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.
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.
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.
Stop by Restless Jo’s Monday Walks for more…