We hopped on a train in Utrecht, read books and listened to music for 40 minutes, and then we were in Rotterdam. Transportation is SO EASY in the Netherlands. Which is just one thing I love about this country.
And remember how Utrecht was crazy about bikes? Well. It’s not just Utrecht. It’s pretty much everywhere in the Netherlands. This was the view we were greeted with upon arriving in Rotterdam…
SO MANY BIKES. (Just think how big a parking lot would have to be to hold this many cars!)
Along with great biking infrastructure, the Dutch are just more health-conscious in a way that focuses on an active lifestyle, rather than an obsession with being skinny and fad diets. See also: public zumba.
Rotterdam has been one of my favorite cities so far. It’s the second biggest city in the Netherlands, and the largest port in Europe.
It’s also just undeniably cool.
There are art murals and sculptures all over the city.
Many of which are modern and colorful. (So you pretty much have to stand in front of them and take a picture.)
The city is also very diverse. Nearly 50% of the people living in Rotterdam are either 1) not native to the Netherlands, or 2) have at least one parent born outside the country. In fact, the mayor is of Moroccan descent and is a practicing Muslim.
So if I’m being honest, part of the beauty of this city is that it’s just nice to be in a place where people are more accepting of differences and aren’t totally xenophobic. A place that realizes that “other people” are just people too.
(Can’t we all just get along??)
Which leads me to a less awesome fact about Rotterdam… it was completely destroyed by German bombing in WWII. The city hall (above) was one of the only buildings left standing, and only because the Nazis purposely left it unscathed so they could move their military headquarters there.
And while that is obviously a really, really horrible thing, that means that the city had to be completely rebuilt from scratch. And fairly recently. So there is tons of innovative and modern architecture here.
For example: Rotterdam, like most cities in Europe, has a big market hall, with lots of food stalls.
But it’s built inside of a huge domed structure.
With a gigantic piece of art covering the entire surface.
And as if that wasn’t already cool enough, the sides and top of the structure are apartments and office space. (When can I move in??)
The library is also pretty awesome.
(Yes, it’s that huge building with the stacked floors and yellow piping.)
Along with the standard books and DVDs, it has a giant chessboard, music practice rooms, and color-coded floors. (Pretty sure if the market hall rejects my housing application, I could just live here instead.)
Rotterdam also has a unique housing area, aka the cube houses.
AHHHH Rotterdam, stop being so cool! I’m dying over here.
I never expected to have a crush on a place like this, but I’m pretty much in love with this city.
And y’all, the grocery store has a Tex-Mex section. Which means TACOS. (So we obviously had to make some, and also gorge ourselves on guacamole all week.)
But I’m pretty sure it’s not just the Tex-Mex talking…
Rotterdam is just pretty Rotter-damn cool.