Rotterdam in a Day (part 1) – Jo’s Monday Walk

If you have only one day to spend in Rotterdam, let it be a Saturday. Because Saturday is market day. The central square is transformed into a wonderfully atmospheric old-fashioned market, with its friendly buzz, a melting pot of colors, smells and tastes, a treasure hunt and a sociologist’s dream. Such markets are found only in traditional Europe in a weekend.

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We started off from Noordereiland, which is an island in the middle of the city, crossing Willemsbrug, a huge bridge with red pillars.

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Rotterdam’s architecture is impressive. Impressively modern – high, large and whimsical. But also dramatically modern. The history of the city goes back to 1270 and as such one would expect at least the downtown to represent such respectable age. Unfortunately, the only remnant of the medieval city is Laurenskerk, a Protestant Cathedral completed in 1525. The rest was destroyed by the Germans in air attacks during World War II. The Cathedral survived because it served as a beacon to aim. The Town Hall is another survivor because Hitler wanted it for his headquarters.

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Today, however, the most popular tourist attraction in the center are the Cube Houses.

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Despite their awkward anti-dwelling shape, it’s a multi-apartment building where real people actually live 🙂 Designed by architect Piet Blom, it’s based on the concept of “living as an urban roof”: high density housing with sufficient space on the ground level. His design represents a village within a city, where each house represents a tree, and all the houses together, a forest. (Wiki)

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Each apartment has 3 floors and is about 100 square meters. For a nominal fee anyone can visit a Show Cube to see what it’s like to live in a Cube! The open space beneath the apartments hosts a surprisingly interactive Museum of Chess Pieces:

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Adjacent to Cube Houses is Pencil Tower, another creation of Blom. Hard to miss:

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But we are here for the market, aren’t we? Flowers, fruit, veggies, smoked meat and sausages, cheeses, fish cooked for you in a blink, fresh breads and mouth-watering olives. Hope you are hungry! This place can satisfy any picky taste.

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And just when you thought you’d had enough, turn around. This bubble of a building is a food pavilion! Excuisite wines and cheeses, best coffee from around the world, fancy bakeries and more olive stalls – there is no way to leave empty-handed nor empty-stomached 🙂

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Now when you’ve eaten to your heart’s content (read: tasted all the goodies you could get your eyes on!), it’s time to get on a bike. StayOkay international hostel is right here, in the Cube Houses and they rent out bicycles!

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At this point you might think “A day cannot get better than this!” but don’t bet too high just yet. Come back next week to see what One Day in Rotterdam has in store. Promise, you won’t be disappointed!

This post is linked to Jo’s Monday Walk. This week she is taking us to Thorp Perrow Arboretum to enjoy spectacular autumn! I also encourage you to visit the other walks – there is seething for every taste this week!

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14 thoughts on “Rotterdam in a Day (part 1) – Jo’s Monday Walk

  1. Pingback: Rotterdam in a Day (part 3) | Home that We Built

  2. Pingback: Rotterdam in a Day (part 2) – Wind mills – Jo’s Monday Walk | Home that We Built

  3. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : Following mountain goats! | restlessjo

  4. Rotterdam looks like a city that really rocks, Elena! It doesn’t get half the publicity of it’s sister Amsterdam, but looks just as interesting in its own way. Thank you for showcasing it so beautifully and for the link back to mine. I especially love the Piet Blom architecture and that monumental market structure. Oh, and the red bridge too, of course. I think I’d be pretty happy there 🙂 🙂

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