We have left Belgium and the cities of Brussels and Bruges behind us and arrive in South Holland. Here on the North Coast we want to hang out a bit. With also a bit of sightseeing in Rotterdam and a visit to Efteling – the largest amusement park in the Netherlands – on the agenda.
To switch off brings us to the small town of Herking on the island of Goeree-Overflakkee. It is right on Lake Grevelingen and besides holiday homes there is also a quaint bakery, a supermarket and a harbor restaurant here.
The island itself is typically Dutch: meadows, fields, sheep and windmills. 😉 Small towns like Ouddorp and Middelharnis invite you to stroll and dine.
To the west of the island, you will find the elongated beach of the North Sea. Here we let the wind blow around us as we walk on the beach.
We try fast food, Dutch style: We have Kibbeling (fried fish fillet) with remoulade, meatballs and croquettes from a vending machine and of course a large variety of soft serve ice cream.
50 km from Herkingen lies the second largest city in the Netherlands – Rotterdam! In a city tour on the red sightseeing bus, we get an overview. The tour starts at Parkhaven at the lookout tower Euromast.
The skyline is impressive. Rotterdam was almost completely destroyed during World War II and is thus a young and modern city with many skyscrapers. Rotterdam is also known as the “Manhattan on the Maas”.
Then starts our exploration on our own. Here are our highlights:
It is the hallmark of the city and not to be missed. The distinctive bridge is 800 m long and the pylon 139 m high. It connects the north with the south side of the town.
Across the Erasmus bridge leads you to Wilhelmina Pier. On the peninsula, located next to several skyscrapers, is the New York Hotel. The Art Nouveau building stands out. It was formerly the headquarters of the Holland-America Line. In front of it people sit comfortably in deck chairs and enjoy the view onto the water.
A monument of suitcases at the end of the pier is reminiscent of the emigrants who left Europe here in the direction of America.
An absolute must on a stay in Rotterdam is a visit to the market hall. At the stands various different and inviting delicacies are offered. Here and there we stop and taste. If you can then take your eyes off the goodies, you should allow the ceiling of the market hall to sink in: an assembled from sheets of glass, work of art!
Not exactly beautiful, but particularly unique, are the cube houses. The obliquely erected cubes stand opposite market hall in the street Overblaak. For 3 euro’s admission you can view a cube. The others are absolutely normally inhabited.
If you walk to the end of the cube houses, you reach the old port. It is a little oasis in modern Rotterdam. From the many restaurants you overlook the old boats, and in the background, the white brick building, is the first skyscraper in Europe.
The town hall was not destroyed during the bombing in 1940. You can reach it from market hall over the commercial Hoogstraat.
Tour on the Nieuwe Maas
Whether by water taxi, waterbus or a harbor cruise, from the Maas one has a unique perspective of Rotterdam. We joined our tour with dinner. With De Pannenkoekenboot (Pancake Boat) we enjoy the skyline from the water, while eating a traditional Dutch dish. The pancakes are available in natural, hearty with bacon or sweet with apple rings and you can top it how you like.
The boat ride takes us past the SS Rotterdam. The passenger ship was formerly used on the route Rotterdam – New York and can now be toured.
Witte de Withstraat
Here we allow our day in Rotterdam to come to an end. On the lively street with its many pubs you see the people talking, laughing and eating.
Incidentally, who observantly walks down the streets, finds cobblestones with flames which are illuminated in red in the evenings. They highlight the fire border of the bombing of 1940. On Witte de Withstraat, quite near to the Spar supermarket, we discovered such a stone.
Rotterdam is a new, colorful city and a city of variety. The city completely surprised me! For Europe it has a very special Skyline, and yet also small, nice, quiet places such as the old port and the Veerhaven (Ferry Port). Rotterdam is much more extensive than, for example, Amsterdam, but the water taxis on the Nieuwe Maas help you explore the city.
In addition to absolute relaxation and city sightseeing, a holiday in South Holland can also offer thrills. 😉 For this Efteling – the largest amusement park in the Netherlands – is also just an hour’s drive away.
In high season during the holidays, it is a busy rush. Since the park is very spacious, the crowds flow. At the main attractions, however, are long waiting times. There are several roller coasters, a wild water rollercoaster and for the less Fearless plenty of lovingly crafted harmless rides. Highlight of the park is the newly opened Baron 1898 with a free fall of over 37 meters.
On a boat tour you can take an occasional breather and with the Pagoda we head high above ground. A big Fairytale Forest and many carousels are provided for the little ones. I especially like that the parks design, with trees, lawns, a pond and some even overgrown areas is beautifully natural and green. That alone makes strolling through quite a lot of fun. We spend a whole day here, ending in the evening with the water show Aquanura.
With the visit to Efteling amusement park our time in South Holland also comes to an end. The next and final destination of our little road trip is the city of Cologne. I will write about this in the next post.
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