Happy almost-weekend you guys! I’m sure a lot of you are looking forward to July long weekend in Canada, taking a little break from the day-to-day and enjoying your fabulous weekend plans. I’m just overly stoked with finally making the transition to This Unexpected Love! A glass of wine awaits on my patio in celebration. But let’s not get carried away in our weekend plans just yet.
My mind is in Holland. Back in 2013, there was no one in the world who could convince me that there was a better place in the world to live than Holland. My heart belonged to the country I was leaving behind to be with my hubby and his two kids in Canada.
Some might have believed I was a complete whack-job for uprooting my life like that.
4 years later and I’ve settled into my new life in Canada. It’s pretty obvious that I have an accent but not in an ‘ooooh, she’s from Holland’ type of way. It’s faded over the years, making it hard for people to guess where I’m from. When I tell them I’m from Holland, I’m usually met with the typical “ooh, are you from Amsterdam? They have the Red Light District, canals, everyone rides a bicycle and smokes weed!!!”
But I’m not. I’m from Rotterdam, well a town close to Rotterdam. But let’s just say Rotterdam to make this all easier.
After all these years in Canada I finally went on a trip to Holland this past spring. It was a long time overdue. My itinerary was packed with trips visiting family and friends.
Introduction to Rotterdam
I’m no expert on Rotterdam's history but with a little Google search, I can tell you that Rotterdam has a rich history that dates back to 1270, which is a far cry from #Canada150. (A country I love equally as much with its own great history.) Rotterdam is a mix of old architecture and modern skyscrapers due to WWII. You’re reminded of this everywhere you look.
The crazy thing is, I don’t know the exact dates or all the details, approximately 72 years ago my dad was a tiny little baby laying in his crib when a bomb fell on their street. As it turned out, I was living was just a few blocks from where that happened decades later.
To say Rotterdam lays close to my heart is an understatement. It’s the place my dad loved and would take me on 40-minute one-way bicycle rides just to hang out in the city. It’s where I got to spend my university years and where I got to spread my wings and live on my own in pursuit of my career. Rotterdam is where I spent countless nights until the wee morning hours partying with friends and it’s where I met Matthew.
There are soooooooo many things you can do in Rotterdam. It’s a no-brainer that yes, you should check out the touristy places when you’re there. Even though I’m a huge fan of getting off the beaten path, I do love to see all the tourist attractions when visiting a new city. It’s part of the experience and the city after all. Plus some things are just worth seeing (just plan for it and get tickets in advance to avoid loooooonnnggg lines.)
Rotterdam is well known for the Erasmus Bridge, The Cube Houses, Euromast Tower, Rotterdam Zoo, the sint-Laurens church. A quick Tripadvisor search will lay it all out for you.
But I’m a fan of going off the beaten path and if you’re too make sure to check out these places.
Even though Matthew and I didn’t go to Delfshaven this past spring we did spend many summer nights there when we lived in Holland. The old district of Delfshaven, which unlike much of Rotterdam survived WWII largely unscathed, is a great place to go out for dinner and then head to a local bar to finish off your romantic evening.
Actually…. Saying this, we did wander through parts of Delfshaven on a late Saturday night. Make sure to check out Jazzcafe Dizzy. We passed it as a jazz band was playing their last set, unknown to us. It was Aaaah-mazing! And then they stopped playing, basically leaving me in tears…
Parqiet is a beautiful little cafe situated right in the middle of the park near the Euromast and I instantly fell in love with this place. When you sit on the patio it actually feels like you’ve escaped the city plus it’s a perfect place to bring kids. Order a drink, sit in the sun and let your kids run around the park while you keep an eye on them. It’s absolute perfection!! Don’t forget to order a side of bitterballen with krotenmustard (mustard made with beets or mustard and beets, I’m not sure), it’s delicious!
I know you North-Americans LOOOOVEEE your sports bars. I’m 99.99999% sure you can find a minimum of 8 tvs in every single pub where I live. Some restaurants can’t escape them either. It’s a little pet-peeve of mine because the men in my household are instantly glued to the tv. They turn into zombies and there’s nothing I can do to get there attention unless I dangle some food under their noses (they start drooling, FYI and I have a 60% success rate of getting their attention again).
Bar Panenka is a little different, as they say, themselves, it’s a classy high-end sports bar. They offer great food and a completely different atmosphere. But most games will be soccer matches, I’m assuming anyways.
With all the eating and drinking you are bound to be doing, based on my guide which I should probably rename “Where to eat and drink in Rotterdam as a local”. It’s highly recommended to stop in a Sajoer a smoothie and juice bar where you can find freakin' amazing beverages and food.
Typically, Matthew and I are totally the types of people who would check out the museums and local attractions. This trip was just a little different as it was a trip to reconnect with friends and family. Luckily, we got to squeeze in a few amazing outings I hope you get to enjoy as well!