After a brief stint back in the bosom of my family's home in London for various weddings (congrats to the new Mrs & Mrs Bell and Mr & Mrs W - I had so much fun at your receptions!), the mongrel and I drove to Rotterdam to meet the husband. I wanted to break up the journey back to our home in Paderborn and Rotterdam has been on our hit list since it was recommended to us by a native Dutchman (indeed he said not to bother with Amsterdam and just do this port instead). From London, the drive should have read as such: an hour and a half to Folkestone, 30 minute faff at the Eurotunnel, 35 minutes on said Eurotunnel, three hours from Calais to The Hilton, Rotterdam, see husband for first time in two weeks, go have a sunny beer to celebrate my longest solo drive.
Instead, my journey read: just under four hours driving to Folkestone (owing mainly to Operation Stack closing the M20 and forcing me to travel along far too many A roads in Kent with far too many other disgruntled holiday makers), three hour faff and wait at Eurotunnel...at which point I start losing the will to live given that by my deductions I should be starting my first Amstel. The terminal at the Eurotunnel was near pandemonium...the only time I have seen a queue longer for any Burger King was in my early 20s after the closing time of a certain sticky floored nightclub in Clapham.
Once on the train (seven hours after having set off from my mother in law's front door), everything ran smoothly and I even managed to fit in a power nap for the whole train journey. The traffic on the continent was a dream, and bar one wrong turn in Rotterdam Central, I met a valet at the front of my hotel that looked remarkably like my husband. Whether the husband was more pleased to see me, the dog or the fact that his beloved A6 was still in one piece remains to be seen, but we found Rotterdam a great location for a night away. It's buzzy, full of great bars and restaurants and was extremely reasonable. Our hotel, including breakfast and the dog, was only 70euros. As was our delicious dinner out at the nearby bar and diner, 1Nul8. We were exceedingly hungry at this point of the evening, given my tardy arrival, so we plumped for the first restaurant we saw on the concierge recommended street: Meent. I think this is the first time in my life when such a rash eating decision has worked out exceedingly well. The staff were friendly, helpful and dog lovers. The food was delicious. Having given myself the day off Paleo dieting following the carnage that was the Eurotunnel, I treated myself to a burger which was excellent, huge and extremely indulgent with the inclusion of truffle mayonnaise. Following dinner we ambled towards then Old Harbour which is incredibly pretty and whiled away our time people watching over a bottle of white at the chic bar: APARTT. Again at a very reasonable price, especially given its waterfront location.
The following morning, after an above average breakfast buffet, the husband and I headed towards the Euromast - a viewing tower that promised great shots of the city. Unfortunately, the balmy weather that North Europe has been enjoying deserted us that day, and we sadly had to grapple with low cloud, wind and rain. The Euromast itself though is quite an institution with its restaurants, hotel suite and rotating viewing platform. It costs €9 to go up it, which I thought was a touch on the pricey side, but perhaps I am just being grumpy given the weather conditions. There is also an opportunity to abseil down the side, which tempted me for all of a split second.
Instead, after visiting the tower, the husband and I went for a yummy coffee before setting off for home in Germany. Had the weather been nicer, we would have stayed longer and ambled around the pretty canals, looking at the old style houses that stand next to modern day skyscrapers and gone on one of the many boat rides that this city has to offer. For all army families that commute from their postings in Germany, I would heartily recommend Rotterdam as a stop off point for any longer car journeys...there is also an over night ferry that departs from here for Harwich. For all stag do and hen do organisers, I would definitely bear Rotterdam in mind for a chic alternative choice to Amsterdam. It is cheaper, just as easy to get to with its own airport, and not as rammed full of tourists. The night life is excellent and transport around the city can be made in a variety of inexpensive ways with bikes and trams being the Rotterdam local's transport of choice. For all other readers, Rotterdam simply makes for an easy and fun weekend away.
My prints and pictures this week are all in black and white owing to the terrible weather during my time there. They are all also mainly centered around a mariner theme as so much of Rotterdam life is centered around the harbour and the water. I hope you enjoy them! Please do get in touch with any questions regarding Rotterdam or the pictures themselves! If you would like to receive an email to subscribe to our weekly blog post, there is a contact form on this page too.