::Rotterdam, Netherlands | July 18th – 21st, twenty.12::
Welcome to Rotterdam! This place is like living in a an architects lego box. There are so many different styles of architecture here it’s crazy… but we’ll get to that at the end of the post.
Stace and I arrived in Rotterdam from Eindhoven via train and then hopped on a tram to get to our hostel: Hostel ROOM Rotterdam. The hostel is a bit of an eccentric place with each dorm room being of a different theme. Overall it wasn’t a bad hostel as the place was clean, the dorm rooms were decent sized and there was a kitchen (which was semi-functional).
Stace and I packed quite a few activites during our stay here in Rotterdam. The city has pretty good public transportation with an overground tram system that can get you to within walking distance of most everything. We took the tram into the ‘city center’ and did some walking around.
If you read the Amsterdam post then you know I am battling a case of ankle adema and am still limping around and slowing the whole troop down… embarrasing. Anyways, since we are a couple of nerds, we decided to hit up the bibliotheek…
This was a pretty cool library but nothing tops the nerdery we went to in Amsterdam! The weather was a bit bi-polar in Rotterdam; sunny one minute, raining the next…
I wonder where we can buy a couple of these lights for home??
One of the greatest things about traveling is that a lot of the people you come in contact with are selfless. There is a natural comradere among travelers and we are always willing to help eachother out. It’s funny, when you arrive in a new city as a traveling backpacker, you wander the streets somewhat aimlessly while trying to get your bearings. Few people take notice though, even with a huge, over-stuffed backpack on.
All too often this scenario is unfolding during stifling heat or in the rain. When you finally get to your destination the first thing you do is drop off your gear. Then, if you haven’t already, you grab a map of the city and a schedule of the public transportation lines. Now you can head back out onto the streets and start exploring!
After a day or two in a new city, you begin to feel right at home; navigating your way through the streets like a local. It isn’t long before you see other backpackers who have just arrived in the city. It’s like deja vu, they are tired, hungry and usually a bit lost. This is where the simple gesture of offering a map and/or some directions can make a huge difference…
Stace and I have been able to asnwer this question with, “just now” pretty much every hour of every day. This is probably the single greatest aspect of traveling. You are exposed to new people, places, things, ideas, ideals and experiences every single day. You become accustom to, and comfortable with, change.
You can tackle any issue, solve any problem and overcome any obstacle because you have no other choice. You are forced out of the comfortable little box of routine you are used to. Yes, as a traveler you still have to adopt a routine but that routine isn’t a carbon copy of the previous days’. It depends on you location, situation and needs. As a traveler, your new daily routine is one of constant change.
Most people would have no idea when the last time was that they did something for the first time. This is because most people are resistant to change. They don’t like it because change screws up the ruts they have dug themselves by following the same routine every day. What they think, how they act, the emotions they express, it’s all on the same tape being played over and over. FACT: studies show that most people’s lives change insignificantly over the course of a 3 year period (this was the timeframe by which the study was conducted).
Let’s say your on your way to work. You’re driving along, driving along and then you hit a red light! Aww shucks, well now your whole day is ruined isn’t it. That red light just gave you the green light to complain and gripe about how nothing ever goes right (or so you’ve just justified it to).
If you find yourself doing this STOP. Here’s an idea: take a different route to work. Why? Because it offers you something different. Who cares if you have to leave earlier because it takes longer. Unless you are honestly happy with, and proud of, the life you’re living then you need to change your daily routine. Do yourself a favor and do something for the first time…
Got off on a little tangent there. I’m sorry I’m not sorry; most people needed to hear it! Aaaannyyyways, back to Rotterdam. I know it is hard to read from the picture below, but it says: Wine is bottled poetry. Wow, that definitely has to be the coolest description of wine I have ever heard!
Rotterdam holds a few different titles in our book of travels. One of them is the title of ‘most interesting man in the world’. Stace and I were cooking in the hostel’s kitchen when a guy in his 40′s or 50′s walked in. He was dressed in a form of biz casual; slacks and a sweater tied around his neck. Surely this guy couldn’t be a traveler, right? Wrong. This guy was a traveler for the ages!
Stace and I got to chatting with him and we definitely weren’t expecting what heard. This guy’s name was Mike and he has pretty much been a traveler his whole life. Mike is a bee keeper in South Africa by trade. This means he works a couple of months a year harvesting honey and then travels for the remaining months. I don’t remember the specifics of how many countries he’s been to but he has traveled the world to say the least.
