Rotterdam: A Second City that Deserves to be Discovered
I’m up in my corner office for a few days, on the sixth floor of the Inntel Hotel in Rotterdam. Once again an unsung and less heralded city has impressed me. Maybe it’s this grand hotel room, with the view of the Erasmus Bridge soaring above the harbor, and the tramways scooting across the river. The fast wifi, sauna in my room, and the exciting downtown I spent time in last night all added to the experience.
When I set foot in the Hotel New York’s high-ceilinged restaurant, which was once the office of the Holland America Line, the last stop for millions of immigrants to traveled to the US, I was also surprised. The huge restaurant was busy on a Tuesday night,
and the Christmas lights lent a festive air to the place. I took a seat at the bar and began to chat with Laura, the young bartender who was happy. She had just rented a place in the city, and she was very pleased to be living closer to work.
I ordered a big plate of Normandy oysters and some salmon, and thought about how often a second city like this doesn’t get as many visitors. Amsterdam, it was clear from talking with her, gets way more attention than this sturdy old port city. “What would you want to show someone who is visiting Rotterdam for a few days?” I asked her. She said that the Cube Houses here were very interesting. These are houses built upside down, in cube shapes. She added that weed seems to be a very big attraction here too.
I’m about to meet a guide who is taking me for a bike journey around Rotterdam, focusing on architecture, urban renewal and city culture. I’m find out more soon!
I took an Uber-x back to my hotel and then set out to explore downtown.
I stopped into a coffeeshop for a quick smoke. Unlike in Amsterdam where the friendly bud-tenders were behind a bar, here the pot was doled out from behind a glass window, as if it was a bank. Not nearly as casual. “It’s different here than in Amsterdam,” said the clerk. Then I walked down the street and heard some horns playing. It was a club with a top notch group playing rock and jazz, with a woman singer, a guy on trombone, with drums and guitar and keyboards. Good stuff!