No couple selfies today, we were too busy! I woke up a bit before SMS and headed out for a coffee.
I took pictures of the restaurant from the night before, as well as the coffee cafe I went to- both recommended!
We decided to rent bicycles and take a small tour of Rotterdam. It seemed manageable and I wanted to cycle in the Netherlands at least once.
We did a loop through Kop van Zuid, Katendrecht, the periphery of Charlois, through the Maastunnel (amazing), Delfhaven, Het Park, and across the Erasmusbrug back to the hotel. We stopped along the way for cheese sandwich fixings at the grocery store Jumbo, which did the trick.
The loop was great. It was earlier in the day, so not too hot plus we generated a breeze by biking. I enjoyed a lot about the ride, but the coolest thing may have been the Maastunnel for bikers and pedestrians. There is a whole separate tunnel that you take an escalator down for either one or two levels depending if you have a bike or not. Then, we cycled down a beautifully lit, very clean tunnel underneath the water. Amazing! That is dedication to multi-mode transport. The car tunnel was very narrow and really wouldn’t accommodate anything but cars. I wonder how often tourists make the mistake and try to do it. I imagine not many, but who knows?
We cycled through Delfhaven which, honestly, we gave short shrift too. We needed to get back for check out so it was a quick cycle through. But we did see the pilgrim church! It was quaint and picturesque- definitely worth another visit.
We cycled through Het Park and across Erasmusburg bridge (I’m guessing this is redundant b/c I think burg is bridge. But whatever, it helps with clarity in English 🙂
I took a quick shower and then we checked out. I bought a pair of Birkenstocks, which I’m very happy about because in this heat, sandals are much more comfortable! There is also a bit of a costs savings to buying them in Europe.
Then we rode the Thalys for one super speedy stop to Antwerp. We had a small layover because I had read about the Plantin-Moretus museum and really wanted to go. Another place that deserves its own post!
But in short, it’s a wealthy printer family’s business and home from the 1500s-1800s. It reminded me a lot of the Gardiner museum in Boston. A wealthy person’s mansion that is cool by itself, but also contains collections worthy of a museum. In this case, it was a huge collection of printer presses, font shelves, books, furnishings, and many portraits of family and friends by Reubens.
After an audioguide tour, we headed back to the train station for our destination of the day- Ghent. By the way, how do you think Ghent is pronounced? If you think there is a hard G anywhere, you are wrong. Like me. Instead, it’s pronounced with a hissing h sound that leads into -ent, like Heeee-ent.
We checked into our hotel, which has AC (yay), but is back to a smaller size (eh). Then it was off to de Strokeji for dinner, where we ate outside on a square that felt a little less touristy than the huge squares around the three towers of the central cathedrals.
We also tried the Dame Blanche for dessert. Yum!
We walked along the river and through the streets, which are very beautiful. It feels a little like Disneyland, but it’s also very real. It does feel very touristy, which of course is fine since we’re tourists too. But there were several posts/guides that said this place felt “real” as opposed to Bruges, which feels very touristy. I went to Bruges many years ago and loved it, but if it feels more touristy than this, that would be a lot!