Canals cause dead ends!

Trip Start Mar 17, 2012
Trip End Jun 26, 2012

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Flag of Netherlands  , Zuid-Holland,
Wednesday, May 9, 2012

This morning’s presentation of “Opening Curtains” revealed a massive cable suspension bridge against a backdrop of an uninviting cloudy sky. Not ones to be deterred, we spring out of bed, go through the usual morning routines and head off for another day of discovery and surprise.

Rotterdam is one of the world’s busiest commercial ports, serving not only the Netherlands, but most of northern Europe. The heart of the city was destroyed in 1940, but has been entirely rebuilt on a very modern and efficient pattern, which makes it very Dutch indeed.

Our self-walking tour should take us past most points of interest in a timely fashion and leave enough spare time for some internet contact with the rest of the world, courtesy of McDonalds or any other establishment displaying the free Wi-Fi symbol.

We disembark the ship from a higher floor than normal due to a modern state of the art shipping terminal with covered walkways leading into tourist facilities and escalators down to street level. Not wanting to be tempted by local traders before we have even exited the terminal, we don our blinkers and make a bee-line for the escalator sign pointing downwards.

Once on the street we turn toward the Erasmus Bridge (the one we saw from our stateroom) which will take us directly into the central business district. After crossing the bridge the first building we come to just happens to have a shop with a 50% sale sign in the window. Needless to say, our walking tour is put on hold for 20 minutes whilst the wares are inspected. A ski jacket is put away for further consideration on our return journey.

We track along the river front trying hard to remember that what appears to be walking paths are actually bike paths and that we should keep to the raised areas of footpath.

In less than 2 hours we appear to have seen and done all that is of interest on the itinerary, so I find a McDonalds and sit with a cup of coffee (they get narky if you just use their internet without purchasing anything) whilst Gail sets off to check out the latest in Dutch fashions.

Some time later and with darkening clouds, we decide that it would be better to not get caught in the rain, so we head back toward the ship taking a different route that should lead to Erasmusbrug (the Erasmus Bridge). Of course, being a city built around canals, it is always prudent to plan your wanderings lest you end up in a dead end blocked by open canals and with no way out other than the way you came in.

We nearly make it to the Bridge when the heavens open and we shelter under the large canopy of the Inntehotels building – a tall black modern building with penthouse function room that juts out from the front facia to give it an architectural appeal. When a break in the rain comes we make a dash to the next safe haven – the shop that we first came to in the morning.

By the time we had finished, the storm had passed and we crossed the bridge back toward our floating sanctuary.

The sailing out of Rotterdam that night was a real eye opener to the marvels of one of the world's largest container and shipping ports. The journey from the cruise terminal out to the North Sea was the highlight of the visit to this modern city.
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Katherine on

Hi guys , Rotterdam looks like a great city , architecturally very interesting , shopping and an interesting port , Gail can I have all your old stuff now you have bought out the rest of the world !!!

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