Have you ever been somewhere that you had absolutely no expectations for, but upon visiting you were pleasantly surprised and fell instantly in love?
Well, that’s exactly what happened to me in Rotterdam.
Before heading to #Traverse18 in Rotterdam, I did quite a lot of research on what to expect in the Dutch City. From my Instagram and google searches I saw a lot of modern buildings, quirky architecture and high rises. Honestly, I didn’t think it was my kind of place as I much prefer places with a bit of character and history.
I searched and searched for the places I wanted to visit while there, but ended up drawing up blanks when I couldn’t even find enough instagramable cafes for breakfast each morning.
Knowing my time would be taken up by the conference, I wasn’t *too* bummed I couldn’t find much to do and so I set my expectations as low as I possibly could.
On the day I arrived – the Friday – I had about six hours explore. I jumped in an Uber to my Hostel and couldn’t help but look at everything around me. There were incredible buildings, the cutest harbours and don’t even get me started on the street my Hostel was on.
I was staying at King Kong Hostel on Witte de Withstraat, which is nicknamed ‘Cool Street’. I wasn’t expecting it to be bustling with as many people as it was, but even at midday you could tell it was the place to be. There were quirky bars as restaurants lining each side of the street, with the coolest lighting hanging from the trees. I instantly felt like I was going to like the place, and then I stepped inside the Hostel.
It was SO MUCH better than I had imagined, with the quirkiest decor and coolest vibe. There were lots of people outside enjoying the sun, and everyone just seemed so damn happy. Me included…
I met Ali outside my Hostel after I dropped my bags off and we headed off to explore the area. As Ali *kind of* knew her way around already she took me on the prettiest walk to the Markethal and Cube Houses – the two places I actually wanted to visit.
On the walk there we passed the harbour I had seen on the Uber journey in, and so of course we stopped to take photos. It was so pretty and so unexpected in the middle of such a ‘modern’ city. Next, we went to the Markethal.
The Markethal is both an apartment complex and a gigantic indoor market. As soon as you walk in you can’t help but notice the incredible illustrated ceiling, covered with drawings of every food imaginable. I loved walking around looking at all of the different stalls, all of which were incredibly tempting. I grabbed myself a mango juice and headed outside to the cube houses.
Again, with them being so modern I wasn’t expecting to be *too* fazed by the cubed buildings, but I was fascinated. How do people live in them? Do they need special furniture? How much do you think they cost?
I loved it, and made sure to get plenty of photos each and every time I passed them.
After exploring we decided to grab some food, so we headed to a place called Bulls and Dogs and then Bakers Dough, where they sold tubs of cookie dough. Again, the street Bakers Dough was on was super cute, with lots of people enjoying themselves in the sun.
After five short hours in the city, I was sold.
That evening I went to the opening party for #Traverse18 and so I spent most of the time in The Student Hotel where it was held. We did get a chance to go up to the penthouse which gave us an incredible view over the whole city, making it the perfect end to an amazing day.
The next few days were spent at the conference, however I did get a couple of hours to go and do more exploring, especially as we walked to and from the conference venue most times. One of the days we sat outside eating pizza in the sun and it was so relaxing, I could have stayed there for hours.
I was super sad that I only really had half a day to explore Rotterdam, and have truly learnt my lesson not to judge a book by its cover. Rotterdam was so much more than the internet said it was, and I REALLY hope I get to go back soon.
Maybe a joint trip to Rotterdam and Amsterdam is in order?