A Weekend At Rotterdam is a long overdue post. Somehow, I procrastinated to write this blog post. Finally, I settled down and stayed focused to write.
One of my weekend in Lille, I decided to visit The Netherlands, with initial plan of spending time at Amsterdam. But due to the amount of time having to spend on the train, approximately 4hours, I settled for the weekend at Rotterdam instead.
A Weekend At Rotterdam
For this trip, I have my cousin to join me. I was happy since most of my trips were travelling solo.
Departing from Lille-Europe at 9.30am on a Saturday, the journey took about 3 hours with one change at Brussels-Midi station in Brussels, Belgium. Arriving at 12.54pm at Rotterdam Central station.
First impression was positive. When we stepped out of the train station and saw the modern architecture and how spacious, well-kept and clean the city was, we were in awe.
Though it was lunch time, all we wanted was, first, to navigate our way to the hotel, Hotel van Walsum Rotterdam, to leave our luggage. We took a 15 minutes walk instead of the under 5 minute tram ride since walking is always the best way to explore a city.
Time to satisfy our rumbling stomach. Destination for lunch was Markthal. Abeit hunger pang, we took a stroll. On our way, the sight we saw was worthwhile.
Well thought urban planning with separate pedestrian and bicycle track.
Clean walkway and I thought to myself, it seems to be cleaner than my home, Singapore. Perhaps, it was winter so there wasn’t even a single leaf on the ground. However, when I scrutinise closely, I notice, not even a cigarette stub was on the floor.
When we arrived at Markthal, astounded by the sheer size. Shaped in an arch with housing and under this arch is the indoor market. Beneath this structure was even more amazing with a supermarket in the basement and up to 4 levels of underground carpark.
Entered into this clean, modern market consisting of independent vendor with over 100 stalls offering different items; fresh produce, confectionery and even restaurants & cafe.
Lost for choice. Finally settled for Obba’s Foodbar specialised in Middle-Eastern food.
More exploration of the city. In front of Markthal, where to the East is the famous Rotterdam Cube House, was a weekend market.
Rotterdam Cube House located right next to the Blaak Metro station was designed by architect Piet Blom. Book via booking.com for an opportunity to experience living in a cube with slanting walls. Otherwise, posing for a insta-worth shot is a must.
Northwest of Markthal is the grand Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk, a protestant church.
We moved south, passed by Maritime Museum.
Next, the Old Harbour, before arriving at the Erasmusbrug. Crossed it and arrived at Wilhelminaplein.
I was very keen to visit Kinderdijk, a UNESCO site 15 km east of Rotterdam, with the large concentration of 18th century windmills. But due to a storm days before our arrival and bad weather continued, waterbus were suspended.
Some information for those who plan to visit Kinderdijk. Waterbus 202 operates from May till September. Departures from 10:40 am, latest return at 4:08 pm. In winter, travel to Kinderdijk with waterbus service 20 (direction Dordrecht) and change in Ridderkerk (De Schans) onto the triangle ferry (direction Krimpen a/d Lek) and disembark in Kinderdijk.
Wandered around and we arrived at Hotel New York, the former head office of the Holland America line.
By now, we were tired. Moreover, time for dinner. Finding a restaurant for dinner on a weekend at Rotterdam at the last minute was an arduous task. Attempted a handful but were futile. The lesson learned was to make reservation especially for dinner on weekends wherever in Europe.
Finally we settled at Nieuwe Binnenweg 19.
Before we end the day, we loitered around the neighbourhood.
Earlier in the day, we tried the Metro system of Rotterdam. There are 5 lines; A, B, C, for East to West while D and E for North to South. Subway E could take passengers all the way north to The Hague.
Various transport products are available, depending on your travelling needs. For tourist, in our opinion, the day pass (€8) suit us most. Since a single pass for 2 hours is already at €4.
Fuelled our Sunday with a superb breakfast at the hotel.
Since it was a Sunday, attending mass is a ritual. Hence, it was natural that we make our way to church. I couldn’t hunt down a catholic church offering English mass therefore I settled for Sint Lambertus Rotterdam for the 10am mass.
Arriving at the church about an hour before mass time, leaving us ample time to explore the serene neighbourhood. As we wander further away from the church, reaching the Nieuwe Maas (a distributary of the Rhine River) we saw residents jogging, walking dogs and of course the view of the opposite bank. Instead of the usual cement Tropical foreset with Skyscraper competing in height, like the view in Shanghai (across Huangpu River), Hong Kong (at Victoria Habour), we saw almost homogeneous building with a few odd-one-out. It was funny that even the trees were taller than the building.
Our next stop was SS Rotterdam, built in 1959, was the fifth ship by the name Rotterdam to sail for the Holland-America Line. This very steamship was decommissioned in 2000 and it has been part of the WestCords Hotel since 2013. Now, it has a mission of telling the story of yesteryear and as a hotel.
SS Rotterdam offers 3 tours, we opted the Sea Breeze Deluxe Tour with visit to the bow, the bridge, the pilothouse and even the chart room, radio room and the captain’s cabin. This tour is available daily from 10am to 5pm; with last admission at 4pm since you need approximately an hour to complete the tour. Priced at €12.95 for adult and €8 for children aged 4 to 12 years.
Time for lunch, in fact, late for lunch, we headed to Fenix Food Factory. I have written a blog post about our lunch experience at Fenix Food Factory, click to read more.
I always love the idea of experiencing the local, therefore travelling on the public transport is a must. After experiencing the Metro, we plan for a bus journey after alighting at Metro station, Rijnhaven, to SS Rotterdam to Fenix Food Factory, since this part of Rotterdam is covered solely by Bus 77 or foot.
Before heading back to the hotel to collect our luggage, our plan was to visit Euromast. The best way was via waterbus 18, however we can’t locate this particular waterbus stop. Nevertheless, we took our time to admire the serene and the blooming flowers.
Made our way to Euromast via alternative transport method, however, we didn’t have time to ascend this structure but appreciated the architecture from afar.
That’s call the end of our Weekend at Rotterdam.
A Weekend at Rotterdam was not enough though wonderful time spent visit this vast city with well-thought urban planning.
A major port city in the Dutch province of South Holland
How to get there?
Train is the best and most convenient transport method since Rotterdam is well connected with Rotterdam Centraal as the main train station.
Nearest airport is The Hague Airport, alternatively, Amsterdam
When to go?
Second half of March since March is the low season and good weather. Otherwise, April to October are great though summer will be peak with lots of tourists.
Avoid the period from Christmas to New Year Eve as hotel will be expensive.
Link to check out before you go:
https://en.rotterdam.info/ – Rotterdam Tourist Information
https://www.public-transport-holland.com/destinations/openbaar-vervoer-rotterdam/ – Rotterdam Public Transport
https://www.cityguiderotterdam.com/travel/getting-there/waterbus/ – Waterbus Guide
https://www.trainline.eu/ – Land Transport to Rotterdam by Train or Bus
https://www.cityguiderotterdam.com/day-tours/kinderdijk-windmills-netherlands/ – Kinderdijk Windmills
https://ssrotterdam.com/ – SS Rotterdam