Scary High Apartment
Having popped to Rotterdam for only a quick day trip from Delft I wanted to return and I wanted to stay in a modern high-rise apartment. I also wanted to see this place at night.
You haven’t really, truly lived until you slide open your balcony door and from fifteen floors below you, cutting through the familiar squawks and shrill cries of gulls, comes the old fashioned strains of a travelling barrel organ playing Demis Roussos’s “Forever” and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever!!!! Marvellous things these sound proof windows you know.
The Very New Food Hall
The totally wonderful Food Market is a huge arched block of apartments. Nestled inside the building’s void is a bustling food market dense with both stalls, shops, street food, exquisite delicacies and restaurants above the outlets. All under cover and protected from extremes of weather so stall holders can trade all year round with ease. Inside the extremely high roof there is a giant mural featuring foods, flowers animals, fish and butterflies. It is more like a main train station than a market.
Then as dusk draws down across the city the wind drops and the threat of rain subsides. Time for my guided tour of all the key places. I anticipated that the town would look somewhat different later when it lit up. And I was right.
A wonderful Syrian who now calls Rotterdam home agreed to walk me around. It shines and shimmers. Canal waters dance across buildings like projections. All totally modern and embracing the future. Everywhere is being built again. And the citizens seem to love all the change. Indeed here they sell this rich thriving port to the Dutch themselves by saying that Rotterdam is refreshing as it lacks the tourists everywhere else in The Netherlands.
It didn’t disappoint. My new friend showed me places and related his story about coming to the city after fleeing the war and months in refugee centres. He is now trying to settle in and has dreams of a brighter future with all the opportunities that the Dutch people are now offering him. He was a perfect host to appreciate what a future striving modernising city means to a new citizen how is starting a whole new chapter in his life. I really hope one day to come back and see him living the life as an accomplished artist. His pictures were great. Gently tortured and somehow shy, boldly open and future ready. He’s seen awful things and Rotterdam is allowing him the space to face the things he witnessed and to process them. And most importantly the chance to move forward. His artistic and life perspectives are inspiring. Such a humble approach to fitting in and still sticking out with gentle beauty like a sore thumb…