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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rotterdam Road Trip!

A Dutch trashcan-'Restafval'. Called similarly in German: 'Restabfall'.
So, normally on any given Sunday  in America I wouldn't have the chance to visit another country within a day's drive of where I live in Pennsylvania.  Yesterday, I found out that this was not the case if I live in Germany.  Or, I guess, for that matter, many locations in Central Europe.

This is me with said trashcan.
Yes, yesterday I was able to drive two hours (or, rather, ride as a passenger) to the lovely city of Rotterdam where I visited my lovely friend Ashley and her beautiful family and then when almost compelled to begin the drive back to Germany was instead persuaded by my adventurous boyfriend to explore the city further for a few more hours as the daylight dwindled.

Ah, bikes!
cool buildings at downtown harbor.
Luckily, he had the right idea with that instinct.  We were able to see a lot of things, even though it was a Sunday in the later part of the afternoon, which I automatically consider the most un-tourist-friendly time of day in European cities.  And, who can blame them?   I understand that at least once a week it is nice to get a break from one's work.  Though, I was pleasantly surprised by Rotterdam's tourist friendly store hours (most were open til 6pm on Sunday evenings) and their large variety of outdoor tourist-friendly sights and experiences.

Note the cube houses-they are actually museums and hostels!
Strangely dazzling weather at harbor.
Not sure what these were!
More superb weather!
More downtown-harbor area.
This ship was HUGE! And just parked in the harbor. Apparently it came from Portugal-nice!
Since Rotterdam is a port city, and one of the biggest ports in all of Europe says my boyfriend, we were able to walk around quite a bit by the water of the canals and the harbor, seeing all sorts of wonderful bridges, boats, skylines and vistas of the sun's beginning to fade.  Though we missed the zoo, which apparently has an underwater tunnel where fish swim over you and you can experience the sea from a bottom dweller's perspective (which we will undoubtedly have to do next time we are there), we did get to see many remarkable architectural styles (something Ashley noted Rotterdam is famous for and becoming moreso year by year) and that was pretty darn good, I think, for a Sunday and a two hour drive one way, right?

Oh, and I should note one thing about the interesting looking trashcans in the first pictures-they are actually really small but the metal grate below them holds as much trash as one of those dumpsters we are used to seeing outside of businesses in America.  Therefore, they are emptied by being picked up by the trash trucks with the part that sticks out on the top of the can  and dumped into the trucks.  And the funniest part about that is, when you are throwing trash into the can the area below is so large you can't actually see the bottom.  Who knew?


  1. Sounds like you had so much fun! :-) I LOVE your hat- you look so cute! -xo maria

  2. Julia! I really enjoyed reading your post and seeing your pictures! Whoo hoo to you! We may be travelling to Belgium at some point, so how long are you going to be in Germany? Perhaps while we're across the pond we should come for a visit. Anyways, it sounds like you're having the time of your life! I'm so proud of you and your aspirations. I, myself, aspire not to get the crap beaten out of me by a 10 year old, or to actually teach something good about life to kindergarteners... sometimes I wish I could trade shoes with world travellers, but living vicariously through your blog at the moment suits me quite well. I feel that I've been making positive strides in the 'educating America's youth' (in an urban school, nonetheless) department, so I'm decently happy. ;-) Hope you're having a great week, and talk to you soon! :) -Alicia Messenger