Walking Rotterdam, The Netherlands

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Erasmus Bridge

Rotterdam or Amsterdam: that was the question. It brought more angst than trying to figure out which country we were in: The Netherlands or Holland. Most everyone who travels to this area visits Amsterdam. It’s a must-see destination. But I had no interest in Amsterdam beyond the feeling I should follow the crowded lines of travel opinion. I like to read well thought out travel advice. It’s a good idea to know what savvy travelers say. But I usually do what I want anyway. When I found out that our cruise ship would park center-stage Rotterdam, it was decided. No two-hour train trip to Amsterdam, I would be stepping off the ship into a city and then walking to my heart’s content. My kind of day.

Downtown Rotterdam, except for a few small interwoven areas, is a modern glass and steel kind of city, and very beautiful for it. Clean, sleek, design-conscious. I left the ship early and saw city workers riding their bikes to jobs in tall mirrored buildings, stopping in for coffee at cafes, emerging from underground transit. As I walked, my tourist pace seemed out of place for this brisk city. I had hours to spend, and no particular place to go (hello Anita and Richard https://noparticularplacetogo.net/) Unlike the workers, I could dally.

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classic

The sights entertained: old style bicycles in this modern city, a flower market serving the going-to-work population. Even a sudden hail storm – which is, after all, much much better than a soaking rain – didn’t take me off the streets. I stepped under the overhang of a nearby building and enjoyed the brisk smack of the ice pellets on the tops of the parked cars.

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survivors of war and hail

A few buildings had survived the bombing of WWII, giving a flavor for the architecture of that time. Bridges crossed canals and narrow boats served as restaurants and still the city sky-scrapers intermingled pleasantly. I kept my eye on the Erasmus Bridge, the landmark for my return to the ship. It was never far out of sight, at least not far out of my mind’s eye. Walkers find it easy to keep a sense of direction in Rotterdam.

I walked the older section, saw draw bridges rise, watched storm clouds invade and dissipate, detoured through small streets along the canals and craned my neck to include the skyscrapers. Walking a city like Rotterdam is such a pleasure, everything at a pace that keeps you invigorated and able to really see the city. If I am lucky, I may see Amsterdam another time. But I was fortunate to be able to visit Rotterdam, and that is lucky enough.

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Next stop: Berlin

Stop by Restless Jo’s Monday Walks for more…

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31 thoughts on “Walking Rotterdam, The Netherlands

  1. I quite fancy Delft but I find it hard to believe that it’s better than Amsterdam. I haven’t done either so I’ll have to test Andrew’s theory some day. Meantime I was quite happy to accompany you on a jaunt through Rotterdam. 🙂 I already knew it was a good-looking city because Indah has featured it on her blog. It did seem to make a lot more sense than a trip to Amsterdam for a shorter time. 🙂 Wishing you a happy weekend, and thanks for the link.

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    1. Thank YOU, RJo, for the wonderful Monday Walks! Delft is coming up the big winner here, but I was quite happy with Rotterdam. It was like a city that expected no visitors and so carried on with its own life, and I got to observe (snoop?) Fun times!

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  2. We met another traveler from Rotterdam and she loved her city! We’ve always been curious about which is better: Amsterdam or Rotterdam. Guess I now know from Andrew’s comment – it’s Delft. Good choice, we think, to not waste time on the train. It’s so much better to plunge in and do what is near.

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    1. Beth – Alison’s comment also mentioned Delft. This travel decision was made for us by the cruise itinerary, and I wasn’t disappointed. We were facing a couple hours on the train/bus to Berlin a day or so later, so this was perfect for me. I was surprised at how pleasant the city was. 🙂

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  3. Although I enjoyed this walk around Rotterdam, Amsterdam rules. And Delft is lovely too. I think I like both better than Rotterdam because they still have their history. It was not obliterated in the war so there’s a feeling of character in both cities.
    Alison

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    1. Alison – I like your comparisons, and since I haven’t been to Amsterdam or Delft, I will take your word for it. I usually like the smaller, less modern places, but I have to say that I really enjoyed this visit to Rotterdam. It was a nice break from the more tourist-infested stops on this trip. If I’m ever back to this area, I’ll follow ‘Alison’s travel advice’!

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  4. Isn’t it great to have a lively discussion and comparison between the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Delft? I can’t wait until we have a chance to find out for ourselves but I loved getting a preview of Rotterdam and finding out that there’s a bridge like the Erasmus to keep me oriented! And thanks for the shout out … It really can be fun to take a walk with no particular place to go! Anita

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    1. Anita – that little phrase was fun. It came to mind, then had a second connection! And, yes, I love shared opinions to help me make travel decisions. I think I’ll take in Delft if I am ever in the area. And to think I thought it was a simple Rotterdam-Amsterdam choice 🙂

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  5. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : Tall Ships Regatta at Blyth | restlessjo

  6. Thank you for the nice walking tour while it’s raining outside 🙂 What a nice city, and I am happy you did what you wanted instead of sitting on a train, and saw this city at your own pace. It’s funny how we always feel the briskness of a city going to work when we are masters of our time and curiosity.

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  7. I visited Rotterdam once when we were staying in Delft. John was at a conference so I went alone and really enjoyed it – a great art gallery I seem to remember. However, it’s definitely not better than Amsterdam which is one of my favourite cities and has so much more to offer. In my opinion of course! We’ve since been back to Delft and also Leiden which is a similar small city with canals, all easily accessible by train from Amsterdam. It’s a wonderful area.

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