Rotterdam - The Netherlands

Currently we live in Haarlem, 20 minutes from Amsterdam. To get to Rotterdam is easy - get to a train station and your set. That way you will also be able to take your bicycle and make exploring easier and faster. However, we didn't travel too comfortably on the way to Rotterdam.

Trains in The Netherlands normally have a few bicycle carriages that can only be used during off peak hours, so make sure you the first on during that time if you traveling far. Usually there is a section to park the bicycles and a place to have a seat - on the same carriage. Unfortunately for us we had a bit of a problem. The carriage we used was stupidly packed. It's actually a bit of a gamble because you never know how many people might have got on at a previous stop. In our carriage, people put their bicycles against the seats making sitting impossible. We ended up sitting on the stairs leading up to the second floor of a passenger carriage. Honestly, it's not the way you want to travel for more than a hour.

Tip - pack lightly (one backpack each) 

We arrived at Rotterdam station and easily made our way to the exit. Our first stop was visiting the aquarium. I didn't realize at first, but there are apparently two aquariums in Rotterdam. The one we went to visit was in the Blijdorp Rotterdam Zoo. If you only after an aquarium try to visit Sea Life and please let me know what you thought.

I'm not really into zoo's because I find it's cruel and unnatural for a wild animal to be kept away like that and have also seen scenarios that didn't make me happy - BUT at the same time, I am aware that there are zoo's who do, do good. 

The Blijdorp Rotterdam Zoo is quite nice. Unfortunately we chose one of the hottest days in Rotterdam (yes the sun does shine here) so it was very humid and didn't get to see some of the animals because of the heat. They were all hiding somewhere cool.

I wasn't disappointed though because my main aim was to visit the aquarium. To get there you have to walk through the middle of the zoo. We decided to walk around as we made our way there. Make sure you are wearing very comfortable shoes and that you have water and snacks. There is a restaurant and a few stalls (of which some might not be open). The aquarium itself is really beautiful! Take a look for yourself...

When we were done at the zoo, we made our way down to the hotel to check in. There was a problem with our online check-in and was told we didn't secure our room (be careful). The manager was so nice he bumped us up into a suite. We stayed at Hotel Port, but didn't spend too much time at the actual hotel. However the time we did spend there was comfortable and pleasant. The staff are very friendly and the Mediterranean breakfast the next morning is not bad at all. I'd highly recommend staying there if you not looking for something over the top price wise.

The view from the room

Our next few stops in Rotterdam including seeing the Erasmus Bridge, landmarks and all the architecture. We end up driving around non stop for 3 hours, because we made the mistake of crossing one bridge before finding out if the other was open. We eventually stopped off at a casual little restaurant next to Markhal.

The next day we decided to cycle around the city center and do a bit of exploring while we made our way back up to the station. Our trip home was a lot more pleasant as we managed to get proper seats in the bicycle carriage.

We will definitely be visiting Rotterdam in the future to ride the speeding water Taxi's and to see what the nightlife is about too.