Rotterdam for a few days

Mar 17th, 2019, 05:06 AM
  #1  
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Rotterdam for a few days

As usual, I'm planning a trip at the last minute. I want to visit relatives in Ireland, and since there are no direct flights from airports near me, we've decided to add a few days in the Netherlands. We can get a direct flight from Bologna to Eindhoven, at a convenient time of day, and then take a train to Rotterdam. It's a bit of long train ride, but our alternative would be to spend a night in Bologna (or Rome) to catch an early flight.

I lived in Rotterdam in 1986, with my two children, and I'd really like to see my old haunts. My husband has only been to the Netherlands on a short stopover en route to the US, when we took a quick walk around central Amsterdam and a flying visit to Leiden. I don't want to totally bore my husband with my nostalgia visits, so I want to plan a few things specifically interesting to him. He enjoys traveling, but wants no part of the planning, in order to reserve his complete liberty to grouse. The only stipulation he makes is that we not try to cram in too much.

I'm thinking of three or four full days in Rotterdam. One thing I'd like to do is to take the fast ferry to Kinderdijk to see the windmills. Maybe a self-guided tour of the harbour. One day we'll go to the Hague, where I used to work, and we'll stop in Delftshaven. Maybe we could also visit Delft the same day or another day. I've been to Delft many times, and my husband would be happy with a quick visit.

My husband is an engineer, and one of the things I know would interest him is a visit to some of the flood control works. I've seen some guided tours in English, but my husband's English is minimal, although he reads it fairly well. The best thing for him would be a place with good explanatory written signs or booklets (in English or Italian). We won't have a car, so it would have to be a tour or a place convenient to public transportation.

Any advice welcome!
bvlenci is online now  
Mar 17th, 2019, 05:27 AM
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Well, whatever his language skills may be, if he's Italian he no doubt likes food, so a trip to the Market Hall might work.He also might like the Hard Hat Tours: https://www.derotterdamweekendtours.nl/depot/
StCirq is online now  
Mar 17th, 2019, 08:49 AM
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Most every Dutch person under 85 speaks English it seems - especially in a place like Rotterdam - tours should all have English versions or are bi-lingual. Trains are great - for lots of info on trains check www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.
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Mar 17th, 2019, 10:09 AM
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Palenq, as I said, my husband's English isn't up to following a tour guide. I'm hoping to do a self-guided tour, but I want to go to a spot with plenty of informational signs or brochures. My husband reads English fairly well, and I can translate whatever he doesn't understand
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Mar 17th, 2019, 10:18 AM
  #5  
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StCirq, Italians pretty much like only Italian food! I went to Czechoslovakia and Austria once with a group of friends. I was the only one who enjoyed the food. The Italians practically starved. You should have seen the long faces when they were served knödel in broth as a first course. I thought the goulash would win their hearts, but no joy.

Anyway I'm trying to avoid tours, as I told Palenq.

Last edited by bvlenci; Mar 17th, 2019 at 10:21 AM.
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Mar 17th, 2019, 10:21 AM
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by bvlenci View Post
As usual, I'm planning a trip at the last minute. I want to visit relatives in Ireland, and since there are no direct flights from airports near me, we've decided to add a few days in the Netherlands. We can get a direct flight from Bologna to Eindhoven, at a convenient time of day, and then take a train to Rotterdam. It's a bit of long train ride, but our alternative would be to spend a night in Bologna (or Rome) to catch an early flight.

I lived in Rotterdam in 1986, with my two children, and I'd really like to see my old haunts. My husband has only been to the Netherlands on a short stopover en route to the US, when we took a quick walk around central Amsterdam and a flying visit to Leiden. I don't want to totally bore my husband with my nostalgia visits, so I want to plan a few things specifically interesting to him. He enjoys traveling, but wants no part of the planning, in order to reserve his complete liberty to grouse. The only stipulation he makes is that we not try to cram in too much.

I'm thinking of three or four full days in Rotterdam. One thing I'd like to do is to take the fast ferry to Kinderdijk to see the windmills. Maybe a self-guided tour of the harbour. One day we'll go to the Hague, where I used to work, and we'll stop in Delftshaven. Maybe we could also visit Delft the same day or another day. I've been to Delft many times, and my husband would be happy with a quick visit.

My husband is an engineer, and one of the things I know would interest him is a visit to some of the flood control works. I've seen some guided tours in English, but my husband's English is minimal, although he reads it fairly well. The best thing for him would be a place with good explanatory written signs or booklets (in English or Italian). We won't have a car, so it would have to be a tour or a place convenient to public transportation.

Any advice welcome!
Hi! I live in Rotterdam and joyously so.

What are your "old haunts" if I may ask. 1986 and now in Rotterdam: a remarkable difference! Even for people who visit every 2 years or so, the city can have changed in remarkable ways.

