Finally 18. Mike suggested to organize a birthday weekend with the whole family in Rotterdam. Exellent idea. A good start off point was that we all stayed in Hotel New York. Yes one of my favourite hotels. This time Mike organized a room with a balcony with a magnificent view on the harbour. I know I’m spoiled.
Soon everybody young and old arrived and discovered with enthousiasm their rooms in the old Holland America Line building.
Making plans does not fit into a weekend with my busy family because everybody was late. No worries, the perfect waiting place is on the immense hotel terrace. Off for a Dutch start with Dutch greasy specialties for everybody.
The kids brought their step and were even more ready than us for an active weekend. We took the watertaxi just steps from the hotel at the Wilhelminapier to go to the city centre (Leuvehaven) where I lost once again the cap of my camera in the waters.
The family ready to discover Rotterdam
I knew from previous visits that Rotterdam was cool but I had no idea it was that cool. The Dutch have that sense of creativity that amazes me. So many little shops, café or restaurant have that special twist that other countries can just dream of.
The place to be in the city centre for socializing, shopping and the perfect terrace is the Witte de Withstraat. I doubt you will not find what you are looking for here.
Buiten = a shop, a resto & take-away heaven for delicious good food
Okay sailing under the Erasmus bridge is cool but strolling over it has certainly also its charm. Certainly when after that you can chill at the rooftopbar of the nhow hotel and enjoy the view.
In the evening we dined in our own hotel. The restaurant was a lively mixture of day tourists, locals and guests. If you like seafood this restaurant is a good place to be, but they cater for everybody. Perfect place also for our family. The kids were happy to go early to their own room and we could stay and chat some more downstairs.
The next day, after a typical Dutch breakfast buffet in the hotel, we were ready for some more walking. Located close to the hotel we crossed the Rijnhaven bridge to Katendrecht. This used to be the red light district. And as with many once rough neighbourhoods it has now become one of the places-to-be in Rotterdam. It was quiet that Sunday morning in Katendrecht. Perfect for us to discover the many attractive cafés, restaurants and shops around the Deliplein (market square).
Once again, in Rotterdam it is the water that attires us most. Strolling along the river Maas and discovering the different neighbourhoods I would strongly recommend. Everybody of our party agreed that Rotterdam surprised them (in a positive way). This is a city where the urban planners really did a nice job. Old & new buildings blend harmoniously together.
Mike & my dad in the distance on one of my fav bridges
We did not see many tourists but when we arrived in the old port it looked like they were all sitting in that area enjoying the sun on one of the many terraces. Not a bad decision so we did the same.
Also Rotterdam strives to be the world’s most sustainable port city and they have interesting initiatives such as the self sufficient Floating Pavillon in the City harbour commisioned by the Rotterdam Climate Inititiative.
Rotterdam is clearly a city that is a lot less in the spotlights than Amsterdam but one with other appealing features and certainly worth a visit.
Photos: Mike & Véronique