Today’s pictures on flickr

So I went to bed late last night on the boat and awoke to rumbling engines as we set sail around 6am. Of course, that time I just rolled over after putting in a pair of ear plugs. I woke several hours later as I felt the boat being jostled. I pulled back the curtains of our room to discover that we had docked temporarily. A litle later we were moving onwards and passing through canals, locks, under bridges and passed other ships.

The cruise we are taking is travelling to Rotterdam, Antwerp, Brussels, and back through the same cities to Amsterdam by means of the inland canal and river systems. I have to admit I was tempted to get out of bed and watch our progress but in the end I crawled back to bed and stayed there until shortly before we docked in Rotterdam shortly after noon. I will have to make it a point to get up one morning as we sail. I liked the perspective of the canals from the shoreline as I was cycling. I should fully appreciate it from the water.

Now Rotterdam is unlike any European city I have previously seen. It is VERY modern with highrises comprises the core. The city is the largest European sea port and owes much of its modern look to World War II. Much of the central area of the city along with the docks was destroyed May 14, 1940 by a bombing raid. The post-war rebuilding was done in a modernistic style and the docks were moved away from the central area. Rotterdam was also the birthplace of modern architect Koolhus.

I do tend to like modern architecture and art but find that many modern buildings places together, the look can be rather discordant. Rotterdam has some incredibly interesting buildings but on the whole, I don’t find it very beautiful. I much prefer when something modernistic accents or complements something traditional. Like the glass pyrimid at the Louvre. But this is an impressive city and is very distictive from the rest of Europe where high rises are rare – especially in the centrums.

Today is Saturday and walking through the city we found people out in droves shopping. We didn’t have any goals so we wondered for a bit, went in and viewed a photographic exhibit and I bought crushable dance shoes when we happened to walk passed a dance store. I had noticed in a tourism booklet that there was a “Pancake boat cruise” that departed every Saturday featuring a buffet of one of my favorite foods, pancakes. But not the american-style but the thin crepe-like variety. I convinced Bryan that Rotterdam is a city based around the water so what better way to see it but with a 3-hour cruise and an unlimited supply of pancakes. We could always go salsa dancing to try out my new shoes afer we docked. So we napped and headed to the boat’s departure location. But alas it wasn’t running and the “China Boat” cruise next to it was already sold out. We, instead, had dinner at a Chinese buffet firmly planted on the ground with a wok station where you could create your own stirfry and have it cooked with flashes of fire by the chefs. I ate too much. Bryan and I declared ourselves tired and wanting to do nothing but retire to our bed, blog, and books. Tomorrow we are in Antwerp. Now Belgium is a new country for me having only ever been driven through it on a bus before.