Beaty and the Beast. Aka Delft and Rotterdam

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What to say about Rotterdam… It’s a dump. I accidentally ended up here after I failed to book a bus to Berlin on time and Amsterdam, being a weekend, was fully booked. The hostel was interesting, it was like sleeping in an abandoned school gym hall – with 49 other people. Ah well, it was cheap, there was good wifi and it was a bed for the night.

On my way to Rotterdam I stopped off in Haarlem for a few hours. It was a cute Dutch town with an old Square and Church. I didn’t want to spend 5 euros on a locker so I lugged my backpack around town… it wasn’t too bad but I did get a few interesting looks. But I guess that’s nothing new… Ha. Stopped off for lunch at a very popular place, and the food was delicious! The rows of chairs faced the market square so it was good for people watching and general nosiness.

I embarked on the rest of the journey to Rotterdam – on the amazing double decker Dutch trains which really put our British ones to shame. Very flat but interesting countryside zoomed by out of the window, and of course I saw a few windmills.

After I’d successfully found and dumped by stuff at the rather grungy hostel – though it had a very good hang out area – I explored the city a little. It was bombed very heavily during the war so not much of the old city remains and it’s nothing special really – lots of ugly modern buildings and loads of space – in complete juxtaposition to Amsterdam. Met a bit of a strange English guy in the evening who was very hard to talk to – he decided to accompany me out to get some dinner which was a little awkward.

The next day I decided to venture out to Delft, rather than explore the charmless city of Rotterdam. Delft is a very quaint and stereotypically Dutch town – it’s simply beautiful. Being a Saturday, it was market day, so the main square, smaller squares and the walkways along the canals were covered in stalls – selling all manner of things. The food stalls were pretty marvellous with ones dedicated solely to cheese, fish, sweets and of course fruit and veg. I bought a round thin waffle with something like caramel in the middle – I’m not sure of its name – but it was very yummy. I also accidentally bought a kilo of plums (only 1.50 euros) they were very scrummy but I had way too many! I had a look around the new and old kerks (churches) in Delft and went up the church tower – brilliant views over the orange rooftops and you could see all the way to Rotterdam and the surrounding countryside. Delft is of course where Vermeer lived (painted the Girl with the Pearl Earring), his plaque was displayed in the old church, but I didn’t fancy spending money on the museum dedicated to him. I found it quite interesting how the churches didn’t have an alter at the front at all and the pulpit was placed in the centre at the side of the church, with the chairs facing it in a semi- circle. This stems from the reformation, as bible teaching was the centre of the church, and so the pulpit was moved accordingly.

Delft, though similar in appearance to Amsterdam, had much more charm . It was easy to get a sense of the Dutch way of life, something which is lacking in the tourist heavy and very busy Amsterdam. I would thoroughly recommend taking a day trip here if you’re ever in the Amsterdam/ Rotterdam area.

I returned to the hostel for a few hours of relaxing and blog updating before I embarked on my overnight bus journey. Next stop… Berlin!

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