Thursday, July 16, 2015

Let's jam in Rotterdam

Cube House
Well , first let me explain the title.  For nearly the entire four and a half hour car ride to Rotterdam, Eden proceeded to sing "I'm gonna jam in the Rotterdam" and "Are we in Rotterdam".  We are in Rotterdam and she still asks "Are we in Rotterdam?" Now she says that she will jam in her jammies in Rotterdam.  Man I love variety.  So our journey to Rotterdam was a little tricky.  We were supposed to get our car, the Renault Grand Scenic, at about 9am.  We did a short term lease which is a great way to go when needing a car for more than a few days.  (Thanks to Caroline's brother Stephan for the tip!)  Justin got to the car pickup location and no car.  The car was still on a truck and they did not know where the truck was.  Meanwhile the kids and I had to check out from our apartment at 10am. Luckily, we had a very gracious host and she let us leave our bags in the apartment while the cleaning lady worked, until Justin came to pick us up.  I took the kids to a nearby cafe to hook up to the wifi and have an espresso and chocolate croissants.  Justin and I were able to communicate and they decided to get a taxi to pick up the kids and I with the luggage.  The only catch was that Renault needed to approve the cost beforehand.  Well about two hours later they got the approval and 20 minutes later the taxi showed up.

The Renault Grand Scenic - Our wheels for the next 3 months
Once the kids and I arrived at the car place we found Justin and as luck would have it the truck had arrived and Justin had the car.  Well, let me tell you not all car trunks are created equally.  I am very spoiled at the roominess of my minivan.  Because all though the Scenic is grand it is not huge.  About 20 minutes later we got the car loaded and the kids crammed in and off we went.  About 4 hours behind schedule.  But then we thought schedule who needs a schedule.  Since we needed to move the driver seat up a bit to fit a duffel bag behind it, I was required to drive because I am shorter than Justin.  We entered in the address to the integrated GPS and off we went, but first we needed to get out of Paris. Wow! Traffic is crazy and we soon realized that I needed to drive rather aggressively. Soon the kids started chatting "Be aggressive, be, be aggressive".   We soon got out of Paris and were on our way to jam in the Rotterdam.  The drive was uneventful and we found our apartment rather easily.  

The Hook of Holland
Today we decided to visit Rotterdam center.  We walked around the city center and the city itself. People again are very kind and helpful.  We saw Grote of Sint Laurensker (a church), Markthal (an indoor food market within a very interestingly shaped building) old Harbor, and the Cube House. We had a wonderful time and very much enjoyed the delicious food we got for lunch at Markthal.  There were so many food vendors it was difficult to choose.  We ended up buying a few different types of salad, some meatballs, paella and fruit salad.  Each one was delicious, my favorite might have been the crab salad but let me tell you the meatballs were a very, very close second.  Once we finished our main dish we each chose different desserts, well, because honestly the choices were endless.  Danielle and Eden got a frozen yogurt.  Joel got an ice cream cone, Rachel and I got a waffle and Caleb got some chocolates.  Don't worry Justin and I shared my waffle.  Once we got back to the car we decided to take a drive out to the Hook of Holland.  The Hook of Holland is the southwestern corner of the Netherlands proper.  The drive there was so nice.  We saw cute houses along a canal with gardens full of flowers.  We parked our car and walked along the pier to the very tip of the Hook.  The walk was 4 miles round trip and it was so pleasant the entire way.  The view was fantastic.  on one side of the pier is the beach and the other side is the port.  There were swans all along the way on the port side.  I was quite surprised to see them.  The kids had a great time with a couple of ladybugs they caught and named.  

When we got back to the apartment we walked about 2 blocks to the supermarket and got some things for dinner.  I love the convenience of having the supermarket so close that you can walk. 

 Another thing that Justin and the boys find interesting is the trash bin across the street from our apartment.  The bin itself is pretty small but this morning we saw them empty it and realized that it was mostly underground.  They hooked the bin to a large crane attached to a garbage truck and pulled it out of the ground and emptied it into a large trash truck.  So the bin is actually about 10 feet deep by 5 feet wide. Once emptied it was placed back into the ground.  The boys thought that it was pretty cool the garbage  man doing this all with a remote control.  

Personally, I love Rotterdam.  I find the city easygoing and feel very comfortable here.  The architecture is pretty, the people are nice and the city itself is beautiful.  By the way, the tap water is supposed to be the best in the world, and so far it is quite good.

Shipping Channel on Hook of Holland

Caleb trying out the "Squirrel" at the free kids festival in downtown Rotterdam

Eden and Danielle bouncing

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