“You went for a holiday in a container port?” My team leader at work was bemused even after I explained it to her. Nevertheless, 21st century Rotterdam¹ has much to commend it as a city break and concrete sniffer’s destination.
Not as crowded as Amsterdam, and with an impressive modern skyline, the Dutch have embraced the future with an enthusiasm that puzzles the British psyche.
Rotterdam is easily accessible via Eurostar, with an efficient security check in that is not as onerous as most airlines. Legroom is generous. You are deposited into the centre of the city, which is stuffed with street art in unexpected places.
Our hotel, tucked away in a mixed commercial district had a saluting balcony and excellent breakfasts, which consisted of pancakes with bacon, scrambled eggs and Stroop. If your sweet tooth is not sated , then pastries, cakes and toast with hundreds and thousands follow (or precede), all washed down with cups of strong coffee.
Of course, there are windmills, at Kinderdijke; well-preserved ones too. I personally think that the Dutch leave them standing as a bit of a laugh for the tourists. Why? Because to get to them, you have to walk past a really impressive set of three Archimedes screws that keep the polder dry. Maybe, it’s just me.
The Dutch are the unrivaled masters of Whimsy and Kitsch. Walk into a park that could be somewhere in Lord Nobby Nobb’s English country mansion, were it not for the huge rubber ducky in the middle of the Lake, or an enameled tin palm tree in a pocket park. Note the protective fence to stop cows nibbling the trunk!
Then of course, there is Butt-plug gnome.
It only took Suzanne 48 hours to be Skyscrapered out, so we took the waterbus to Dordrecht and spent the day inside it’s medieval trace, watching a robot transcribing the first Dutch translation of The Bible, at the pace a monk would have done if he did it in one solid stretch without eating or sleeping. It was slow, relentless entertainment.
The lovely Mrs K’s instincts for a good cake shop, and mine for a quiet ramshackle corner bar did not desert us.
Dordrecht also has not one, but two Specialist Pirate Memory Game shops. This will only make sense to fans of Little Britain.
To be continued …
- YesthatPhil thinks that this post should have been called Rotterdammerung.