For a self guided tour through our port, don't go the Spido route (overpriced!) instead, take the Waterbus from Erasmusbrug to RDM (an old shipyard, now high tech campus) They're high speed craft and getting to RDM takes about 20 minutes. On your way back, you might want to get off at the Katendrecht stop, which is now where the "old" SS Rotterdam has its berth. A good spot for lunch or dinner, or, walk back towards the city via Katendrecht (which witnessed a remarkable transformation) stopping at Feniks Food Factory, or the food halls on Wilhelminapier. There are good places for dinner in Katendrecht, and of course, there's Hotel New York, in the old Holland America Line offices, also on Wilhelminapier.

For an engineer, Maeslantkering might be a good destination: https://www.keringhuis.nl/english
However, due to a weird convergence of circumstances, Maeslantkering is difficult to reach by car, with no viable public transport options.
Something I always feel is very attractive is 2e Maasvlakte, but that too is almost out of reach.
If you are there on a sunday there's https://industrieeltoerisme.com/dagtour/ an extensive outing (by bus) to 2e Maasvlakte. There will be a knowledgeable guide, and the trip out and back to Maasvlakte will be by boat.

And if you want a tour around the neighbourhood where I live, a prime example of "reconstruction" Rotterdam after the bombing, drop me a line by PM

If you want to go to Kinderdijk, also consider visiting Dordrecht. The oldest city in the province of Zuid Holland, and cradle of Dutch calvinism, the Dutch language and the Dutch Republic! It's on the same waterbus service as is Kinderdijk. So you could travel to Dordrecht in the morning, visit there (The new Hof van Holland museum is very good), take the Waterbus to Ridderkerk, change to the ferry to Kinderdijk, visit there, and then continue back to Rotterdam. If you like Delft and Delfshaven, you'll be pleasantly surprised by Dordt. Especially arriving there by Waterbus shows you the city as it is meant to be seen: from the river. Dordrecht and also the Waterbus give you access to a wetland area of great beauty, Biesbosch.


Last edited by menachem; Mar 17th, 2019 at 10:30 AM.
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Mar 17th, 2019, 11:19 AM
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Thanks Menachem, I hoped you would reply.

I lived in what was a new development at the time, on Jan ter Laan Plaats. I think the neighborhood is De Esch?

We used to spend time in Delftshaven, where one of my daughters sang in the choir of St. Mary's Church, an Anglican/Old Catholic church associated with the Seaman's Institute. I was back there about ten years later, and Delftshaven was already very changed (for the worse, I thought.) My children loved the old Dubbelde Palmboom museum, which is no more. We often had lunch there; they had great apple tart.

I've been to Dordrecht, but I wouldn't mind visiting again. Your neighborhood sounds very interesting. I'll be in touch!

One thing I regret is that our trip will be too early for the Hollandse Nieuwe.
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Mar 17th, 2019, 11:35 AM
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Herring - ugh - especially raw with onions - must be a taste one develops as many Dutch seem to love it - taking herring by tail and seemingly swallowing whole - not for me!

A nice less heralded trip from Rotterdam could go to nearby Gouda and one of the nicest of all Dutch regional towns -if you like to bicycle train to Gouda - rent a bike in Rotterdam and take it on the train to Gouda and after walking around this neat town famous for its cheeses cycle the maybe 12-15 miles over flat polders to Kinderdijk - take boat back to Rotterdam or cycle on nice cycle paths though these can get hectic at rush hours.

dordrecht to me is one of the more underrated Dutch regional towns.
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Mar 17th, 2019, 11:43 AM
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​​​​​We were lucky to be in the Netherlands one year just in time for the Hollander Nieuwe and loved them. They’re a treat for fish lovers.
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Mar 18th, 2019, 02:24 AM
  #10  
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Herring - ugh - especially raw with onions - must be a taste one develops as many Dutch seem to love it - taking herring by tail and seemingly swallowing whole - not for me!
I ate my Hollandse Nieuwe on a hot dog bun, sometimes with a little onion. Maybe not elegant, but I loved them.

We used to go often to Gouda. At that time, you could rent a bike at the train station in Gouda. However, that was over 30 years ago, when there was a lot less wear and tear on my knees. I don't think I'm up for a 12-mile bike trip.
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Mar 18th, 2019, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by bvlenci View Post
Thanks Menachem, I hoped you would reply.

I lived in what was a new development at the time, on Jan ter Laan Plaats. I think the neighborhood is De Esch?

We used to spend time in Delftshaven, where one of my daughters sang in the choir of St. Mary's Church, an Anglican/Old Catholic church associated with the Seaman's Institute. I was back there about ten years later, and Delftshaven was already very changed (for the worse, I thought.) My children loved the old Dubbelde Palmboom museum, which is no more. We often had lunch there; they had great apple tart.

I've been to Dordrecht, but I wouldn't mind visiting again. Your neighborhood sounds very interesting. I'll be in touch!

One thing I regret is that our trip will be too early for the Hollandse Nieuwe.
I live on Mariniersweg, so very central. My neighbourhood is around the eastern end of Hoogstraat, towards Oostplein. A bywater in 1986, now an area with coffee places that are frequented by -gasp- hipsters.
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Mar 18th, 2019, 01:14 PM
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I've got my dates fixed now, and have booked all three flights:

13th May Bologna->Amsterdam arriving around 4 PM
17th May Amsterdam->Belfast, leaving 12:35

The Belfast -> Bologna bit is irrelevant to this post, so I'll leave it. In Northern Ireland, we're just going to visit some of my relatives.

