After the cancel of some other plans, I decided to fill up the lost time with something else. I did not even research or plan anything, I just booked a hostel in Rotterdam two days before I should arrive.
I was in Rotterdam earlier this year, but it was on day 2 of my biking trip and I did not have enough time to visit a lot of things in the city.
And so on a gloomy thursday, I took the train. I departed at Antwerp around 8:45 am and arrived an hour later at Rotterdam Central station. I had no real plan of how I would go about it. I knew more or less what I wanted to see and where all the places were.
So I started walking away from the central train station. After a while I arrived at the square with the statue of Santa holding a Christmas-tree. Although we can all agree it’s actually a kinky gnome.
At the square you have a coffee-place called Heilige Boontjes. What’s so special about this place? The people working there are all ex-inmates. After their time in prison or rehab it’s often hard to get your life back together. Finding work is tough and making new friends is not easy. So this place offers them a job and get things straight. And it works!
The people there are so friendly and helpful. I can highly suggest it!
Time to see some art in the Kunsthal
After a warm coffee I walked to the Museumpark. A huge park with several museums. A must visit: especially if you are into art and natural history. I only visited the Kunsthal because the Museum of Natural History was crowded with kids. And I mean crowded!
There is a small exhibition in Kunsthal about Prince in the Netherlands. His many shows in the Netherlands, the old newspapers and merch. It’s fun to see how much impact someone can have, apart from the music.
The main exhibition is about Robert Mapplethorpe: an American photographer. He is famous for his portraits and reporting on the gay-scene in the 60’s and 70’s. It’s an exhibition that now has ended, but just researching this brilliant man will teach you a lot too. Oh, you might see a penis or two. So don’t let that take you by surprise.
More photo’s please!
Then I did some walking around at the riverside and crossed the Erasmusbridge, I ended up at the photomuseum of Rotterdam. I had the chance to visit all four exhibitions. Two are permanent and show the photos of Dutch photographers. It’s interesting but not mind-blowing.
One of the exhibitions is a re-amp of old photo’s from ethnic clothing. They added colours and highlighted the parts that are still relevant in today’s clothing. They even gave it reference names to all the hipster clothing!
And then the best exhibition of the museum: Genesis by Sebastião Salgado. A stunning exhibition with photo’s from the most desolate places on earth. Ranging from the Pantanal in South-America to the arctic reaches of Canada.
I need food, now!
At that moment it was past noon and I hadn’t eaten yet. So I ate a bit of chocolate-cake in the coffeebar of the museum and went on to the Fenix Food Factory. It’s an old warehouse they converted to a foodhal. You can get a lot of different foods and drinks there. I went for the quiche at Rechtstreex.
“And your name is?”
“Oh, here in the Netherlands it’s kinda a girl’s name.”
– Just give me my quiche…
— Fredography 📸 (@FredPaulussen) 17 augustus 2017
Just walking around
Did I mention before it was bad weather? Well it remained grey the entire day, but that did not keep me from walking around town. I did a long tour next to the Meuse/Maas river and had a look at the Cube-houses and markthal. Then it was just a bit further to my hostel.
Checking in an napping
I stayed at the King Kong Hostel, the perfect place if you want to experience the city. Especially the nightlife. I got a banana at the check-in. King Kong… banana… get it?
There was no-one in my room, so I decided to get comfortable, take a shower and walk off again… but I fell asleep. I think I was out for 1 or 2 hours before I woke up. So I left the hostel again, had some KFC and walked to my first photo-location of the day.
The reason I ate KFC is because it helps you eat alone when you are self-aware. I made a list with 5 different places that are ideal to eat alone.
At the Erasmusbridge
I was a bit more lucky at that moment, the sun started to come through the clouds and was casting beautiful golden rays. So obviously I started photographing. I was there for the rest of the evening and by 10:30pm I was finished. I went to the hostel, talked with my roommates, and slept. Oh I slept so good!
I literally just did a happy dance because, after a day of hard work fighting the odds and weather, I finally got an awesome shot!
— Fredography 📸 (@FredPaulussen) 17 augustus 2017
The photos I made in Rotterdam
The next day
The next day I woke up, finding my room empty again. Two of my roommates had a train at 7am and the other one just disappeared. It was already 10am when I woke up, so maybe that had something to do with it.
I packed my stuff, grabbed breakfast in a coffee-place nearby and walked to the Blijdorp zoo. At around noon I decided there would be no more photo-opportunities and took the train home again.
Rotterdam is a beautiful city that you must visit at least once in your life. I think it’s a great place to develop yourself culturally. However, I think one day is enough to see all the things.