Thursday, October 20, 2005

Holland Ahoy!!!

After three hectic days, I took a much needed break in sweet and simple old Brussels – for one day, before I set off for the Netherlands. Getting there took me less than two hours and an adventure. I had some work at Brussels Nord station so I set off quite early. First, I got off a few stops too early and had to take another bus. Well, I couldn’t get the work done and then took the wrong bus to the station. On top off it, I got off a few stops later than I should have and then walked in the wrong direction towards the station before finally turning around and reaching Brussels North station.

Unsurprisingly, the train left just 5 mins before I reached the station and I had to wait an hour for the next train. So when I finally and successfully reached my friends place in Rotterdam, I began to feel like I had accomplished something really big. My friends have a very comfortable, well-furnished and cosy apartment…..sigh!!!

Rotterdam had been completely bombed by the Germans during WWII and the gutsy Dutch built it back to make it look much modern and sophisticated. It is architecturally a very elegant city and is home to Europe’s first skyscraper. So we walked around the city and then took an hour long ferry along the Rotterdam Port. Apart from being a pleasant and enjoyable ride, we also learnt a lot about the port – it is the world’s second largest port and the first fully automated one and other such information which I am sure you guys aren’t interested in knowing.

We then went to the Centrum, which is, obviously, the central area of the city and had dinner there. We then went to the Euromast tower, which is supposedly one of Europe’s tallest buildings. The view from there is really beautiful but since it was very windy and raining I was more concerned about keeping warm. However, while walking down the stairs, I slipped and fell so that for the rest of my stay in the Netherlands, I was bound to wince everytime I sat down.

The next day was a lazy day. My friends had class so I accompanied them to college and sat in the library and surfed the internet. I got to chat with a lot of people I hadn’t been in touch with for a long time so I felt very good. We then went grocery shopping and by then it had started raining so heavily that we just came back home. We watched a Demi Moore-Bruce Willis thriller and a couple of travel shows on TV (yes, they even have English channels on their TV) and then I curled up in bed with a hilarious book called the ‘Undutchables’, which is an exaggerated caricature of Dutch living, attitudes and lifestyle.

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