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2013 SEPT NETHERLANDS - A QUICK HELLO TO HOLLAND

2day stopover to collect stuff

rain 18 °C

Saturday 7th Sept 13 (day 7)

Arriving at 7am the sun had only just risen, and it was somewhat colder than the Asian continent. We had a coffee at the airport before catching a train to Rotterdam, where I had booked a hotel for the next 2 nights. Hotel check-in is 3pm so there was no great rush to get there. After recharging our Dutch transport cards we boarded a train that promised to take us from Schiphol airport to Rotterdam in 25 Minutes for 11.20 euro (just under $20) - a bit more expensive here compared to public transport costs in Asia. Welcome to Europe!

The sky looked bleak as we travelled across the countryside to Rotterdam. Ironically as soon as we stepped out of the covered train station it started to rain. It was only light rain and luckily the hotel was not too far to walk according to my hotel mud map. Again my navigational skills failed me and we did take the long route to reach the Grand Central Hotel, but the short walk was welcomed after so many hours sitting in a cramped plane seat. Hotel found, we were advised the room of course was not yet available, fair enough as it was still too early at 9am. We were welcome to sit in the foyer which is what we did and by 10.30 our room was ready to move into. Pretty good service. We settled in and then went out for a walk to look around and to find some lunch. Downtown Rotterdam was a pretty dead place on a Saturday morning even though the weather had cleared. Walking up the main shopping street it was almost noon before all shops were open and people started to appear. At the end of the main drag we came across the weekly outdoor market which we had a walk around. Lots of fresh fruit and veggies and the in season choices were looking lovely, fresh and reasonable prices were displayed. A few mouth watering fish mongers were also displaying their goods and Lyn & I could not manage to walk past a mussel stall without indulging. Wow they were very yummy and we shared very generous portion size for 5 euro ($8.00). On the way out of the market we also purchased a smoked mackerel fish which we ate back at the hotel with fresh bread bought from a supermarket.
There were a few more people out and about now. The sky had cleared and the Main Street was now swarming with Saturday shoppers.

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Didn't do much for the rest of the day. We had a dinner date who met us at the hotel at 7pm. We met Peter12 a few trips ago when we stayed with him when he lived in the south of Holland. Coincidentally, Peter now lives in Rotterdam and we all went out for dinner to catch up. We chose a restaurant not far from the hotel and all ordered a slab of ribs. It was great to see our friend again and although the ribs were all you could eat, due to the extra large initial serve we couldn't fit any more in.

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Walking back to the hotel we realised that although the hotel seemed in a good position during the day, during the night we seemed to be in the middle of the all night bars area. Loud music, very loud music continued until the early hours. 5am was the last time I woke and it was just starting to quiet down then. Call me old but I prefer sleep to all night, than listening to loud partying these days.

Sunday 8th Sept 13 (day 8)

Not a wonderful nights sleep due to all the noise outside. Woke up to a wet day.

Breakfast provided by the hotel was fantastic and we spend at least an hour over a leisurely Sunday morning breakfast.

I came up with the idea to perhaps hire bicycles today and have a bit of a ride around. The weather put a kibosh on that idea so we are having a vege out day in front of the telly instead. Feeling no guilt about a lazy day as we paid for a nice room and intend to get our money's worth! Like I said soon we will be spending our nights in a tent so we are enjoying these comforts without guilt while we can.

However we needed to leave the comforts of our room at 6pm and catch a train to The Hague. We had a 7pm appointment to collect some of our belongings that we left with a friend last trip. It's important stuff that we need for our bike trip in France. The train from Rotterdam to The Hague is only about 30 minutes and from memory we knew we'd be able to get a tram from the station to where we needed to be. Of course no one had informed us that the tram line we wanted to ride had closed down, so we had little choice but to walk the distance. It wasn't really that far and probably only took us about 25 minutes, but of course again, ironically, it started to pour down with rain about 5 minutes into our walk. Luckily we had our rain ponchos with us, but still walking in the pissing down rain is no fun. Our bag of goodies collected, we headed just around the corner to a favourite restaurant we always like to eat at when we're in this neck of the woods.

Seafood calzone was on the menu and we managed to dry off while having dinner and the rain had eased a bit for the rest of our walk back to the train station.

Back in our hotel room, it hit home that we really do have too much luggage for the type of trip we are attempting. And yet everything we have is really the bare minimum needed for the type of trip we are doing. Stuck between a rock and a hard place I went online and purchased extra check in luggage weight for our flight to France tomorrow. It will be fine.

A little exciting as the adventure will really start to take shape tomorrow.

Look out France - here we come.

See the itinerary of this trip, and details about each destination.

Posted by Cindy Bruin 23:44 Archived in Netherlands Tagged rotterdam Comments (2)

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