I had an amazing night’s sleep after the Star Wars marathon of the previous evening.
One of those slumbers that are deep and blissfully undisturbed, and you wake up feeling relaxed and refreshed.
Even the beeping of the street crossing below didn’t bother my sleep that morning.
We had breakfast and discussed what we were going to do. Originally, we had said we would come up with a plan on my first night. That didn’t happen, so we were just deciding day by day.
D kindly offered to drive me to Rotterdam so that I could see what is was like there.
He played loads of Dutch music for me in the car on the way up there. It turns out, the Dutch are pretty damn good at making cracking songs!
As we approached Rotterdam, you can immediately see the difference between it’s modern, glittering, built up skyline and the traditional narrow canal houses of Amsterdam.
We parked up and walked across the Erasmusbrug bridge (the 2nd largest in the Netherlands) with an unusual bit of “art” dangling off the side.
Over the bridge and across the road, there was a small mooring spot, presided over by some rather trippy looking apartments, which have apparently won a lot of architecture awards.
I could not stop staring, my head cast upwards as we walked underneath them. My brain was swimming around in circles and they actually made me feel a bit dizzy.
We passed a group of people playing giant chess outside, as you do…
and headed inside the Rotterdam market hall, which was full of food stalls and shops.
The arching walls are decorated in large, colourful photographs of flowers.
There were a vast variety of different stalls, selling cured meat, cheese and confectionary.
As well as a large oriental market that caught my curiosity with some of it’s products.
We wandered around here for quite a while before walking up the street. I’ve never spent much time in big cities, so I was just taking in the few of these
We wandered up to Central Station, the central transportation hub of Rotterdam, that took over a decade to build.
Rotterdam is renowned for its modern architecture…
and Central Station is no exception.
We took a look inside, which reminded me more of an airport shopping mall, and it took me a while to realise the music playing was not from speakers, but a girl that had sat down at a piano placed in the middle of the station and started to play.
We went and had a coffee before hopping on the tram back, passing a building with a car crashed through a wall of a second storey parking lot. We passed too quickly for me to take a picture, I had to do a double take at first. No on else seemed to notice, which made me wonder whether perhaps it was an art installation.
We headed back to the car and passed a windmill (the first windmill I have seen in Holland) on the way back.
We stopped off halfway to pop into Ikea for glasses and lightbulbs. I’ve never met a member of the male species who gets quite as excited about Ikea as I do!
We managed to leave with what we actually needed, which with places like Ikea, I feel deserves at least a pat on the back.
Once we got back to Haarlem, D took me to a traditional cheese shop, much to my ridiculous excitement! That’s not even sarcasm, I am genuinely obsessed with cheese, and free samples, which they also had, so it made me pretty happy.
He selected several kinds of cheese for us to have later after dinner.
We then nipped to the supermarket and got a bottle of red wine (because why would you have really really good cheese with a glass of water?), pizza bases, and vegetables etc. for toppings.
We got back to the apartment, made our pizzas, and sat down to watch Jim Jefferies – who for those of you who don’t know, is a lovably awkward and offensive Australian comedian.
We let the pizza go down first, then D lit some candles and grabbed the red wine and cheese. He told me some facts and about how each cheese was made and how long it was matured for.
What a gent!
With a rather full belly, and after finishing off the wine, it was time to go to the land of nod.