Last you saw me, I was randomly spending a day in Western Ukraine. Now, you find me visiting my long-time jam partner in crime and rambler for my Spain adventure, Simon. He works for the Danish church in Rotterdam, and I’ve visited once before but the itch for Rotterdam has come once again.
Rotterdam is an industrial city but a charming one at its heart. It was completely leveled during World War II, and has since become a hub for business and mercantile endeavors. Rotterdam is a huge mecca for business in the Netherlands, as can be seen by its highrises and glitzy facades. But there are some really wonderful underground spots to explore. For example, one must go to Fenix Factory for craft beer and a sampling of local food delights. A stop in Rotterdam wouldn’t be complete without visiting the cube houses or food market, either.
Stop by the shopping street to see the statue of Santa Claus holding a gigantic dildo, and grab a tea at the Punk ship Vessel 11. But let’s be honest, Rotterdam isn’t the Dutchiest of cities, so Simon, his girlfriend Iris, Ivana, and I picked up camp for a day trip to Leiden.
You may know Leiden by its famous resident, Rembrandt. It’s just as cute as Amsterdam but on an even CUTER scale. At Christmas, the streets light up the dark snakey canals still wet from the last misty rains. Leiden is perfect for an Amsterdam day trip.
If you get to Rotterdam, a day or so is good to explore a bit and see the museums and food halls. It’s an interesting take on how to make a Dutch city interesting without tulips or canals, and so far they’ve done a pretty good job. If you’re like me, you’ll be clambering to the next destination as soon as possible, however. For me, it’s time to go to France.