In Rotterdam! Supporting Mum’s Triathlon championships.
I planned a late Friday and an early Monday flight, so I’m here for two full days. Immediately – this is my kind of city. The train system is easy, clean and quiet, everyone cycles, all the buildings have interesting design features and it rains – so that it feels like home.
Honestly it feels a bit like a hipster’s paradise. The dutch are serious about their coffee, and there’s a million cafes around, with a startling array of flavours. It’s a very modern city, built up after it was bombed in the war – and it feels young, experimental and green.
I’ve seen these in a few cities, but I really like double-decker trains. It feels like an elegant use of space.
Mum’s race is on Sunday, so Saturday was strictly non-physically demanding touristing. First stop: breakfast.
We found this beautiful vegan place called Sue’s, which was deeply charming and served phenomenal food.
I had the blueberry & bacon pancakes, while Mum had scrambled eggs on toast. Both completely plant-based and delicious. (With the possible exception of the bacon. It was interesting, but in no way tasted like bacon.)
I love how the city is so green. To the left is the tram tracks; I love that they’ve covered the tracks with grass. It just extends the landscape and adds so much colour. This is city centre too – just steps away from the central train station.
We wandered over to the river where Mum is going to be making her Netherlands swimming debut later, and found this odd and charming sight.
They’ve put trees in little flotation devices, and put them on the water. It’s adorable, but can’t say I understand it. Have they run out of land? It is a stylistic choice? Does being on water somehow benefit the tree?
For lunch, Mum needed protein. We headed to the Market Hall.
It’s one of the most fantastical buildings I’ve ever seen. It’s a tunnel, with residential apartments all along the outside, and huge glass walls containing the inside.
Inside, there are street food vendors, with permanent restaurants along the edge.
The ceiling is fairly beautiful, with it’s vibrant colours and nature designs – and it’s periodically disrupted by windows, which actually look into people’s living areas.
Here, the windows become skylights.
It smelled amazing in there. There were stalls from all different nationalities, and an abundance of choice for savoury and sweet. We picked up some olive bread (fresh from the oven) and coconut balls.
As we travelled through…
…we came upon the Cube House.
These are apartments in the form of a cube. They jut out; it’s an extremely bizarre feelings walking under them. One was for tourists – we went in, and saw how a cube house might work.
It felt a bit like being on a ship. There was this odd feeling that your centre of gravity was off; tight corners and spaces, narrow stairs and carefully placed windows. It was like being in a piece of artwork, more than a home – which, I suppose, is part of the point.
Rotterdam is just pretty.
Another hipster Rotterdam find – a shop that sells cookie dough & accompaniments. They have a vegan flavour, so obviously I had to try.
This is: vegan cookie dough, with blueberries (hidden), strawberries, orange, strawberry jam, pistachios and coconut flakes. It was a cacophony of flavours that didn’t quite make it for me. The cookie dough had great texture but no flavour – the taste was derived from the sides. It was beautifully artisanal, but didn’t quite hit the spot. Sorry Rotterdam – Dusseldorf’s frozen yoghurt was better.
But still, very attractive.