Monday, 4 August 2014

Rolling into Rotterdam

Rolling out of Stellendam

And what would a good post be without a Heron?  Sorry, no moles today, but this heron did catch my eye and I managed to come to a stop, get the camera out, and get his picture before he realized I was interested in it and dropped his praying-mantis-like sun-worshiping. Just drying his wings?

It probably took him less than 20 seconds to become a standard heron again.

Nice bike route

Wind mill in former fortress Helleveutsluis


The Bhagwan is alive and well?

Seems there that Hellevoetsluis was an important fortress once

Who would have thought he left from this metropolis with a mall

The bicycle path has its surprises
But they're worth it. Fabulous cycling route ;-)

Don't you dare go to sleep there

From afar I see this strange creature.

I made a friend ;-)  Hello Donkey !

In a square in the town of Zuidland
Some people spend too much time with their horses

Another one of those lifting bridges

The Dutch seem to like these misplaced-blocks type buildings
 I'm feeling a bit famished and stop at the McDonald's right next to the Royal Dutch Shell Refinery (in the background). But looking at their menu, I loose all appetite. So I sit on their patio for a bit (ashtrays !) look for their free Wifi (nonexistent and the Shell visitor Wifi does not let me log on ;-).
The port of Rotterdam seems to stretch forever.  First the oil storage tanks. Then the container cranes. Then the parts of the harbour being redeveloped as fancy condos. 
This goes on for MILES

not sure what it is. The Harbour Master's Tower ?

helicopter pad on ship

Then I ride in circles, trying to figure out where Google Maps is trying to steer me to.  The Maas Tunnel.  I've seen the one for the cars, but that's not where the map directs me to.  Then I see it. I've ridden by it at least 5 times by now but mistook it for a burger bar.  A tunnel only for pedestrian and cyclists. 

Go Holland Go!  The thing is ancient, with wooden sides and wooden covers on the raggedy escalator steps.
Holy Steep !

Yes, that is WOOD on the sides and on the steps!

Durch diese hohle Gasse musste er kommen

I cycled under water !

When I come up the other side, the feeling of the city has changed completely. There are canals everywhere. But somehow they found room for parks, high-rises, parking spots for defunct ships now serving as homes, etc etc etc.  A note on Rotterdam architecture. You won't find all that old-whore-wearing-pearls architecture seen in for example Antwerp here. Reason? Eh... Hm....  Seems the Germans on some day in 1940 gave an ultimatum to the Commander of Rotterdam at 10:30 am. 3.5 hours at 2 pm of the same day Rotterdam had not surrendered and the Luftwaffe did this:

30,000 died here
I've reserved a room for 38 Euros at the EuroHotel Centrum right in the centre of Rotterdam (INCLUDING breakfast!). To say I was a bit wary is putting it mildly.  And again, I am pleasantly surprised. The room DOES have its own bathroom, is of reasonable size (I could even squeeze my bike in here if I could get it up the stairs past the receptionist).

Although ....
Good thing I'm on the 1st floor . For the record: The elevator operated flawlessly ;-)

I dump my luggage and go for an exploration ride.

Ravishing Rose in Rotterdam

Is THAT what I think it is?  
 I'm not sure why, but I like Rotterdam!  But it's not only the canals and buildings that serve as eye candy, the fact that 70% of the population of central Rotterdam are singles in the age-range 20-40 does not hurt either.  This realization hits me when I am in a side-walk restaurant, sip my second glass of Rose (this one a tad too much on the sweet side), munch my way through a generous and FRESH portion of Fish & Chips, while some 80s Sade album is coming from the speaker right over my head ;-)

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