We'll have four nights in Rotterdam. I assume we can safely get to Schiphol by 12:35 on the last day. So we have three full days, and a bit of the arrival day. I would have liked to have four full days, but we can't leave before the 13th and I want to be in Ireland by the weekend, because some of the relatives work during the week.

I like Menachem's idea of visiting Dordrecht on the day we go to Kinderdijk. On another day we can go to the Hague, stopping in Delft on the way, and maybe a quick visit to Delftshaven on the way back, for old time's sake. In the Hague, I do want to see the Central Bureau of Statistics building, where I worked, but not for the CBS. I'd also like to see the place where I house sat for a month, but I can't remember the street name. I might be able to find it from an ex-colleague. There are lots of other things to see in the Hague, but we don't have time to see them all. One I'd like to see again is the Mauritshaus Museum.

I assume that on one of these two days we could see where I used to live. That leaves a full day for Rotterdam and/or maybe a flood control visit.

I'm now trying to decide on a hotel. Two that I've looked at are the Old Dike B&B on Sionstraat, and the Student Hotel. Both are in the Kralingen neighborhood, and not terribly far from where I used to live. The Student Hotel seems cheap and cheerful, and the Old Dike seems to be an apartment rather than a B&B, and is in what looks to be an atmospheric neighborhood (or at least not modern). I'm leaning toward the Student Hotel, even though we're well past the student age.

I welcome any suggested modifications or improvements to my plans.

Last edited by bvlenci; Mar 18th, 2019 at 01:17 PM.
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Mar 18th, 2019, 01:38 PM
  #13  
 
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Husband may be interested in the Delta Works - an extraordinary example called the world's large flood surge control near Rotterdam and buses from there to the works, which have an interpretative center.

https://www.holland.com/global/touri...elta-works.htm

https://www.google.com/search?q=rott...ih=613&dpr=1.5
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Mar 18th, 2019, 02:28 PM
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If you haven't been try to see the Panorama Mesdag if you go to Den Haag.

Last edited by hetismij2; Mar 18th, 2019 at 02:29 PM. Reason: typo
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Mar 18th, 2019, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by hetismij2 View Post
If you haven't been try to see the Panorama Mesdag if you go to Den Haag.
Yes, please do this.
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Mar 18th, 2019, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
Husband may be interested in the Delta Works - an extraordinary example called the world's large flood surge control near Rotterdam and buses from there to the works, which have an interpretative center.

https://www.holland.com/global/touri...elta-works.htm

https://www.google.com/search?q=rott...ih=613&dpr=1.5
I know Dutch psychological distances are different from American distances. However, the Deltawerken (the big dams, bc Maeslantkering and the surge barrier at Krimpen a/d IJssel are also, technically, part of the scheme) are not "near Rotterdam" and are almost impossible to reach via public transport (a bus) from Rotterdam. There are tours, it's true, but that was one thing that was ruled out by the OP as an option, I think.
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Mar 18th, 2019, 11:17 PM
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The Student Hotel in Rotterdam is nice. There's a restaurant, it's close to Kralingen and the tram stops right in front.
You'll be surrounded by (mostly international) students. I wouldn't hesitate to stay there.
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Mar 19th, 2019, 01:06 AM
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I was looking into the Delta Works yesterday. It seems we could get there by bus from Rotterdam Zuidplein, changing in Oude-Tonge. It would take between 2 and 2 1/2 hours depending on the connections. I'm sure my husband would enjoy seeing it, and maybe even the bus ride would be scenic. (Wishful thinking?)

Maybe we could get an Uber driver to get there. That's only a little over an hour; then return by bus. I've never used Uber, and have some negative feelings about the service. It would be a full day anyway we might do it, so it's not an easy decision. There are so many other possibilities.
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Mar 19th, 2019, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Tulips View Post
The Student Hotel in Rotterdam is nice. There's a restaurant, it's close to Kralingen and the tram stops right in front.
You'll be surrounded by (mostly international) students. I wouldn't hesitate to stay there.

Great location on Oostzeedijk too. And near Kralingen. What's not to like?

bvlenci
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Mar 19th, 2019, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by bvlenci View Post
I was looking into the Delta Works yesterday. It seems we could get there by bus from Rotterdam Zuidplein, changing in Oude-Tonge. It would take between 2 and 2 1/2 hours depending on the connections. I'm sure my husband would enjoy seeing it, and maybe even the bus ride would be scenic. (Wishful thinking?)

Maybe we could get an Uber driver to get there. That's only a little over an hour; then return by bus. I've never used Uber, and have some negative feelings about the service. It would be a full day anyway we might do it, so it's not an easy decision. There are so many other possibilities.
I did that once, because I had to meet someone in Ooltgensplaat. My advice: don't think it's viable, especially going back. It's not a scenic ride. Also, in Rotterdam, Uber is thin on the ground.
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