Sabbatical Part 2/Rotterdam

Yesterday I arrived at the airport in Amsterdam, and after picking up my bag and clearing customs, got on the train to Rotterdam, the first destination for this trip.

Getting in the Hotel

Arriving in town around 10:30 I was unable to check into the hotel until after three, so I had a few hours to kill. Though, I did nearly leave my passport at the hotel desk. This wouldn’t have been too terrible since I needed to go back to the hotel anyhow, but it was a sign that I am clearly exhausted, and I need to unfuck my brain. After this, I clearly needed caffeine, and headed about a block from the hotel to Starbucks, for quick reminder of home in Seattle.

Between the Amsterdam airport,where all the signs are English first, then Dutch, and the Starbucks, where everyone just spoke English, I was somewhat wondering if anyone here actually spoke Dutch. Turns, out, yes, people here generally know English, and may even know it well, even if their ‘official’ language is something else.

After the coffee, I went out and explored the neighborhood. I only have two days here, so I need to make use of what I have. In addition, these are the two days that I intend to get over the jet lag from crossing over the Atlantic.

I found a cute little pedestrian mall. Though, downtown Rotterdam in general is very pedestrian friendly, particularly compared to the United States. Also, there seems to be more people on bikes on the roads than cars, that is something you need to keep an eye out for. Though, admitidly, the damage done from getting hit by a bike you didn’t see coming is likely significantly less than the damage from a car that wasn’t seen coming.

Rotterdam mall

After three I was able to check into the hotel, as I intended to use Rotterdam to get over jet lag, I didn’t actually have any plans, other than seeing some of the sites around Central Rotterdam, such as the cube houses, the city hall, the river, and the museum park, which I managed to accomplish prior to checking into the hotel.

Plotting the next phase
Fall colors and stuff

Once in the hotel, I began planning out the next phases of the trip. Since I had at this point essentially been priced out of Cologne, I decided I should make reservations now to keep that from happening again, and decided that the following Tuesday I would take a train to a Hamburg, which besides being one of the largest cities in Germany, had a Banksy exhibit I wanted to see, then on Thursday I would take a train to Berlin, where I would spend the following 4 evenings, the first significant stay of this trip. I also went ahead and made reservations at the Hampton Inn’s in those cities, because, Hilton or better.

Finding a Better Diet

Now that I am out nomadding on my own, I am really eating more fast food than I should be comfortable with. When back at home, my wife generally does cooking and I clean up after her, because cooking is hard. When we travel, we do dine out, but it’s generally at sit down restaurants, where there would generally be alcohol with our meals. On this trip, however, I’ve fallen back into the quick convenience of fast food, though, I suppose this does mean less drinking as well, which is likely a good thing.

That first night though I was in bed by 8, which unfortunately also meant that I was up again by midnight, and unable to get back to sleep. Damn jet lag.

The following day I got the hotel breakfast, and headed out to the mall area to pick up some hygiene stuff and connector cables that I had forgotten back in Seattle.

I also found a cute little breakfast/lunch dinner, By Jarmusch, where I had a Caesar Salad. I guess that makes up for all the fast food thatI had been eating at this point. Sure, it was mostly iceberg lettuce, cellulose, and water, with some croutons for good measure, but hey, it might be healthier than another meal from McDonald’s.

After meandering around town a bit more, I headed to Brew Dog Outpost, which claims to be a carbon negative brew pub. Besides beer, the fermenting of which creates carbon, and the amount of beef on the menu, with the related methane production, I’m not really sure how this brew pub can go all ESG and whatnot. Anyhow, the beer and burgers were tasty, even if they produced a shit ton of carbon that they then had to remove from the air, and then some, by some means.

Meandering along the river

I then headed back to the room before heading to another bar before heading to another one, this one in the mall area for a couple of Peroni’s, I know, its what they had. I was in the Netherlands and the entire time I didn’t have a single Heineken.

I get to talking to the bar tender and I indicated I was from Seattle, which we talked about for a while, then he asked me about Joe Biden. And asked, why do we keep electing ninety five year olds to office. Really, I will admit, I do follow politics, and was even a Political Science major as an undergrad, but generally I’ve just gotten to view the whole process as a spectator sport, where regardless of who wins, it doesn’t actually make a difference. I guess that’s just short for saying we’re fucked either way, so why bother.

Finally, after all that, I headed back to the hotel and got to bed around midnight, much latter than I had wanted to get to bed given the following day was a travel day, and I though I needed to be mentally in pretty good shape for that.

This time, I slept from midnight to around 5 am, so I guess that’s a bit of an improvement, had another hotel breakfast, and headed to the train station for the next part of my trip in Hamburg.

Leaving Rotterdam

I somewhat wish I had ended up spending more time in Rotterdam. Sure, I guess I could have just gotten another hotel reservation for the next couple of nights, but there’s a lot of ground I want to cover over the course of this trip.

Rotterdam is a lot more than I expected, and seeming more friendly than I expected as well. I initially thought of it as just a functional version of Amsterdam, but I suspect the two cities are in fact very distinct and different from each other, I guess I will find that part out for sure in another five weeks when I go to Amsterdam.

For now, however, good bye to Rotterdam and hello to Hamburg.

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