Well I'm quite late in getting these recent travel posts up. A couple of weeks back I had a trip to Europe for work, to attend a trade show and visit with a customer. The trip started with a visit to rotterdam in the Netherlands, where our trade show was taking place.
I actually flew into Amsterdam, arriving in the early afternoon into Amsterdam, having connected through London. It was a bit of a rough flight, as I was completely unable to get any sleep on the plane.
After arriving in Amsterdam, I was met by my (I think I have this right...) second cousin Edwin and his son Redmar who picked me up at the Amsterdam airport and were kind enough to take me back to their place to spend the afternoon and get caught up. Edwin suggested that it had been about 33 years since we had last seen each other.
Edwin and his wife Caroline (I hope i've spelled that correctly!), and their daughter Anne and son Redmar were kind enough to look after me for the afternoon, and give us a chance to catch up. Edwin and I went for a bit of a walk around their village before dinner. We wandered up to the main canal, which was much bigger than I was expecting.
After dinner, Caroline was kind enough to drive me to Rotterdam, about 45 minutes south of their home. I was pretty much wiped at this point, having been awake for close to 36 hours at that point. It was very nice of her to drive me down, and saved me a trip on the train.
The next few days were spent dealing with work stuff - setting up the trade show booth, taking to customers once the conference opened, and giving one session at the show. Of course I managed to get sick at this point and completely lost my voice, which made it tough to talk .
The weather in Rotterdam was pretty miserable, almost the whole time I was there. Finally on the Wednesday night, the weather cleared and I had a chance to see a little bit of Rotterdam. As I still had no voice at this point, I didn't feel too guilty for abandoning my co-workers. All in all, I had about 4-5 hours to wander the city and take some pictures. Not as much as I had hoped for, but it did give me a chance to see some of Rotterdam, and get a bit of a feel for the place.
It's actually a very nice little city, very walkable and it has some great architecture. Apparently Rotterdam was bombed very heavily during World War II, and as a result they had to rebuild a lot of the city. In many places they chose to go with a very modern style, which i really liked. There are some great buildings and bridges around the city, yet there is also still quite a lot of orignal neighbourhoods that remain.
One of the great things about the city is that they have a lot of very interesting art all around the city. There seems to be sculpture on almost every street corner and public space, which is very cool.
The City hall was right out front of my hotel, and was a good place to start my tour. As I headed towards the port, i came across the Maritime Museum, which has a great collection of old ships out front.
After checking out the boats, I headed into the eastern part of downtown to search for these "cube buildings" I had heard about. They weren't hard to find, and were quite cool. Not sure how practical they are on the inside, but they certainly are a unique bit of architecture.
Near the cube buildings was a great little neighbourhood sitting on one of the older canals. There were a number of restaurants along the water, along with a number of old-looking ships. After checking out the area, I headed down to the main river (canal?) to walk along for a while.
The river leads into the main Port of Rotterdam, which is the second busiest port in the world. Across the water is one of the nicest looking bridges, making for some great shots of the river and surrounding area. I planned to come back once it got dark to take some night shots.
I walked along the water for quite a while, as I had noted an original windmill on the tourist map, and I wanted to check it out. It was way to the west end of the city, and was quite a long walk. The windmill is situated at the south end of a neighbourhood called "Delfshaven", which is a beautiful, original neighbourhood along a series of canals. This was the most original looking part of the city that I saw.
Delfshaven was probably my favourite neighbourhood that I discovered during my walk. Lots of original buildings, beautiful little canals and lots of old boats. It was a great area to wander around.
After walking for about three hours, I was getting pretty tired. I found a great Belgian restaurant and had some dinner and a couple of great beers while watching the Europa League final. It was a good game, even if Chelsea did win...
It was now dark, so I walked back down to the river and took some pictures of the bridge at night.
Thursday afternoon we headed to the train station to take a train from Rotterdam to Brussels for our meeting with the European Commission. The Rotterdam train station is quite spectacular, but as the area out front was heavily under construction, I couldn't get any interesting shots. The trip was a little more complicated than it should have been due to a breakdown on the train we were supposed to get on, but eventually we got there.