Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Delft Ware & Rotterdammers

On the 24th of January a few friends and I set out to explore the close cities of Delft and Rotterdam. We spent the whole day walking around these cities, we took pictures, laughed, shopped, and ate some delicious food.

We arrived in Delft before noon and we were able to catch the little towns market. It was smaller than the market I am used to attending in Leiden. It was Saturday, which means the market is usually very busy and last till middle afternoon, buzzing with people we were able to see the fresh produce, the chicken stand, the fish market, as well as the odds and ends you need to fix your bike with. Ah, and the Stroopwaffle stand. Stroopwaffles, these are sweet cookie like waffles that are cooked hot and ready similar to a pancake and in between the two cookie like layers is a soft butterscotch syrup. They are a must try, I am hoping to send some home but will have to microwave them for a few seconds to get the syrup to melt in the middle. They are to delicious!

Back to Delft, this little city is the epitome of Holland, the little houses, cobblestone streets, delftware, and many churches. As I walked through the narrow streets I looked over the rooftops and noticed that in Delft alone there where, at least six giant, very old churches. At the towns square there were a few statues, on one end a large church and the other end was the towns government building but very brightly colored. My friends and I wanted to find the Delft ware, we were able to find the infamous shop, Aardewerk De Candelaer, not sure what that means but this shop is famous for allowing the public to come in an see Delft Ware being created. Unfortunately, we came on the day when both the artists were sick, so we were only able to look at the hanging work and make a few impulsive purchases. Walking around Delft for a few hours you are able to see the whole town as well as stop into the many little shops scattered through out the many cobblestone streets.

We left the town of Delft and hoped on the train for a short ride to Rotterdam, the city of Architechture and the 2nd largest port in the world. As we arrived in Rotterdam we noticed that the city is under a lot of construction especially around the central train station and bus depot. We found the tourist information hub and picked up maps and received some great advice on what there is to do. We decided to do our own personal walking tour. We picked up the self walking tour map and set out to explore the city.

Sites that we were able to see and learn about were, Nationale Nederlands, Lijbaan, Schielandshuis, Cube Houses, Oudehaven (old harbor), Erasmus Bridge, Syvette.

Nationale Nederlands is the highest building in the Netherlands. (151 meters)

Lijbaan is a famous street in the Netherlands, since it was opened in 1953 it is the busiest street in Rotterdam. It was Europe's first pedestianised shopping area.

Schielandshuis is the oldest building in the city of Rotterdam. It is named after the Dyke Board of Schieland. Napoleon visited Rotterdam in 1811 and stayed at the Schielandshuis. Today, it houses the history museum of Rotterdam.

Cube Houses, Piet Blom was commissioned by the city of Rotterdam to create a bridge between Blaak and the Oude Haven in a non traditional way. Each house consists of three floors, with the staircase in the supporting pile. You are able to go into these Yellow cube houses for a fee but soon you will be able to stay in a few of the houses that are unoccupied due to the Construction of a new hostel that will allow travelers to stay in these unique creations.

Oudehaven, we ate lunch at a Caption Morgan like pub on the harbor. The food was really good. We all sampled different dishes. I ordered a grilled Gouda and pineapple sandwich, others ordered curry soup, and goulash soup with a side of mozzarella and tomato pesto sandwiches. It was very good! There are historic ships moored in the harbor as well the first skyscraper in Europe stands and was built. It is a local hang out for wining, dining, and dancing.

Erasmus Bridge, built by Ben van Berkel (1996) the 800 meter bridge connects the northern and southern parts of Rotterdam. It has a 139 meter pylon which is suspended by 40 ropes. The shape of the bridge gave the bridge its nickname, "the swan."

The Syvette is located on the corner near Boijmans Van Beuningen, this sculpture created by both Carl Nesjar and Pablo Picasso.

The walking tour had 42 different monuments scattered through out the city and it took us to walk at a steady pace and taking pictures 2 hours at most to do the tour. We stopped in the middle have a late lunch but it was a nice day I had a great time walking through the city of Rotterdam. One last note about Rotterdam is it doesn't have a Netherlands or Holland look or feel to it, the people are very nice but due to the city being heavily bombed in WWII it had to rebuild which doesn't have the old look or Leiden or Delft. All in all the city is a young city and very vibrant. As we were leaving to head back at dusk the city is beautiful and full of lights.

The photos of our trip are embedded into the slide show.