Trip Start Mar 14, 2006
241Trip End Mar 15, 2007
The place where they live is a 4 story stone apartment building with about one room wide and two deep. Entranceway has two lovely baked tile depictions of summer and winter with art deco design up to about the 20 foot level. In what we would call the basement is the kitchen, storage, sitting room and dining room
I walked down their street along the singel (noting that it is a dog friendly place) and admiring the resident heron, to a place called "Nieuwe Binnenweg" which in the early parts has some houses and businesses from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Many of the buildings are newer and while they have tried to keep to the older styles, they have not succeeded. At some point you come to another singel (Westersingel) which has lots of statues to people beside it. Carrying on along the Oude (old) Binnenweg I began to notice that all these buildings were new. Apparently this is where Rotterdam was bombed during the war. No old buildings any more within about a two mile area - well, maybe the vestiges of one or two.
I was looking for a bank which would change traveler's cheques for me
It started to rain in earnest so I found a place to have lunch, called the "Hazz-Bas": I had a pannenkoekken with cheese and mushrooms and it was delicious - even if I am not a pancake person. Added sprinkled sugar and stroop (syrup) and it was just great. Carried on walking about and walked past, I think, the Staadt house where people were getting married - at least a lot of celebration seemed to be going on and there was a horse drawn carriage going up and down the street. My sense is that the horses are not too well treated. They were clomping up and down the bike path, which is not wide enough for the horses - just wide enough for the carriage.
Headed down towards Laurenskerk, just outside of the bombed areas. It was bombed but not completely destroyed - hollowed out, I'd say. It was built during the years 1449-1525. In 1572 the church became a place for Protestant worship. On May 14, 1940 it was badly damaged during the bombardment on Rotterdam
It is the biggest historic Rotterdam building and is built in the Dutch late Gothic style with very wide lofty aisles and timber barrel-vaults: more related to "Hallenkirche" (church hall) type than the Basilica. It has decorated capitals, mausolea, memorials, chandeliers, copper choir screen. It has a contemporary baptismal font and three organs (all built by the Danish Marcussen Company). The basis for the main organ is one solid piece of Italian marble. There are bronze doors which are the design of an Italian sculptor who also designed those for St. Peter's in Rome and Salzburg Cathedral. The themes of the Rotterdam ones are the "evils of war" and "The blessings of peace". Every Friday a prayer of peace and reconciliation is said in the Peace Chapel at the same time as it is said in other main churches in Coventry and Dresden. These are the three cities and three churches badly damaged by acts of war. While it is an enormous and amazing church, I found it almost devoid of warmth. If there was an altar, it was hard to find. It was bit and awe inspiring but I am not sure where God was in it.
In a square in front of the church is a famous statue of Erasmus, a citizen of Rotterdam
After this I began to walk back along, first of all, "Coolsingel", then turned along the "Westblaak" to the "Westersingel". It is a new part of town and has lots of shops, curved glass covered walkways, buildings and street lights. At that point I was getting quite tired and thought I was heading in the right direction as I went up that street thinking I was going to see works of art against the singel. I must have come into the area too far up water as I did not see any. All of a sudden I was in a place called West Kruiskade, which seemed very Chinese. I cut through a park and waggled my way back down to Nieuwe Binnenweg and finally home.
Shortly afterwards, Grada came home and we went out shopping where I took photos of many typically Dutch items such as chocolate on everything! Cakes and all things sweet.
On our walk we bought fresh herring, mackerel and other goodies and Grada pointed out such historical places as the corner with three historical Cafes: the "Café Out Of Time", one called just "Café", and two others. They were all built in the early 1910's I think just as that area of town was developing. Very Art Deco in style though they are now completely different clientele.
Grada and Nora prepared the new herring for me by slicing it small. It is a typical Dutch treat at this time of year and I really enjoyed it. It is a bit oily but lightly marinated in something, I think. A bit bony though it is not supposed to be. I ate almost my entire share of it. Took a picture of it as well. We sat outside until it got too cold to do so.