A Rotterdam Travel Guide

Tuesday, July 25, 2017
So, how does one spend a whirlwind 48hrs (or less) in Rotterdam? Well, I somehow managed to pack in hiring a bike, gazing at architecture, eating cupcakes, window shopping and a lil bit more into my short stay in Amsterdam's underrated cooler sister (the Solange to Beyonce, if you will). Here's what I got up to!

Firstly, I was over to visit an old friend of mine, who I met yeaaars ago when I used to live in France - and she just so happens to come from the Netherlands, and decided to move back there to study. Rotterdam is said to be the up-and-coming version of Amsterdam, and in her opinion she prefers it because it's got everything she needs and it's not crazy busy with tourists like A'dam is...I agree and was definitely won over by it's rich urban cafe culture and Dutch charm...

I touched down in Schiphol airport on the Tuesday evening and got the train with my friend to Rotterdam Centraal (the extra a is deliberate) Station which takes about 40 minutes or so. My friend's flat was only a 10 minute walk from the station so proper handy and gave us enough time to have a gander and take in some of the architecture -  in particular the Delft Gate Building, just located beside the station. It's a twin building that mirror off of each other - against the blue sky and cloudy backdrop, it literally looked like something out of The Truman Show.

We went for a little drink at Holy Smoke once i'd dropped my things off where I got a 'Sloe Roses' gin 'longdrink' (cocktail=longdrink in dutch, I think). The al fresco vibe is very much the way to hang out with friends in Rotterdam with a cafe and terrace on nearly every street corner.  

The next morning we were up bright and early to make sure not to waste a minute and got some filling breakfast at GYS, a bio/vegan/vege cafe - basically the hipsterest place you can think of ticking all the hipster boxes - exposed bulbs, check - wooden tables with plants, check, avocado somewhere on the menu, check - aka, my. favourite. kind. of. place. Because I am basic. We both got cappuccinos and the scrambled eggs with mushrooms and salad on toast - delicious, but the portion was way more filling than I expected and couldn't finish it (yep surprised me too).

Later, we rented out some bikes and explored the city from the famous cube houses, the white house, to the giant market hall and more. There was a real mixture of modern and old architecture going on which made it supaaa pleasing to the eyes. This was all fun and games till I realised pedaling backwards to break instead of using handle breaks proved quite difficult for me and nearly cycled in front of a tram...

Anyway! The market hall is a MUST VISIT - it had everything from savoury foods such as olives (so. many), meats and cheeses to sweet things like donuts (look. at. them) and cupcakes galooore. It reminded me of the Mercado san miguel in Madrid but in an even bigger building with a huuuge painted ceiling.

Later we parked up our bikes and explored some of the cute little street districts of Zwart and Witte, lined with shops and again, more outdoor cafes. It literally started pouring down with rain so we got some shelter inside Bazar, a Turkish bar/restaurant/hotel with another branch in Amsterdam. It was honestly stunning and I couldn't stop myself gazing around at the many coloured lanterns, fairy lights and colourful tiling - even the toilets and kitchenware were on point. 

If you're into gazing at some street art then wander far enough and you'll surely come across some weird and wonderful stuff in the side streets and around. They make for some good photo backdrops n all, not that I did that or anything...

That evening we hit Club Vibes - probably the sweatiest and cheesiest club in Rotterdam - it was 5 euros entry and we stayed right till 3am dancing to some cheesy spanish/french/dutch music and taking advantage of the cheap drinks. The next morning we felt a little delicate so just headed out for some tlc at UEB - urban espresso bar - for a refueling of coffee (I normally don't drink this much coffee and had 3 in the space of 2 days, LAXATIVE. OVERLOAD!) alongside a cheese/olive tapinade/sweet potatoe toastie with homemade ketchup. Love at first bite, ha.

Be sure to give Rotterdam a try on your next trip to the land of the clog...