DAY 9: Second Day in Rotterdam
I’m tardy on this entry. This will probably happen often… Rotterdam is not Amsterdam. Spread out. Contemporary. And boring. It’s perfect right now. But not necessarily conducive to interesting blog write-ups.
Everything about Rotterdam is mellow. The people are kinder. Minimal tourist activity. I got a late start again. The map provided by my gracious host was a godsend; Rotterdam isn’t a city to get lost in if you want to actually see anything of note. The distances between Rotterdam’s primary attractions are much greater than anything in Amsterdam. You have to plan, otherwise I promise you an unproductive stay in Rotterdam.
The host mentioned a couple festivals downtown but by the time I arrived to any of them, they were tearing down and packing trucks. Rotterdam Market Hall, or Markthal, was my first stop. Tunnel-shaped structure. It’s a hybrid between an open-air food market and residential apartments. I’d go absolutely bonkers living in the Markthal but the food and smells are euphoric.
Being inside Rotterdam Market Hall isn’t too dissimilar from how I imagine the astronauts in Arthur C. Clarke’s science-fiction novel 'Rendevouz With Rama' felt like upon entering the alien spacecraft. Or, if you’ve seen Christopher Nolan’s 'Interstellar', the cylindrical ship that Matthew McCongauhey’s character awakens on with the recreation of his old farm. Felt like walking through that. But with a multitude of booths consisting of juices, fruits, spices, meats, cheeses, pastries, vegetables… The smells would occasionally stop me dead in my tracks, then draw me towards them. Like a Jedi mind-trick.
The building not only consisted of 7 floors above ground with inhabited apartments but an additional 4 running below with more shopping. This was crowded and compressed but still nothing resembling Amsterdam. Made my way over to the iconic Erasmusburg bridge. Crossed it. Beautiful and relaxing stroll.
They have water taxis here. I was tempted to spend the Euros on a single stop somewhere random but I didn’t want to waste the Euros or risk being dropped somewhere too far off course. However, I ventured over to the Euromast Tower on-foot and did exactly that anyway. I walked through the gorgeous park the tower's attached to. Removed my headphones. Listened to the birds and the wind; The ambience of the surroundings. Felt like I could breathe again. Peaceful.
See. I told you. Rotterdam is boring. But boring was what I wanted this weekend. Mellow out; Rotterdam is the place to do that.