Rotterdam, almost not

We almost missed our train because online I booked the 10.06am, except there isn’t a 10.06am train from Antwerp to Rotterdam, only a 9.45am. We didn’t find this out until 9.43am when we were chatting with the very friendly station help desk woman. She said we’d have to hurry down the escalators to get to the platform. We didn’t see where she was pointing so we went down the wrong escalators then we had to come back up, look for platform 22 escalators and then bumble our way down a few levels. Would’ve been funny to watch. The train was running 15 minutes late! Lucky.

When I booked online the confirmation said we had to print out our tickets. Since we’re not lugging a printer around with us on our travels we took screen shots of the tickets and bar codes, expecting to be able to use these. In fact that’s why we were at the information counter to confirm it would be ok. The woman said it should be ok.

It wasn’t ok. The ticket inspectors tut-tutted and gave the grim expressions of disapproval. But they had bar code readers which worked on our phone screens so no harm done other than receiving a lecture about having our tickets printed next time. Surely this is something the transport people have to change, given that travelers don’t carry printers.

Anyway……

Rotterdam!  Dave said he’d wanted to visit Rotterdam for some time and I’m so glad we did. Every part of the place took our breath away. The glorious weather helped I’m sure.

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At the station tourist desk we picked up a walking map. We usually try to find a free walking tour or a map to get the best out of a place. Walking gives great perspective and a guided tour provides insights that wouldn’t otherwise be apparent.

Rotterdam was destroyed by bombardment in May 1940, leaving only a few buildings standing, including the magnificent late Gothic church Laurenskerk.

According to the brochure, the people of Rotterdam got to work within weeks of the tragedy and decided to move ahead with a new modern architecture style. Letting go of the past.

Whereas many modern cities build ubiquitous glass and steel skyscrapers, here in Rotterdam the designers had a vision that has produced a beautiful, relaxed yet vibrant landscape.

This horse shoe shaped structure is a covered market hall, right in the middle of the city. Within the walls of the structure are apartments, draped within the U shape of the building. I imagine that from your apartment you could look right down into the business of people selling and buying beautiful food. It is an impressive sight.

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The inside walls of the building are covered with Arno Coenen’s Horn of Plenty and this Markthal has been referred to as a Dutch version of the Sistine Chapel thanks to this work of art. A calming space despite the activity of the markets.

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Intriguing architecture at every turn. These cube houses were designed by Piet Blom in the mid 1980’s  to provide a bridge over a busy arterial road. Interesting take on a bridge design. We didn’t read the guide properly otherwise we would’ve known that one of the houses is set up like a fully functioning museum house, showing what it would be like to live with slanted walls. Apparently there’s also a hostel within the buildings. This Youtube video gives great views of the houses.

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There are beautiful waterways

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Magnificent bridges Version 2

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And just some really unusual buildings

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We loved our day roaming around Rotterdam and would love to go back and spend a few days soaking up the energy of the place.

And just to round off the train ticket story, we went to the Rotterdam train info centre and had them print our tickets for us. Cost us 5 Euros! But no disapproving train conductors 🙂

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2 Comments on Rotterdam, almost not

  1. Thanks for the nice pictures of the Rotterdam market hall. It is also nice to see in a context of other modern architecture of the city.
    For a review of the market hall from an architectural perspective I highly recommend the post of Anezka Prokopova
    https://anezkaprokopova.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/sheltering-a-market/
    And I reviewed it more from a market experience perspective on my farmers’ market blog 🙂

    • Hi @askans, thank you for reading my blog and for your encouraging words. Thanks also for sharing the link to see the market hall through the eye of an architect. I especially like your own blog as we love farmers markets and always look to buy fresh, local produce as we travel. I will read further into your blog.
      We are very fortunate to have our own Noosa Farmers Markets back home in Australia,
      http://www.noosafarmersmarket.com.au/
      In fact Australia has brilliant farmers markets all over the country. Worth a visit.
      Best wishes

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