Writing my 2016 roundup, it was so nice to look back on some of my earlier trips, trips I had nearly forgotten had been part of last year. One of said trips was our weekend in Rotterdam.
I was feeling a bit nostalgic and decided to read back on some of my blog posts from our time there…. only to find I had only written ONE. Just the ONE?!?! Hardly acceptable for a city break that was up there as one of my favourites. So I thought I’d take advantage of #ThrowbackThursday and talk about some of the great things you have to check out in the awesome city that is Rotterdam:
Kubuswoningen, Cube houses
Rotterdam is known for being the city of architecture. After the World War two bombing, the architect Piet Blom was set a task to redevelop the area and these cube houses were his sort of experiement. He wanted to create something that had character, put a modern twist on what we define as being ‘home.’ He took what could be an ordinary house, tilted it 45 degrees and then launched it up in the air. It is believed each house was designed to represent a tree and as a collection altogether, they make up a forest. Blom’s work was heavily inspired by the work of Le Corbusier.
Modern architecture, mimicking nature – my kind of design!!!
The cube houses are open 11am till 5pm, you can actually explore the inside, see for yourself that there are no straight walls! As we were limited time wise, we settled on just exploring the surrounding. However if you did want to venture in, entrance will cost you 2.50 euros, it’s not going to break the bank.
Markthal, Blaak Market
Well this was not at all what I was expecting and fyi the Blaak market – is not the black market. Instead it is an area in the city where you will find an array of stalls selling all kinds of goodies. From fresh veg to electronics and clothes, even antiques.
Location wise it’s right opposite the Cube houses mentioned above and you really can’t miss the grand Markthall. Now this is definitely THE grandest market I’ve ever seen. As an architect lover, the building is spectacular. Beautifully curved, the use of space is quite jaw dropping and the artwork that flows all over the interior is incredible.
The market floor itself is filled with artisan food stalls, the displays, the smells all as good as all the European favourites such as La Boqueria, Mathallen and Torvehallerne. A second tier has been included here at Markthal, as some stalls have steps leading up to the first floor where there are restaurants and seating areas.
Above that are a further TEN floors, with apartments built INTO the arches. Honestly I was in structural heaven. And to detract from this engineering marvel, the whole inner area of the arch has been tattoed with images of flowers and plants. If that’s not enough space maximising, they have even built a supermarket and car park in the basement. *Sigh* I’m almost exhausted thinking of all the brilliant features of this place. Definitely a sight to be seen.
The food itself? it’s going to need it’s own blog post, I could rabbit on about that for a while (right now you just need to know it was goooood).
Euromast, TV tower
Euromast is actually the highest viewing tower in the whole of the Netherlands. So we went and took the lift to the main floor at 100 metres, which was already pretty high for me.
We climbed some stairs to get a bit higher… and then there was another set of steps to arrive at the platform where you can take the last revolving lift right up to the top.
I was already having some serious issues with the whole scared of heights situation. It was SO windy and I was convinced that I was about to be blown off the edge, I practically had to crawl up the last set of stairs and plaster myself against the wall to reduce the wind resistance. That and the long queue that was moving at an extremely slow pace, was enough to convince us we would much rather spend our time having drinks and snacks in the café below (boy was I RELIEVED!)
The café below is actually quite nice, they were preparing to close by the time we got there but it was still busy and they still kindly served us.
Technically, Kinderdijk is not in the city centre, in fact it takes about an hour to reach it (by boat), but I’d say it’s definitely worth a visit. So much so I wrote a whole blog post about our day out.
We decided to take a boat to reach Alblasserdam and I’d recommend doing the same. You can see all sorts cruising along the river, including the famous Erasmusburg bridge and De Rotterdam buildings, helps you tick a few more sights from your architectural hit list.
And ok, this isn’t really a sight you have to see but the whole point of our trip to the Netherlands was to attend festival Pal Mundo at Rotterdam Ahoy! As a city centre arena, it was as you can imagine quite easy to get to. We ended up taking a taxi as we were running late and if you are thinking of attending Pal Mundo like we did, be assured the music is AMAZING – a spectacular night celebrating Latin, Caribbean and Reggaeton music. Like every other concert venue, ideally you want to take some cash with you as atm queues can be pretty long.
These are just a few of the highlights we encountered, we had no major plan on arrival all of the above we discovered ad hoc. We spent most of our time exploring on foot, but we did hop on and trial out the tram, boat, bus and taxi services – and on every single one of them we experienced the best customer service. Like the BEST.
We had a lot of fun that weekend, and Rotterdam is definitely a place we would return to. Pal Mundo 2017 perhaps… 😉
Have you been to Rotterdam? What would you recommend we see next time around??