by Nina Sabin - Travel Blog
All I can say is Wow! We woke up to the view of the sunrise coming over the beautiful city of Rotterdam.
After being at such small ports in Greenland and Iceland. It was fantastic to see a metropolitan city.
The light beams shining on the suspension bridge and surrounding buildings was such a majestic sight.
We were very eager to get off the ship and explore, especially since the temperatures were going to be in the mid to high 60s and mostly sunny. Perfect weather to adventure around this Holland city.
While living in Saudi we visited The Netherlands before, mainly Amsterdam and The Hague. So Rotterdam is new territory to discover.
Rotterdam is located in South Holland in the Kingdom of Netherlands. It is the second largest city in the country after Amsterdam and was founded in the mid thirteen century.
Rotterdam is a dynamic city offering 700 years of history. Including the founding of Holland America in 1873.
The cruise terminal was previously know to Holland America steam ships.
Today the terminal has free wifi, a bar, toilets, and tourist information.
There is plenty of transportation opportunities such as taxis, metros, water taxis, and a hop on hop off bus.
We prefer walking as I mentioned in our previous blogs. This way we can stop as we like to take pictures and not be on anyone else’s time schedule. Plus, walking gives us the exercise that we definitely need with all our cuisine opportunities on the cruise and at the ports we visit.
The bridge we saw early is the Erasmus Bridge. It is a modern suspension bridge that is nicknamed “the swan.”
The announcement was made at 7 am that we were cleared by port authorities and could disembark the ship. We were off the ship by 7:30am.
We started our excursion by walking across the Erasmus Bridge. Our first observation was the amount of cycling. With so many bikes there is a separate bike lane throughout the city. As a visitor you have to be watching out for not only cars as you cross the roads but all types of moving bikes.
Once across the bridge we walked along the water admiring the architecture of buildings, ships along the route, the maritime museum and going through Het Park.
The park is filled with beautiful landscape, many species of birds, including Egyptian Geese, and pet dogs enjoying running, playing, and swimming. I think John and I could have sat for hours watching the fascination of nature.
Near Het Park is Euromast Space Tower. This tourist attraction is 605 feet tall and has a revolving sit down elevator to the top. We decided to admire the tower from the park.
After Het park we found a place with what they called miniature mini golf. It is the smallest mini golf we have ever seen.
Across from the mini golf is a Chinese decorated hotel boat with restaurants and authentic Chinese food store.
We were hoping to buy some items to bring back like prawn chips, Mochi treats, and boba peach tea in a can with bursting bobas.
Unfortunately, even though the store had a credit card machine, they only accepted cash. So we were not able to buy the items because there were no ATM machines in the vicinity.
The Chinese food store was not the only store that did not accept credit cards, the local grocery stores also did not accept credit cards.
After walking for awhile we finally found a credit card machine. The exchange rate was 18 points above the normal exchange and another 5% fee. One of the machine had almost a 11% fee.
Finally we were able to buy some supplies at the store because we had Euros.
We then proceeded to a local coffee shop where we could rest from walking, use the restroom facilities and wifi.
What was funny is the coffee shop would not take cash, only credit cards, and that was just two blocks away from the stores that said cash only. Few places seem to take both, cash and credit. We found it all a bit odd. The cash only places were in the old city with almost no English. The credit card only ones in the newer areas were English was widely spoken.
At this point we were ready for lunch and hoping to get something to eat in Chinatown. We found a Korean BBQ not too far from Chinatown and the St. Lawrence Church.
St. Lawrence Church charges three Euros to enter the church. This is the second place we have seen where they charge to see the church, Akureyri was the other.
I love Boba Tea and we found a place that had watermelon flavor tea with bursting boba’s, my favorite.
Today we had two free drinks unexpectedly, one at the coffee shop for my steamed almond milk because the cashier didn’t know how to charge for it, and the other at the boba tea shop as she accidentally made the wrong tea and gave us the extra one at no charge. An unexpected treat.
On the way back to the port we went to the Market Hall where they had food from all over the world. The highlight of Market Hall is admiring the art on the ceiling and the views through the windows.
Across from the Market Hall is the cubed apartments. I have to admit is is one of the strangest things we have seen. As we were taking a picture of the building the museum staff came over to invite us to go into to one of the apartments. He said one of the apartments cost over 400,000 Euros. It only cost us four Euros each to take a self-tour. John decided he could never live in one of the buildings because of all the uneven rooms and walls. Not being perpendicular would drive him nuts.
After 22,000 steps, ten miles of walking, and about nine hours later we were back on the ship.
It took another two and a half hours to leave due to a delay in refueling. Then two hours to get to the sea from Rotterdam because it was such a long channel from the port to the sea.
Now with a new captain, a little more choppy seas, and gaining an hour back we are ready to head to our next port in two days, Cohn, Ireland.
One last note, it has been funny watching people’s reaction to the time change. Over the course of the last eighteen days we moved five hours ahead of Eastern standard time. It was gradual, one hour at a time, but people really groaned about the time change. It really didn’t affect us because it was gradual. Tonight we gained an hour back and you can feel the excitement of the passengers about gaining that hour back… strange reactions to observe.