Thursday, December 07, 2006
It wasn’t “tourist season” so I couldn’t do one of the things I had wanted to. They have some Euromast thing, I am assuming it is similar to a Space Needle. This one, though, you can repel out of. Unfortunately, it is only open during the summer. Alas…
I did sleep on a boat though. I booked into the Clipper Hotel which was a house boat. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I booked it. I arrived at the side of the canal and climbed down a sketchy iron ladder to get on this house boat. Entering, I was in somebody’s living room. There were 3 medium dogs and a (rather bratty) kid. “Mom” was a young woman, younger than me, I believe, who checked me in. She was courteous, though not friendly. While she was dealing with one of the boy’s little temper tantrums, I admired his art and school papers posted around the house. Very homey feel. I had booked out a double room for myself and ended up with a small twin bunk bed with a port-hole window. Though it was cramped and some what an odd scene, I was boyishly excited to be sleeping on a boat.
After getting settled in, I headed out to see what Rotterdam (or Ro-Town, as the cool kids call it) had to offer.
I was in a good mood heading out and Ro-Town didn’t disappoint. I stopped in a small bar to get my bearings and was treated to an excellent beer (Belgian, I believe). Wandered towards the ‘hip’ area. Most of the shops and what not were closed down but I did find a pool spot. Randomly, the bartender at this pool place gave me a quick history of some of the battles in the civil war. He was apparently writing a book on the US Civil War. Go figure. We chatted for a while and I went up to shoot pool.
The pool table was excellent. The dutch really care about their games (probably why I like them). The table looked old and the felt was worn. After playing a couple of shots though, you could see, or rather feel, that this was a quality table. I shot for a couple of hours and decided to see what else I could find.
I wandered a bit, got dinner at some bar, and pretty much covered all of the downtown areas of Rotterdam. A far cry from some of the larger cities where there is a bar or café every couple of feet, Rotterdam has a select set of establishments that stay open. After wandering around a bit, I found a casino that was playing the new Bond film. Pretty good actually.
Wandering back to my boat, I was a bit worried about navigating that ladder in the wet, dark, slightly intoxicated state. I was very surprised to find that I the 6 or so hours I had been gone, the water level rose about 8 feet. I had to step up to get into the boat. Ocean tides and what not. Since Rotterdam is mostly under sea level and protected by a series of dikes, I didn’t think the tides would affect them. I suppose they could be ‘man made’ for some purpose. Flushing the system perhaps?
Anyway, I checked out the next day and saw that I was staying right next to the cube houses. Some fancy housing experiment, they are basically cubes standing on one corner. It seems like a pretty inefficient way to build a house. Some 20% of the space is un usable due to the slanting walls. Ahh well, progress.
I went to the local art museum and saw a Magritte exhibit. Really good, quite a few things that I would hang on my wall.
After that, I went and found a café near the train station to pass the time until my train left. This place had a pinball game that I got to playing. This was another example of high quality games as it was much better built than most pinball games I have played. Real carved figures inside, lots of mechanics and less flashing lights. The flippers had a very analogue feel.
Wandering around, I realized that New York was founded by the dutch and both towns had something in common. I couldn’t quite place my finger on it, but there is something there. Maybe just a feeling.
Well, they say Amsterdam to play, Rotterdam to work, and the Hague to live. I guess the Hague is my next destination.