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A morning in Rotterdam

May 1, 2016

No one in their right mind visits the Netherlands for the weather. But at least you know what to expect – rain, wind and maybe hailstones. Well that was our experience when we visited Rotterdam for a couple of days. But, dodging the worst of the weather, we found that the city is much more than just an enormous port for container ships.

Much of Rotterdam was flattened by German bombing in the second world war, but Delfshaven remained largely intact. It is approached by a road bridge which lifts to accommodate river traffic.

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Down a narrow lane, and half way up a wall, are engravings that celebrate the town’s fishing heritage. A chubby looking whale, green with age, spouts purposefully. A substantial herring bears the inscription 1607. A cooking grill suggests where the herring is likely to end up.

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Beyond the No Entry sign, on the left, is the Old Church, famed in tradition as the spot where the Pilgrim Fathers set off in the ‘Speedwell’ (which turned out to be more like the Leak Well) in search of religious freedom in the American colonies. For a tour of the church, you have to return at the weekend.

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We crossed a traditional lifting bridge where an orange coated surveyor was taking meticulous readings.

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To right and left, the harbour was lined with sailing barges.

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One bank of the river was lined with deserted looking motor cruisers.

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In the distance, the sails of a windmill – and ominous grey clouds – were reflected in the water.

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Builders were erecting scaffolding along buildings by the water side. A bull’s head surveyed the scene from the apex of the roof.

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We retraced our steps, and surveyed the post war buildings fronting onto the relaxed sounding Coolhaven. Then we made our way back to the hotel in Mathenesserlaan, and only then did it start to rain.

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