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Day 3 - 13.11.22: A walking tour of Rotterdam….by coach!!

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

At 6am this morning Jane and I ventured onto the balcony and watched the ship glide into the port of Rotterdam. It was so smooth, very quiet and rather beautiful as we watched the dawn rising and the sky change colour from a very deep nighttime blue to a gorgeous red and yellow hue. It was gorgeous.

We’d already pre-booked a walking tour of Rotterdam which didn’t start until 1.45pm so yesterday evening we’d perused todays daily programme and highlighted the activities we wanted to take part in. Top of the list was the Remembrance Sunday church service in the Royal Court Theatre but before that we had other things to do……

We decided to forgo the buffet style breakfast in the Lido restaurant and instead took breakfast in the Brittania restaurant where it’s silver service all the way. And why not. It’s a smaller menu so no dithering about what to choose, its a lovely setting and we wanted to make the most of the wonderful service. Straight after breakfast we headed off to the Chart Room bar for our morning coffee fix and once again enjoyed a very well presented cappuccino. We needed to psych ourselves up for this mornings quiz at 10am and hoped we’d fare better than yesterday. Luck seemed to be on our side as there were only fifteen of us in the quiz……this being a ‘shore day’ seemed everyone was off to Amsterdam. Yep, we’ve definitely got this in the bag we thought as we surveyed the competition. As we know, a quiz is only as good as the questions you know and we knew fourteen of them, one more than yesterday but alas, it wasn’t a winning score. Oh well, there’s always tonight!

After the quiz we took ourselves to the Remembrance Service which was probably one of the best we have ever attended. It was a very moving service which very aptly focused on the sea. The readings and poems that were read out were particularly moving and thought provoking. It truly was a beautiful service and we’re so glad we went.

Needing to fill in time before lunch we attempted to walk around the deck hoping to beat our 5min 5second lap and to get some steps in but unfortunately our attempts were thwarted as parts of the deck were cordoned off due to ongoing ship maintenance. Ah well, we’d get plenty of steps in on our ‘walking tour’ this afternoon and with that we found three sun-beds in the sun, stretched out and had a brief siesta before lunch. The sky was blue and although the air was cold it was warm in the sun. Hey, whats not to love!

After lunch we returned to our stateroom, changed into warmer clothes and made our way down to Deck 2 to disembark for our ‘Architectural walking tour of Rotterdam’. Not happy with her choice of outfit we had to wait for Maice to return to the room, dither about what to wear, reassemble her outfit and finally return to Deck 2 where we ventured forth to the waiting coach ready to take us into Rotterdam for the start of our walking tour. There were only eleven of us on the trip, a nice manageable number for a walking tour, we thought! We always like to do a walking tour when we go on a city break, you see things that you wouldn’t normally see and they’re usually very informative so we were really looking forward to this one and getting in some much needed steps.

The architecture in Rotterdam is weird, wonderful and wacky, which is why we chose this tour. Apparently on May 14, 1940, almost the entire city centre was wiped out by German bombs in an attack that lasted barely 15 minutes. 900 lives and 85,000 homes were lost and instead of rebuilding what used to be the city, the authorities of Rotterdam decided to completely reinvent itself.

The first stop on our ‘walking tour’ was the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen depot, known locally as the ‘plant pot’ due to its resemblance to a plant pot and its rooftop garden. A truly iconic building, its facia is completely made up of mirrored glass and is the first art storage facility to open its doors to the public. You can go up to the top but we only got to walk around it before we ‘got back on the coach’!

We were then ‘driven’ to Centraal Station, an impressive building on the outside but not so much inside (it has a metal roof partly covered in solar panels) before……….getting back on the coach to continue our ‘walking tour’ to the the Kijk-Kubus, otherwise known as the Cube Houses, a collection of fifty eight cubed houses which are supposed to represent an urban forest! The jury’s out on that one but we did manage to go inside one. Not for tall people they are extremely bijou with a lot of wasted space that can’t be used for anything due to their strange design. Mmm, not quite for us! And with that it was…..back on the coach! By this time we’ve probably only managed to clock up 999 steps and most of those have been for getting on and off the bus!

Our next stop was the Markthal, an impressive building that supposedly resembles a giant steel marshmallow and contains approx 200 apartments that look inside the market hall. Its ceiling is covered with giant flying fruits, flowers, and insects! A strange concept, make of it what you will….! From here we actually ‘walked’ to the next iconic building which showcased old and new together. The result of an Architectural competition it’s a municipal building in the middle and flats on the outside, all balconies face the sun and the facade of the building is made of glass. From here we walked, yes we walked back to the coach. We were supposed to have an hours free time but that didn’t transpire and before we knew it we were back on the ship. It was an interesting trip but not quite what we’d anticipated and now we’re down on our daily steppage. The stairs it is then……

Feeling peckish we picked up a small plate of snacks from the Lido buffet, Maice taking them back to our stateroom as Jane and I didn’t want to get stopped by the Matre’d! Honestly what are we like! The only issue we had was that we only had four pieces of cheese between three of us!!! We drank our champagne and ate our meagre plate of ‘nibbles’, dolled ourselves up and went to the Commodore Club for pre-dinner cocktails and watched the ship sail out of the harbour.

After another sumptuous dinner we headed to the Yacht club to take part in the ‘Hits from the movies themed music quiz’. It was packed and with standing room only we attempted to answer the questions. After the first six we admitted defeat as we didn’t have a clue and couldn‘t answer any of the questions so headed back to the Commodore Club and drowned our sorrows with another cocktail. By 11.30pm we’d changed into comfy shoes and found ourselves in the Lido buffet restaurant, filling up our water bottles and eating pizza! Ah well, it had to be done……!

Until the morrow…….M A & J xxx

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