After taking a 6:00AM departure from Prague on August 20th, my Dad and I changed trains in Berlin, Essen, Oberhausen, and ended up meeting my good friend Marc in Emmerich. We drove from Emmerich over the German/Dutch border to the small town of Varsseveld for the annual Volksfeest (town festival). The Dutch have never proved me wrong when I say they know how to party, and this night proved no exception as my father would find out. I promised not to blog the story of the evening, but buy me a beer sometime and I’ll tell you the funniest story of the trip.
After collecting some lost…objects and eating breakfast, Marc, Howard and I left Varsseveld for Arnhem to drop off some belongings, and then continued west to Rotterdam to meet up with Shelley and her friend Gabrielle. Shelley lived down the hall from me when I studied abroad in Karlstad, Sweden, and I was very excited to meet up with her once again.
Rotterdam has been almost entirely reconstructed after the Second World War, and remains an important port and financial hub for all of Europe. As it would turn out, there was a special Formula 1 demonstration happening in town that afternoon, so we enjoyed hot stroopwaffles as we watched F1 cars spin donuts and drive fast underneath modern skyscrapers.
Shelley and Gabrielle took us on a great tour of the city that included some random historical tid-bits, modern Dutch architectural examples like the Kubuswoningen, and some random contemporary artwork no one could figure out. My favorite stops on the tour was the juxtaposition of the building that used to be the largest in The Netherlands, and the current largest building in The Netherlands.
After a break at a cafe, we walked along the end of the River Rhine towards the Erasmusbrug, or Erasmus Bridge, and crossed over to the “Southside,” which Shelley and Gabrielle enthusiastically represent as natives. We had a great dinner at the Hotel New York, which, similar to the Cafe Louvre in Prague and Mort Subite in Brussels, had my favorite atmosphere of any bars or restaurants we visited. After eating, we were treated to a fantastic sunset as we departed.
It was great to see Shelley in her hometown before she returned to Sweden for graduate school in Borås, and it was nice to meet Gabrielle as well. I hope that sometime I’ll be able to show them around my side of the Atlantic.
Marc, Howard and I walked with them back the train station, said our goodbyes, and departed Rotterdam for a few days to stay with Marc and explore Arnhem.
Thank you for the feedback on the last post. New question: Should I increase the speed at which I publish these posts, or is one on Tuesday and one on Friday good enough for now? Thanks again!