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Like a painting: windmills along the Rotte

Like a painting: windmills along the Rotte

It’s been very quiet on this blog! We recently got back from a month in Australia, so I have plenty of photos to share. However, we’ve been really busy, and I have another exciting trip coming up, so posts about Australia will have to wait a bit. In the meantime, I’d like to share some photos taken on a recent bike trip close to home. All the photos were taken within 1 hour, on a 10 km bike trip. I may be living in a big city, but it’s really not very difficult to get out of the city and see some beautiful scenery – even if you just have an hour to spare! šŸ™‚

Within 10 minutes from home, I reach the edge of the city, and am greeted by this view from the shores of the river Rotte…

Continuing my trip, I reach the first windmill on my route. This is De Prinsenmolen (Mill of the Prince), built in 1648. The evening light was really pretty and the views looked like a painting…

The same mill seen from a little further along the route (looking back). The jetty is private, but I guess the ducks don’t care about that! Near the opposite shore you can see a rowing boat that comes from the nearby rowing club. Must have been a beautiful evening for being on the water!

I continue my trip to the second mill on my route: Molen de Vier Winden (Mill of the Four Winds). I usually cycle right underneath it and never had a very good view of it – nice to see it from the opposite side of the river!

The light was now becoming truly spectacular and I almost had to pinch myself that his was real. What an evening… A coot passed closeby, some rowing boats passed, the clouds reflected in the river…

I took a panorama because I wanted to include everything: the mill, the houses, the boat on the jetty, the church in the distance and the beautiful tree. I borrowed the jetty of a house that was being worked on. I thought the owner might not like me on his jetty (quite a few have “private” signs on them, although not this one), but he came out to ask if I had been able to get some good photos and that it was such a beautiful evening. How nice!

I continued a bit further, but the sunset was now becoming so spectacular that I didn’t get far. I took a panorama looking in the opposite direction as the one above…

And another photo of the sunset, with quite spectacular beams!

After that, I put my photo gear away and cycled the 5 km back to home. A mini trip like this can still be so rewarding!

Wereldhavendagen (World Port Days) in Rotterdam

Wereldhavendagen (World Port Days) in Rotterdam

The first weekend of September the World Port Days were held in Rotterdam. There were LOTS of activities, and it was hard to choose what to do! On Saturday we took a guided tour of “De Rotterdam”, the really cool building with three towers next to the Erasmus bridge in the photo below.

De Rotterdam was designed by architect Rem Koolhaas, and it was built right in the financial crisis – this was possible because Rotterdam municipality was paying a large part, as they would use half of one of the towers as office space. The photo below looks up from between two of the towers.

There are several restaurants and a hotel housed in the building, lots of offices, plus one tower has residential spaces. It’s the largest building in the Netherlands!

The motto of the building is “vertical city” – I can see why! As part of the tour we went up to the 31st floor, to an empty office. The view took my breath away! I could hardly listen to our tour guide anymore, because I just had to keep looking at the view. The photo below shows the new Luxor theatre (bottom left), the floating forest and the floating pavilion (a pilot project for floating architecture, mainly used for conferences).

On the other side there was an amazing view over Noordereiland, an island in the middle of Rotterdam. Such a cool view!

And then of course, the view over the Erasmus Bridge and the Rotterdam city centre. Wow…. You can see lots of activity on the river below, which was part of the World Port Days.

On Sunday I had a friend visiting and we joined an excursion to ECT Delta Terminal – the European Container Terminal at Maasvlakte (an industrial area which was built as a manmade island). Rotterdam is the biggest port in Europe, and ECT is the biggest container operator in Europe, so everything was HUGE. Since it was Sunday, not much was happening though, but it was still impressive seeing trucks and cranes operating without drivers!

Especially for the World Port Days, ECT had made a demonstration area where you could visit cranes and drive in big trucks (well, sit next to an ECT driver). Unfortunately the queue for going on the big cranes was so long that we never made it – I’ll have to come back next year!

Here too there were lots of vehicles driving around by themselves – a bit creepy but cool!

We did go up a smaller crane, and had to wear orange safety gear and a helmet. Everyone says I should get a job in the port of Rotterdam because this looks good on me šŸ˜€ haha…

Back in Rotterdam, we had a look around all the ships moored in the city centre for World Port Days. Here’s a view across the river, with Hotel New York dwarfed between its big neighbours!

I wish I could have joined more excursions or guided tours – it was so much fun! I’m already looking forward to next year šŸ™‚

Kinderdijk / Trip by Waterbus

Kinderdijk / Trip by Waterbus

Two weeks ago I cycled from Rotterdam to Dordrecht via Kinderdijk. This is a UNESCO heritage site with 19 windmills, and really popular with tourists. On Strava (a cycling app) some sections have names, and the cycle path that goes through Kinderdijk is called “Avoiding Tourists”, haha. I had never been there, so I stopped for some photos…

It was nice weather, with a typical Dutch sky full of puffy clouds šŸ™‚

Panorama of Kinderdijk…

There’s a small ferry for foot passengers, you can buy tickets for that and for visiting the windmills, but if you just want to see the mills by bike or on foot, it’s free.

In Dordrecht I visited a museum, and then I took the waterbus back to Rotterdam. The trip takes an hour, costs less than 5 euros and bikes are free. Excellent! I really enjoyed the boat trip over the river šŸ™‚

Especially the last bit when you go through the center of Rotterdam and see all it’s iconic architecture. Below the Unilever building, which was inspired by De Hef, which is the bridge in the foreground. De Hef was a vertical-lift bridge for trains, it’s not in use anymore but it was kept as a landmark. As a bonus, the Erasmus bridge can be seen behind De Hef.

Typical Rotterdam: old and new together in harmony. Old houses on Noordereiland (an island in the middle of the city), the Erasmus bridge (The Swan), and De Rotterdam towering over the old houses.

One last photo before I had to leave the Waterbus. These water taxi’s zoom up and down the river, this one is owned by Hotel New York.

A great day trip!