Monday, January 27, 2014


Whoa ! I’m surprised myself for the absence in blogging. I have been really too busy with my new home, job and private life. I decided to make my family photo albums from the last years. It proved to be an Herculean task – and I’m not done with it yet. Anyway, I enjoyed my sabbatical from blogging. It was a very productive “pause” !  

I have tons of material to be published. Let’s start with a city trip, shall we ?

My husband’s employer  offered to all employees a lovely weekend in Rotterdam, celebrating the end of 2013. We stayed at the Mainport  Hotel, one of the Design Hotels of the World.

The hotel interiors pointed to Australian references and giant maps in the common areas.

The windows in our room were very large and with stunning views of the skyline. 

We were lucky our room type had a whirlpool bathtub. 

The large bathroom included walk-in shower, sauna and a mirror TV.

Below, a peek in the bar area, under the lobby:

We quickly left to the city – there were discounts everywhere. 30% ! 50% ! 70 !

We decided to have a quick meal at this Chinese, Surinamese lunch room.
Rotterdam is great for ethnic food, there are more than 150 nationalities in the city.  

 A soup for hubby and fried cassava sticks with dried cod in a spicy tomato paste for me. 

Some urban scenes...

Many shops with contemporary design, art galleries...

Erasmus bridge

The Euromast

After some shopping we had the dinner party offered by my husband's employer. 
I could not photograph the buffet, of course not ! 
But here goes a pic with my plate of desserts.

With a bonus: a little glass with pure açaí pulp. What a great idea !  

And I made a bunch of pics of the workshop "how to play Brazilian samba reggae":

While I made a pause after taking the pictures above the guy that was leading the workshop invited me to play along. Well, I was doing nothing anyway... Therefore... why not ? 

It is not that easy. You cannot miss a beat or be one second too late. 
I was supposed to play during the intervals of other insturments, and following a certain sequence. 
I think you have to practice during months to achieve something decent. 
Anyway, at the end of the workshop we were playing "something" you could call indeed samba reggae. 
I have a lot of respect for people playing the drums. 
It is heavy, it is tough, as husband later on told me. Yeah, he tried it as well. 

Rotterdam has the most important harbor in Europe – and one of the busiest of the world.
The harbor museum is for free. You pass by old bots in excellent state of preservation. 

Because the city was heavily bombarded during the Second World War,  most of its old buildings were destroyed. Despite all this tragedy, it opened up vast areas for a lot of new projects and experimentation with modern architecture and design. Frequentlywhile walking around  I had a feeling about being in Singapore or Hong Kong. 

I can count on my fingers the few times I have been in the city during over a decade living in The Netherlands. Always in a rush: three times for purchasing and adjusting my wedding dress. Once with my parents. And one rainy afternoon in Café New York (a must visit spot in the city due to it historical importance).

Although its spectacular skyscrapers, I think it goes a bit too far calling Rotterdam “Manhattan on the Maas” (and I have newver been in New York!). Anyway,  It is a unique city for Dutch standards, and a very interesting metropolis. If you as a tourist have already done the traditional circuit Amsterdam - The Hague – Zaanse Schans (or Leiden / Delft / Haarlem, etc.) then I recommend you spend a good afternoon in Rotterdam. There are a lot of attractions and  things to see and do. And always spectacular views !

Above: the cubic houses

I plan to visit Rotterdam again before the summer, with the kids. 
Go to the Euromast and then visit the covered market (Blaak) that shall be inaugurated in the spring. 

That's all for the moment.
I hope to be blogging twice a month for now.
Thanks for visiting and for following !