Mike’s specialty? Hitchhiking. He has kept record of his distances traveled in a given timeframe by sole means of hitchhiking. Again, I forget the exact details of his current record but he has hitchhiked from Africa all the way up to Germany! Stace and I sat there in awe as we listened to Mike share some of his travels. What was he doing in Rotterdam you ask? Well, turns out Mike is not only a bee keeper, but also an inventor.
He invented (and patented) a device that separates oil from water with amazing efficiency and speed. He had pages and pages of documents containing specifications, diagrams, blue prints, etc for his invention. He knew all the details about the worlds worst oil spills: barrels of oil spilled, damage to the ecosystem, cost of clean up, etc. He was certain that his device is far superior to the ones used in the clean up of the BP spill. So, Mike was in Rotterdam trying to set meetings with the personnel in charge of such environmental issues!
Seriously, I couldn’t be making this stuff up. Stace and I left Rotterdam before anything materialized with Mike’s mission… I wonder where he is now…
During our stay in Rotterdam, Stace and I hit up the Netherlands Architecture Institute. This museum was pretty amazing, detailing past, current and future architecture in Rotterdam and the Netherlands. Once inside, we realized that it would literally take all day to go through each exhibit and read all of the information. The place was closing in a couple of hours so we had to make quick work of it.
These pictures were taken through tiny peepholes that housed miniature buildings and cities…
The lighting changed constantly in the exhibit pictured below. It was really cool to walk through the buildings and watch the ambiance change.
Admission to the NAI included complimentary admission to the Sonneveld House (Huis Sonneveld). This was a villa built in 1932 and is located adjacent to the museum. The house is virtually unchanged and exhibits what an ultramodern house was like in the ’30′s; outfitted with the most technologically advanced gadgets available. Before you could walk through the house though, you had to put these sweet covers over your shoes:
Mine are obviously cooler than Stacey’s because they don’t even match!
I think we could both make it as ‘bootie-shoe-cover’ models…
Stace and I also checked out the Euromast. This is a 185 meter high tower that offers amazing views of Rotterdam. Funny story here. Stace and I bought coupon booklets that offered discounts on public transportation, admittance fee’s to museums, and food & drink. The Euromast was in the booklet, offering a discount on adult tickets. We tore the coupon out and headed to the mast. When we got there, the coupon was nowhere to be found.
The guy working the front desk was super cool and looked up discounts in the computer system. He found a discount that was actually better than the one we were going to use. I forget what the discount was but Stace and I definitely weren’t eligible for it. Didn’t matter, the guy applied it our tickets anyways! …See, this is the whole selfless thing I was talking about earlier…
The views from the top were pretty spectacular…
It was a bit windy up there and we were worried about the camera blowing off the ledge but decided to roll the dice any snap a portrait anyways.
The sunset from up there was gorgeous. Too bad we didn’t have everyone from Cafe del Mar up there to celebrate it with us :-)
As we were walking around Rotterdam, we found this really cool locals bar called De Witte Aap, which stands for the White Ape. It was a really busy joint that had a unique ambiance.
Stace and I didn’t want to have to trek all the way back to the hostel to get more cash so we pooled our monies together and bought just the bare essentials:
Adjacent to our hostel was an art gallery dedicated to the Rolling Stones. It was free to walk through so we decided to take a gander. They were pretty adament about not taking pictures but I managed so snap this one without getting us tossed out.
With my ankle still feeling like a ball of bound-up rubber bands, we decided the best way to experience Rotterdam was to take a bike tour that highlighted the architecture of the city! Rotterdam is well known for having modern, state-of-the-art architecture and man is that ever true…
I guess the bee keeper / inventor, Mike, was in the right place after all!
The bridge pictured below has a pretty unique story: it is for sale for 1 euro. Yep, a sinlge euro. The only catch is that you are required to repaint the structure and perform all of its upkeep (in addition to getting your plans for the structure approved and all that jazz). Stace and I wanted to buy it and turn it into either a) a high end restaurant, or b) a private gym/yoga space…
The buildings below have to be some of the most unique we have ever seen. They were a mix of commercial and residential space. Actually, there is a small hostel in one of them but we didn’t know about it until our bike tour brought us through.
One of the other titles that Rotterdam holds in our book of travels is that of: best-sandwhich-on-earth! Stace and I were trying to concoct lunch one day and ended up creating the most amazing sandwhich we have ever tasted. Here’s what we were working with: Raisian and nut bread, thinly sliced turkey, gouda cheese and pesto, all toasted to perfection in a panini grill…. They were ridiculously good and we ended up making them quite often. :-)
So after meeting a bee keeper/inventor, touring some awesome exhibits and eating the greatest sandwhich’s of our lives, it was time pack up shop and continue our journey… Off to the train station!