Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Rotterdam Hilton (Rotterdam, Netherlands)

After another good sleep, followed by a Hilton breakfast, I mapped out what I wanted to see today in Rotterdam. I knew I wanted to go on a long walk so I decided to visit the Euromast and the Cube Houses. Both were near the extensive Rotterdam harbor.

On my way to the Euromast I passed through Rotterdam’s shopping district, or at least the one that was near where I’m staying. It reminded me of Oxford Street in London and a little of Soho too. Along the way I went into an outdoor store and looked at hiking boots and travel trousers (with zippers). I saw a few items that I liked but guess I’m not ready to buy anything new, though my two travel pants and boots are two years old and probably should be replaced.

The Euromast is an observation and TV tower that contains two restaurants and several observation decks. It really stands out against the Rotterdam harbor. There were only a few visitors when I went up so it was easy to take a number of pictures and videos of Rotterdam. I could have stayed longer to have lunch but wasn’t quite hungry.

The Cube Houses were further down the harbor. It was a very long walk to get there. Along the way I stopped at “De Boeg”, a war memorial that is shaped like the bow of a ship and is 46 meters high. It is dedicated to the 3,500 people on board Dutch merchant ships who lost their lives in World War II.

As I was walking towards the Cube Houses I was thinking about two of my ancestors and their families who left from Rotterdam to travel across the Atlantic. Each were from different sides of my family. I wondered where the old harbor was located so I looked it up. As it turns out one of the old harbors (Oude Haven) was next to the Cube Houses. How about that?

The one family that I knew left Rotterdam was the Johannes Peter Glattfelder family (from Switzerland) who in 1743 boarded the ship Francis and Elizabeth in Rotterdam and headed across the ocean to Philadelphia. The other ancestor was Teunis Eliasen (van Bunschoten) who was from a town (Utrecht) near Rotterdam so I would assume that when he left for New York (before 1674) that he would leave through the nearest harbor.

As I walked along Oude Haven (built and developed in the 14th century) I tried to image what it was like for these people to get on a ship for a new beginning across the ocean. These people had never traveled beyond their home town were now getting on a ship to a new land. I find this incredible.

Next to Oude Haven are buildings that these ancestors would not recognize, nor would people from this century. These cube homes, fitted together, are each tilted at 45 degrees and are one of the city’s most iconic attractions. I walked around these homes and was amazed at the design and also how people live in this tourist fish bowl.

I saw from my phone’s step counting app that I had walked over 10,000 steps today. The most I’ve walked in quite a while. I decided not to push it and ordered an Uber to take me back to the hotel. On the way I learned my driver was from Syria and had to learn Dutch to become a driver. He spoke very good English as well. I’m impressed when people are fluent in more than one language and even more so when they know a third language as well.

When I got back to my room I could see that Housekeeping hadn’t been there and it was 4:30. This happens every so often and of course it happens when I want to rest the most. What I mind even more are the excuses and the apologies that I hear.

After my room was ready I ate a salad and then took a long nap. After I finish publishing this post I’ll load up the next Star Trek movie to watch tonight. Tomorrow I leave for Hanover (or Hannover) Germany.

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