We slept well in Tübingen and a generous frühstück fortified us for driving and the train trip that lay ahead. Or so we thought. The traffic jam on the approach to Stuttgart and a little extra mayhem while trying to return our rental car — due to loads of construction all around the bahnhof — delayed us just enough (20 minutes) to miss the first train to Düsseldorf, where we would transfer to the train for Rotterdam.
Long train ride short(ish): After a few announcements during the later train, which prompted exasperated sighs from the natives on board, and disturbingly slow progress toward Düsseldorf, it became clear that our journey had become detoured (through some nice scenery, actually, along the Rhine – we went right past a hotel we’d stayed at in Bacharach in 2012). In fact, when the train finally arrived in Köln, the conductor announced that this would be the terminus for the trip. Hmm. Yes, this means we still haven’t been to Düsseldorf, despite someone’s fondness for the Mel Brooks line from The Producers, “I was born in Düsseldorf und zat is why they call me Rolf”.
That meant finding out how to get another couple of trains to Rotterdam, where we arrived five hours later than we expected to, at 10pm. We were exhausted. Thankfully, we’d chosen very well when it came to the evening’s lodging. In fact, we had two nights in one hotel! Now called the Hotel New York, it’s a renovated former headquarters of the Holland America Line.
We slept oh-so-well and woke the next day to sunshine. Heading out, we walked over the Erasmusbrug (bridge), with views of the dazzling harbor, into the city center. Then a nice stroll through pretty Het Park, which translated means “The Park.” Huh. (A bit of history: On May 14, 1940, German bombs destroyed nearly all of Rotterdam’s city center. Rebuilding began within a couple of weeks of the end of the Second World War.)
It wasn’t long before we needed our morning meals. And did we find delicious ones at Loos (say “Lowe’s” in English), a basically perfect restaurant in the grand café tradition.
There’s a commitment to contemporary architecture in Rotterdam.
Warm day, and glad to get back to our hotel. But we mark Rotterdam as a very pleasant surprise. Now, a light supper at our hotel, in blazing summer sun. Let’s take a picture of food now.
Tomorrow we’ve got a boat, er, ship to catch. In the morning this view from our hotel window will be dominated by a large new presence.