Another day, another delicious breakfast at our hotel. Today we set out to two very different Dutch landmarks – the windmills at the Kinderdijk and the Port of Rotterdam. We grabbed a cab to the Delft train station (our home away from home) and took the 10 minute train ride to the ultra modern port city of Rotterdam. We had read that a fun way to get to the Kinderdijk was to take a water bus from Rotterdam to the windmills. We grabbed what was probably the smelliest cab driver with the most dubious comb-over at the BEAUTIFUL Rotterdam Centraal station and headed towards the waterfront. We waited for the water bus and chatted with a friendly couple from Hong Kong until the boat arrived. There isn’t as much of a queue as there is a mass rush to board. When I travel I sometimes forget that I need to drop my friendly Canadian sensibilities and be a little more aggressive. But thus I digress.
The water bus zipped us under the Erasmus Bridge and up the waterway for 30 minutes, and we moored at a very bucolic Dutch scene – farm animals, fields, dykes and, of course, windmills.
The Kinderdijk is a village of 18th century windmills, 19 in number. The windmills were installed to keep water levels along the dyke even, and some are still in use, although there are a few diesel pumping stations to help out just in case.
We crossed the street and were among the mills, but also a load of other tourist, travelers, and cycle tour groups (again, dodging cyclists).
After walking along the path, taking many photos of the windmills and hitting up the gift shop for the obligatory fridge magnets and post cards, we headed back to the water bus stop. There were plenty of other tourists waiting there as well, complete with their face masks and taking smart phone photos of any barge or boat that crossed our water path, jostling each other about. It made me wonder how many smart phones end up in the water every year.
We hopped back on the water bus and ended up back at the port in Rotterdam. Because, as you all know by now, I love a good boat tour, and what better way to see a world famous port than to do it by water? Especially with beer being served.
Rotterdam was completely flattened by the Germans in WWII, and rather than reconstruct what once was, the Dutch decided to modernize the city and Europe’s largest port, which made for a very interesting architectural skyline.
One of the more interesting visuals of the port was the Erasmus Bridge, also known as the Swan. I liked the way it looked in front of the glassy rectangle building and the moody sky. It’s also the tallest structure in the Netherlands.
The port mostly deals with containers and petro-chemicals. It was really cool being able to watch the huge cranes move about and pick up and drop containers.
One of the more interesting older buildings was the old Holland America building, now the Hotel New York. The cool old Art Deco style building was nestled among the ultra modern architecture of the port.
After the 75 minute tour we disembarked, waited around for a cab and headed back on the train towards Delft for an evening of Belgian beers and frites with mayonnaise.