Eurostar tickets to various locations were being sold at a reduced price a month before going on this trip, and I couldn’t resist the temptation of doing some train travel even if it were to destinations I had been before.
So the initial plans were to go to Brussels and spend one night there before making my way to Amsterdam with local trains. The last time I had been to both cities was in 2011 and the Netherlands rates highly on my list of favourite places to visit.
But I had to reconsider my plans after the devastating attacks in Brussels that happened a week before going. I did not believe there would be repeat events when I was there, and like Paris, I have no hesitations in travelling there but the reality is that security toughens when a city is on edge, making travel tricky. More bag checks, more areas not accessible, means longer lines and more inconvenience.
And the security presence at Brussels train stations was obvious. Transport staff were out and about, wondering the platforms and concourse, while heavily uniformed army persons guarded entrances with guns shown conspicuously.
I settled on making my way to Rotterdam and using that as my base.
To be honest Rotterdam, the biggest port city in Europe, does not have much going on. My hostel was on the main stretch of bars and this was lively on the Friday night I was there. In terms of filling a day with activities, it was better to travel out of the city, which I did. I spent one day wondering around the city taking photos. Like most European cities, it’s quite easy to get around on foot (or bike).
But the best thing I found in Rotterdam appeased my cultural background. I was born in Indonesia and have Chinese heritage, so I was pretty excited to be eating my favourite Indonesian dishes again – something I had definitely missed living in London these last eight months. So a big shout out to Sari Koering for looking after me so well!
Coming up will be a post photos from a day trip to the outskirts of Amsterdam where I went hunting for traditional Dutch windmills and cheese making!