Rotterdam (Excursion Day)

Trip Start Jul 16, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Netherlands  , Zuid-Holland,
Thursday, July 24, 2008

Traditionally the Wednesday of the UK is set aside for excursions so the congress itself is closed.

The Germans have been on enough excursions to know how bad they are so we decided to create our own.

We started off walking towards the Erasmus bridge but we decided to backtrack to take another bridge onto an island in the middle of the harbour. It's rather strange as it's not actually possible to tell that what you see on the other side is an island. It's completey built up with buildings and once you're on it you realise that there's a bridge off it to the other side of the harbour.

Here's a rather cute little train that we saw by the harbour. It looks like it's still in service. Rotterdam is the busiest port in Europe, one of the busiest in the world so there's always going to be something interesting going on I suppose. Not that it looked busy from where we were.

Near the bridge was this interesting building. It's built in such a way as to create an optical illusion. It's only when you walk past a bit that you see what creates the strange pattern of windows.

The mobile was interesting. I found it rather impressive the way it just hangs over the water. I wonder whether it really is held up by the different parts or is it just solid.

Now this building in the distance was really remarkable. It looks like a stack of three buildings all falling over like a deck of cards. We passed it later on, on the other side of the bridge... but we were in a tram so I couldn't really get a photo. What makes the impression even better is that there's a huge white pin or beam that's stuck into the side of one of the buildings to give the impression that it's holding them all up and stopping them from falling.

My actual mission for the day was to eat some herring. This is one of the great delicacies of Holland. Basically they take a preserved herring out of a barrel, slice it, take out the bones, cut off the head then put it down for you to lower it into your throat. Very tasty, though these stalls always seem to be so crowded that it takes a while to get your herring(s) cut up.

Here though, I was finally able to dispell the myth that all Dutch people speak Dutch. The bloke cutting up the herring wanted to ask me whether I wanted onions on mine (yes, I'd normally understand but they have a special word for it when it comes to herring) and after I didn't understand he asked everyone waiting whether anyone spoke English... and no-one came forward. More proof, that those that say everyone speaks English... don't stray too far from their hotel.

Ah, the bus stop. Africa Square. This area of Rotterdam was remarkable. Middle of Rotterdam, but just about everyone in the area - and I really do mean everyone - was African, or Turkish/Arabic. So now I'm curious about the name of the bus stop. Did that come before the immigrants or after?

We finally had some local Dutch food. Lovely seats outside. Really good food, nice laid back service.

We had to have one last drink before calling it a night and against my better judgement we ended up at an Irish pub. I suspect we were served by someone that couldn't speak a word of Dutch. The beer was ok, if expensive. Speckled Hen. But why would anyone want to go to an Irish pub when there are so many great café's nearby?! This one should be avoided like the plague. The outside area is pretty big but has absolutely no atmosphere; very sterile.
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Where I stayed
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