After visiting Bruges in Belgium, my next travel destination during my one year trip around the world is Rotterdam. Here, I will be visiting a dutch couple who I befriended while travelling to South Africa. They were very kind to invite me to come visit them in their home and show me around Amsterdam’s rival city.
They are the first of the three group of Dutch friends I visited during my time in The Netherlands.
Day 1: An introduction to the Rotterdam City Centre
After taking the train from Bruges, I finally made it to The Netherlands! Many people rave how awesome this country is and I couldn’t agree more. I really think Dutch people are some of the friendliest people in the world.
As soon as I arrived, my friend Ronald picked me up from the train station and decided to show me around the city centre before we head back to his house.
Ronald gave me a quick history lesson of the city. Apparently, during World War 2, the Germans bombed the city destroying the historical old town. As a result, many of the buildings you see in Rotterdam are quite modern.
Speaking of attacks, we had a bit of a scary situation happen. While eating lunch, there was a sudden explosion a few tables away from where Ronald and myself were eating. At first, I thought it might have been a terrorist attack because of all the crazy things happening in Europe nowadays. Thankfully, no one was hurt. An ignited gas leak that caused the explosion. My first day in Rotterdam definitely started with a blast.
After the situation was cleared up, Ronald showed me these weird cube shaped housing units. Apparently, it’s not very nice living inside one of those cube homes but its popular amongst the tourist.
After getting an introduction to Rotterdam, we headed back to Ronald’s home where I got settled down. I got a chance to meet his son who was only one year old the last time I saw him. He’s grown a lot bigger and entered the terrible twos. I also got a chance to have a reunion with Maaike (Ronald’s wife) who I teamed up with when I did the Great White Shark diving back in South Africa.
Day 2: Kinderdijk Windmills, traditional Dutch dishes, city sight seeing, and Port of Rotterdam
The next day, Maaike and Ronald decided to show me all the touristy spots in Rotterdam. We had a funny conversation where Ronald said he’s never been to any of these tourist places before. One of the true statements is that most people don’t sight see their own country! To be honest, I live in Canada and I’ve never seen Niagara Falls myself!
Anyhow, we get to the Kinderdijk Windmills which is our first destination of the day. This place is the famous windmills that you see in pictures when you think of Europe. Back in the days, the windmills were used to pump water out of the ground to prevent flooding. Nowadays, the windmills is a UNESCO world heritage site that attracts tourist from all over the world. And by all over the world, I mean Asians as Ronald was very quick to point out.
The area where the Kinderdijk windmills isn’t very big but definitely great for taking a stroll and taking pictures.
After checking out Kinderdijk, we went to a restaurant onsite where they served tons of traditional Dutch food. Ronald and Maaike made sure to order a bunch of them for me to try out. I don’t remember the exact names but check out the pictures below and try them out when you go to The Netherlands, they are quite tasty.
Some traditional Dutch dishes
After Kinderdijk, we went and checked out a museum in Rotterdam. Unfortunately, the museum won’t allow cameras inside so we weren’t able to take any pictures. But one of the best attraction is a Panorama that is a must see.
I also saw the Peace Palace which is a neat building to take a quick picture of.
Our last stop of the day is Port Rotterdam where we took a boat ride that would show us the surrounding area. Would I recommend the boat ride? I’d say, if you are already in Rotterdam, then definitely go for it. It’s a nice activity to do once in your life.
After a full day of sight seeing, I cooked Ronald’s family some traditional Philippine dish called sinigang. Ronald’s family seem to like it as they destroyed two pot full of soup that was meant to be eaten over two days.
Day 3: The beach at the Hague
The following day, our next destination is the beach located at the Hague. It was a slow start in the morning because Ronald and Maaike really needed to get some extra sleep.
One of the titles of this article is “3 generations” because each of the three group of friends I’m visiting in The Netherlands are roughly 10 years old apart and living a different stage of their life. Ronald and Maaike are in their late 30s and early 40s and have a two year old son. One of the things that really scared me is seeing how exhausted they looked from taking care of their extremely extroverted kid. He’s a likeable kid but can be a nightmare as well. I applaud my friend’s patience.
Looking at their current life circumstance, I definitely do not feel ready to have a kid anytime soon. It’s quite a shocking experience seeing them having to take care and discipline their extremely hyper son. It also makes me realize that people all over the world are not too different from one another.
Anyways, as soon as everyone was ready, they took me to the beach area in the Hague. Apparently, this is a popular travel destination for the Dutch people.
When we got to the beach, there was a huge volleyball tournament going on. Apparently, this area is popular for international beach volleyball tournaments.
The beach area is neat; though, it felt really cold and I’m not sure I would like to go swimming here. We ended the day where Ronald and Maaike decided to get me to try eating another local delicacy: raw fish.
I think they were trying to make fun of me because they filmed me eating the raw fish while having a gagging look on my face. Quite frankly, the fish tasted terrible and I think only Dutch people like eating it.
Moving on to Amsterdam
The next morning, I say farewell to the couple as Ronald drops me off at the train station. I definitely enjoyed visiting them and look forward to seeing them again. They gave me a glimpse of what life is like in your late 30s to early 40s. I learned that travelling around the world for one year was a great idea because once you have kids, you’re pretty much trapped until they are 18 years old.
Rotterdam was a neat city and I have fond memories of this place before moving on. Next stop…Amsterdam.