before appearing on your table? On the weekends a huge fish market opens along the Mariniersweg and trust me you will be shocked by all the variety it proposes.
And don’t worry after all that nasty smell you will enter the cookies-biscuits corner and start enjoying the air again.
- Feel the distance:
Bridges are another attraction in Rotterdam. There are two of them and both are extremely cool; oh no, sorry, one is extremely red and another one is extremely modern. One will lead you to the harbor and another to the business area of the city. When one doesn’t have Wi-Fi - another one does.
One is called Willemsbrug and another Erasmusbrug. Both are always shown on all the post cards and maps and I think they deserve it.
I’ve even had a chance to see how Erasmusbrug was cut into two parts in order a huge ship could sail further. You won’t need to wait too long, as this happens every 2-3 hours, so be patient.
- Feel small surrounded by the skyscrapers:
So after you explored enough of the Erasmusbrug, use it to go to another bank of the city to admire all those massive, huge and very high business centers, hotels and museums. Some of them have great terraces on the roof where you can have a glass of wine and enjoy the view. But just hope that it is not windy and at least anything is opened. In my case everything was closed.
After you got off the bridge turn right and go till the end of the street. There you will see the Hotel New York, which makes such a great contrast to all those enormous glass and metal stones. Note, this Hotel has a great restaurant inside and just keep in mind that you will need to walk a lot backwards, so this place can be a great spot to have rest. Trust me! I wish someone had advised me the same J
- Make million of ships' photos:
I am joking – no need to do that, you will definitely delete half of them. Anyway, boats and ships are everywhere in Rotterdam: boats-houses; boats-restaurants; old military ships; modern cargo ships and fancy yachts – just pick which you like the most.
If you are a boat fan, you can go on excursion to main harbor or insensibly sneak to some ships exhibition in the downtown. And promise – no more then 5 pictures J
- Get lost in the park:
Het Park is really huge and very cozy, I would say. Sun is trying to reach you through the trees, ducks are running back and forwards, children are playing, couples are having picnics – just a great place to relax a bit from the noisy downtown. On the weekends different festivals take place there, so you will be able to have even a greater time and meet new people. Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it?!
- Fly round in the sky:
One exit of the Het Park leads to the Euromast – the well-known attraction of Rotterdam, where you can go up in sky, have a meal and enjoy 360 degrees view of the city. Can be also a great experience. I was too exhausted and not hungry at all by the time I reached it, so left this place for another my visit to Rotterdam. But you should give it a try and tell me how was that!
I ended my day walking around shopping mall that is partially inside and partially outside on the street (looks pretty cool by the way), was amazed by the city lanterns that spin around and go up and down all the time. Full of positive emotions I reached the railway station. Great city! Worth visiting! I even think I would gladly live hear for a couple of years and will you?
Bonus tip: When you just arrive to Rotterdam take a paper map at the Railway station. Sure, we are all cool and have phones, tablets with Google Maps, iGo etc. but it is so cool to have a colorful map in hands with lots of pictures and small advises. And it can be used also as a cover to sit on or as umbrella when it starts to rain J In fact, in Rotterdam I have decided that starting then I would collect the maps from each city I visit. What do you think?<3