2018 HAL Voyage of the Vikings
Sunday, August 5, 2018
This is our first visit to Rotterdam. Long ago, we put “sailing the MS Rotterdam to Rotterdam to stay in the SS Rotterdam” on our bucket-list. This year: goal accomplished! We were delighted with the city itself. Very modern. Great architecture. All the result of necessary rebuilding after the total devastation of German bombing in 1940.
We spent day 1 just acquainting ourselves with the city. We were delighted to find a FREE Port Authority shuttle outside the terminal. It took us to the City Center area—near Blaak Station to be precise—where we took photos of quite a few famous local sights. The Historic Tram #10 departs daily (except Mondays) from Blaak Station every 1/2 hour from 11:00am-4:30pm. The loop ride through 14 stations takes about 1 hour. You can use this tram as a HOHO!
We shopped the Markthal, had lunch at the Very ITALIAN Restaurant, and hung out at the Hotel New York (former HAL Headquarters in Rotterdam) before taking the water taxi over to the SS Rotterdam for our overnight stay.
I think the photos will tell the story:
We docked in Rotterdam right alongside the Erasmusbrug. The graceful design of this bridge earned it the nickname “The Swan.”
The Motorman’s workstation aboard the Historic Tram #10. We boarded the tram at the Blaak Station near Markthal because that is where the free Port Authority shuttle dropped us off. We could have boarded at Willemsplein, a walk across the Erasmusbrug.
The tickets may be purchased on board the tram. We paid 7 Euro/pp senior rate. It’s a 1 hour loop if you don’t get off. But you can use it as a HOHO and tour all over Rotterdam! There are 14 stops.
A view from Hisoric Tram #10.
This very busy view shows the entryway to the City Center main shopping area. That statue of Santa Claus is by American artist Paul McCarthy.
Historic Tram #10 goes as far as Delfshaven where one will find charming cafes and shops.
And a Windmill!
The Delfshaven windmill.
This bronze artwork, “De Verwoeste Stad” (The Devasted City) is the city’s main war monument. Created by Ossip Zadkine, the sculpture represents a human figure without a heart, symbolizing how Rotterdam was cut to the heart by the May 1940 German bombardment.
The “Hoover Building”, so called because it reminds you of a vacuum cleaner.
The Cube Houses. These were built by architect Piet Blom as an unusual bridge over the arterial roadway between Blaak and Oude Haven. #70 is a fully decorated museum house that shows what it’s like to live between slanted walls.
This building is commonly referred to as “The Pencil.”
“The Pencil” next to the “Hoover” next to the “Cube Houses.” All visible from Blaak station.
The Markthal, unique for so many reasons! The distinctive horeshoe shape wraps apartments around the Market Hall. Inside, there are stalls, cafes, a supermarket, and even an archeoligical dig! The locals jokingly refer to it as the “Pencil Sharpener!”
The amazing ceiling and walls of Market Hall, titled “Horn of Plenty”, are the creation of artist Arno Coenen
The Market stalls are enticing!
My favorite shop in the Market Hall!
Nienke, propietor of “Only for the Sweethearts” shop in the Markthal of Rotterdam.
I find Coco Chanel to be an intriguing person; so I was drawn to this quote. “Don’t be like the rest of them, Darling!” It’s so very Coco!
A multi-tiered parking garage for bicycles.
Al fresco dining at Very ITALIAN Pizza.
The Pizza oven at the restaurant, Very ITALIAN Pizza. We can highly reccommend the Diavola (spicy salami) and V.I.P. (Margherita style) pizzas. Very tasty!
OLIVES! We love olives and have been feeling olive deprived on this cruise. This should satisfy for a little while.
Today, we had end of day libations with lunch!
The Hotel New York, owned by WestCord Hotels, is located in the old Holland America Line headquarters. Renovated in period style, it is conveniently situated across from the Cruise Terminal. The whole building is like a museum of travel!
Headquarters for the very efficient water taxi system is located next to the Hotel New York. It is available by phone and it never takes more than a few minutes for a cab to arrive! Cost from the hotel to the SS Rotterdam was 4.50 Euro/pp.
The SS Rotterdam is also owned by WestCord Hotels. It, too, has been renovated in period style–1960s to be exact! We spent the night here (sailed the MS Rotterdam to the city of Rotterdam to stay in the SS Rotterdam!)
Time to go check-in!
Next, I’ll tell you about Day2.
Our next port-of-call is Dublin, Ireland.