Arriving in Rotterdam

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Rotterdam Central Station – shaped like a shark’s mouth

Our fast intercity train did not take long to reach Rotterdam Central Station. This is a very odd-looking building – someone remarked that it resembles the open mouth of a shark about to leap out of the water. What do you think?

I was very hungry and thirsty by then, so I was most relieved when one of Richard’s colleagues sensibly suggested that we should have some refreshments at Starbucks restaurant inside the Station. Thank you, Carla, what an excellent suggestion.

We had some coffee and tea – and a bite of the fluffiest lightest donut, dusted with just a hint of sugar, that I had ever tasted. I could have easily polished off the whole one.

Donut, tea and coffee at Starbucks

Afterwards, we went our separate ways to check into our various hotels. Some of Richard’s colleagues were staying at the Hilton, others were in the Holiday Inn, and we were  booked into Hotel Emma, which is in Nieuwe Binnenweg. Fortunately, it was not far from the Central Station. Along the way, we passed De Doelen, which is the conference centre, where the Engineering Meeting for the Square Kilometre Array project is being held this week.

This, you may know, is an international project to build the largest earth-based radio telescope array in the world. It is being co-hosted by South Africa and Australia, but engineers and scientists from many countries around the world are involved. It is quite fascinating. I was lucky enough to fly with Richard to the site of the telescope in the Karoo once; it was very impressive indeed!

Walking to our hotel was unexpectedly exciting!

Trams and cars and bicycles and pedestrians all share the road – it’s terrifying!

My friends and I quickly learned that you need eyes in the back of your head! There are not just cars on the road, but also cyclists – hundreds and hundreds of them! – as well as motorcycles, trucks, buses, and trams! We realised that the cyclists have their own lane – and they don’t stop for pedestrians; you may have to leap smartly out of the way! Reggie and I were spellbound by the cyclists… they all look like they are born on their bikes! They glide along effortlessly, hardly pedalling, no huffing and puffing, no red faces, just looking relaxed and elegant. Rotterdamers must be very fit people.

Crossing the tracks of the trams was particularly disconcerting. I’ve never seen that before, and it felt quite wrong to walk across the tracks themselves. They run in the middle of the road, which they seem to share with cars! It’s so strange. Most of the time, the cars and buses actually stop at pedestrian crossings, when someone is waiting to cross. That doesn’t happen in South Africa. Reggie and I kept waving ‘thank you!’ to the motorists and cyclists when they allowed us to cross safely, but I didn’t see any of the locals doing that.


6 thoughts on “Arriving in Rotterdam

  1. Hi FlatKathy – you are there at last! Hope Reggie survived the ‘plane trip ok? Wishing you a wonderful time. Your makeover looks great! Love G xx

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    1. Thank you, Glynnis. Yes, thankfully all went well with our long flight to Amsterdam.

      P.S. The makeover was such fun! Flat Kathy looks quite fetching now.

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    1. Yes, our friend has come a long way (literally) from that first walk in the woods in Nova Scotia… I too keep being impressed by her adventurous spirit and unquenchable curiosity. I hope it’ll rub off on me.

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    1. Flat Kathy says: “Hello dear Paprika, it is lovely to hear from you. My friends and I are almost at the end of our journey in Europe. We have seen so many places! But I have not been able to do any blogging on the road, unfortunately. I hope I’ll be able to tell you all about it when we are back in Cape Town.”

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