After passing the relatively sleepless night, the cold paired with unusual bedfellows, including some very chatty birds and these furry guys, I was up and on the road shortly after 5:30am, quickly passing the 10 miles/16km (left to get to the ferry dock in Harwich. The 7.5hour ferry ride was pleasant – I napped, sipped passable coffee, read, and fought with the inconsistent internet in order to find indoor accommodations for the evening. By the time we arrived in Hook of Holland in the early evening, I had arranged for an Airbnb in Rotterdam.
The route to Rotterdam is charming – the perfect bike paths take you through the scenic province of South Holland. I was thoroughly charmed by the endless fields, separated by thin slivers of water, the endless rows of greenhouses, and the crowds of vocal baby goats and sheep.
Due to some navigational challenges, it took me a bit longer than expected to get to Rotterdam (likely covering 30 miles/50km on my meandering route). As I crossed the city to get to my east-end Airbnb, I saw a sneak peak of some of the unique modern architecture that Rotterdam is renowned for, after nearly complete destruction during WWII. By day, these spectacles were much more obvious, including the famed cube houses (Kubuswoningen), designed by Peit Blom in 1984. Rotterdam is port city, with a long marine history, including a bit of personal history for my family. I chatted with my grandma while sitting in a Rotterdam coffee shop, and she said that when her family emigrated to Canada, they left from the port of Rotterdam, earning its name as the “Gateway to the World.” There are lots of boats and some really cool bridges in this town!This is definitely not a very extensive guide for what to do and see in Rotterdam, as I skipped the (rumoured to be excellent Architecture Institute, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, and the Maritime Museum), but I did achieve my main goal of finding really delicious coffee. I installed myself at Hopper for several hours, enjoying a few perfect americanos, breakfast, and the best gluten-free brownie I have ever had in a lovely, super friendly atmosphere. They even had GERANIUMS on the table, which to me will always be a plant that reminds me of home.
Remember, this is all part of my “Pedalling for Mental Health” challenge, where I am hoping to raise money for mental health research. If you are able to support this great charity, please donate here!
Total miles logged: 140 miles/225km