The City of Rotterdam

Posted on January 6, 2010

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Work has dispatched me to another far flung location – the city of Rotterdam, located near the coast in the flat, industrious country of the Netherlands. I will be here all of January and back again for the month of March. I like to travel so I consider this a lucky assignment. I has been over a year since my last long trip (to Uruguay) and I have had the itch to get on the road again. So here I find myself in another foreign country, thinking of learning a new language, and try to figure out the basics like where to wash laundry and how to find a good vegetarian meal.

This has been a very cold and snowy week in Europe. It does not usually get this cold or snow this much, but I guess I brough the weather with me from Columbus. As I do not have to drive here, I do not mind the weather so much. Rotterdam has excellent public transportation, so it is easy to get on the Metro and get to work with very little exposure to the outdoors. I like to walk, so I find myself slipping and sliding around as I try to navigate the ice covered sidewalks on my expeditions to see interesting buildings or find a good place to eat.
Rotterdam is a port city dominated by the harbors, boats, and canals that have shaped living in this city for centuries. Up until it was passed up by Shanghai in 2004, Rotterdam was the world’s busiest port city. Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands, with a population of about 600,000. The city is believed to be over 1000 years old, protected by dikes built in the 1200’s. Much of the city was destroyed by the Germans during WWII, and it has been rebuilt in a very modern style. There are still historic areas, but not nearly like what you might find in other European cities.
This is my third trip to Rotterdam. I am living in the Hilton hotel, so life is fairly cushy. Security at the airport was much more extensive than last time I was here, due to the recent attempt to bomb a flight from Amsterdam. The flight with the incident is the flight I take home, but I do not dwell on these sorts of things. The way I see it, I am safer here since I do not have to fight the traffic on the snowy, slippery road of Columbus this time of the year. That, and I do not risk injury fighting with Sammy for the TV remote.
I plan a series of blog posts on the neighborhoods of Rotterdam. I will also be doing some travel on the weekends. So far I am planning on The Haag and Delft in the Netherlands, Brugge in Belgium, and perhaps Porto, Portugal. I work hard to turn the hardship of travel and being away from home into an adventure and learning experience. I am lucky to have the support of a wife who does not mind my wanderlust and always is waiting for me when I return home.
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Posted in: Rotterdam, Travel