Drove with Jane and Geerlof down to Rotterdam to do a boat trip around the harbour (one of the biggest in the world) on the river Maas. Made it on time, parked the car and bought tickets for the Spiro which took us on a 75 minute tour.
It was cool and windy on the water but bearable. We sailed past some historic sites in the harbour as well as visiting the dry docks and the container terminals – amazing. Cranes and forklifts dealing with 40 foot containers like a 7 years old plays with Lego. Seeing these huge container ships being un/loaded close up was fun and some of the statistics were mind boggling.
Back up the river towards the big bridge and the terminal where my parents first set sail for Australia in 1956. We then walked into the old Rotterdam Harbour (which is really where the barges used to tie up) and enjoyed a nice lunch of pancakes and coffee. We were serenaded by a South American band playing on a barge moored loosely to the quay. Around was all this fascinating architecture that has been built since the city was bombed flat over 60 years ago.
The cube houses looked crazy and were difficult to understand how they were laid out inside. We also saw a spectacular sculpture designed the reflect a city that had had it’s heart ripped out. Los of other buildings that weren’t your standard square or rectangular shape which makes it all a feast for the eyes.
On the way back we passed by The Strand (the beach) which was a section of the bank of the Maas covered in beach sand and a few umbrellas and beach volley ball court. What a hoot, the beach next to the river – had to pay for the privilege though….
Then J & G drove us to Schiedam and we visited tante Ploon in her flat facing the Maas river. There was a festival in the park between her building and the river and it was kids afternoon so there was a break in the Rock & Roll music with something for the little ones. Lots of activities and food stalls. Had a nice cuppa and went for a walk to take in the view of the off-shore oil rig undergoing maintenance (before heading out to drill some more holes in the sea bed). We wandered round to sit on the river bank before heading back while the boys disappeared into the festival.
They wandered back across the grass and past the public urinal set up in the middle of the grass were the guys could stand and do their thing. At the appointed time we walked over to my cousin Marcel’s place and had a drink with Yolanda and their son Kevin. Then it was time to head over to cousin Rene’s (and Jeanette, Daniel, Milerna & Vera) place for a meal. They’d organised a chinese take away banquet which was very nice (and I’ve been eating far too much!). We went for a walk afterwards to get an icecream and unfortunately Ash threw the dog’s frisbee in one of the stinky canals so the frisbee got lost and the dog stank (she’s dived in after it but couldn’t find it). Not to worry – Rene threw a stick into another canal and Bera went in and washed herself.
After a very enjoyable afternoon and evening of meeting everyone and catching up the two cousins then kindly drove us back to Leiden.