When a mini getaway to Rotterdam is going to set you back £45, you can’t say no. I knew my good friend Vicki wanted to visit the City of Culture, so whilst I was racking my brain on how to fill her weekend up North, a P&O mini cruise sprung to mind. For those who are unfamiliar with a mini cruise, you spend two nights on a ferry and one day exploring a European city.
Vicki arrived in Hull from London, on her birthday. What a way to celebrate. We went for Greek food at the Aegean. It is known for its authentic Greek food, one review saying “if it was 20°C warmer you could believe you were in Greece!”. We shared a few starters, mainly cheese. I then attempted to devour the Mixed Soulvaki but failed miserably. I always have eyes bigger than my belly. Luckily I got to take the leftovers home.
After a chilled Saturday morning, I drove us into Hull for an afternoon of exploration, poutine and snack shopping. I am extremely proud to show off Hull, my favourite spots are Old Town, Humber Street and Trinity Market. I always find my guests are pleasantly surprised. Don’t knock it till you try it guys and gals. We ate at the Crown and Cushion in Old Town. I found poutine on their menu so I had to try it with my fellow poutine lover. It wasn’t quite the poutine we got used to eating in Vancouver. There was a lack of cheese curds, it was more of a cheesy chips with gravy combo. However I’m not complaining, it still went down a treat.
Before catching our overnight ferry to Rotterdam, I showed Vicki the delights of B&M. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it is a gigantic shop full of discounted products from cans of beans to rugs for your living room. This was her very first B&M experience, so we filled our basket full of biscuits, chocolate, sweets and wine. Go big or go home, right?
After an uneventful night on the ferry, we arrived in Rotterdam at about 10:30am. I had sussed out a breakfast place whilst en route. Unfortunately it didn’t open till 11am so we went for a wander. It was rainy, cold and grey. I tried my best not to moan about the weather but inevitably it happened. We stumbled upon street art, a film festival and beautiful buildings.
We ate at Altyd In De Buurt (translated in English to Always Near). It was ever so hipster and the interior was Instagram worthy. It had different levels, a tree and a swing. We were the first customers of the day, eager beavers. It was definitely worth the wait. The food was delicious and the mocha was possibly one of the best I’ve ever had. It was made with hot milk and a bar of chocolate. It was a hard decision to make but I settled for the chicken and waffles. I wanted everything on the menu.
With a full stomach we hired bikes using the Mobike app, a bike share program. You create an account, add funds and then use the app to reserve a bike within walking distance. You can dock these bikes anywhere across the city, so you will see them randomly abandoned on street corners. It was a fairly easy process, you just have to keep an eye on the time to avoid extra fees. We biked towards the Market Hall. I’m aware of the bike culture in the Netherlands so I wasn’t surprised to see accessible, safe bike routes across the city. Once at your chosen destination you use the app to lock the bike and end your trip.
We dumped the bikes outside of the Market Hall and rushed inside to warm up. With frozen hands and feet, we aimlessly walked through the crowds, admiring all the delicious looking food. Unfortunately we were both stuffed from our brunch, so we left without sampling any of the tasty delights. There’s never enough meal times for all the food I want to devour; one of my biggest disappointments whilst travelling
From the Market Hall, we wandered across the plaza to the Cube House, a must see whilst in Rotterdam. The whole city is full of weird and wonderful architecture, a total mix of new and old. The Cube House is popular for those all important profile pictures. Vicki and I had a full blown photo shoot whilst people walked in and out of our shots. My abs hurt from laughing by the end of it.
After an exhausting photo shoot in the elements, we retreated to Stayokay Hostel. The hostel was located within the Cube House, it looked like a really cool place to stay. The reception and café area was quiet but warm so we took the opportunity to order a hot drink. We sat mulling over our next plan and flicked through our photos.
I’m gonna cry, I’m cold.Vicki
We eventually swapped the warmth for the cold and hopped back on the Mobikes. We biked along a scenic seawall along the Nieuwe Maas and then made our way to the High Street for some retail therapy. We were both looking for a memorable gift from the trip, possibly a ring. We hopped from shop to shop, totally disappointed with the lack of options. We left in a hurry after realising we had totally lost track of time. We had to make it back to Central Station for 5pm to catch our bus to the ferry. We didn’t want to miss that. We abandoned the shopping and ran towards the station. The running was more of a speed walk in all honesty. We did make it, even with a stressful wait at a sushi restaurant for takeout food.
Once back on the ferry, we were soon notified about a storm that we would encounter on our journey home. We both looked at each other and nervous laughed. They played the ‘what to do in an emergency’ announcement, we panicked. It was a horrendous crossing. It felt like the ferry was about to tip over at multiple points through the night. I kept checking for water leaking into our cabin. I barely slept. We listened to Khalid and The Carters on repeat. However we survived, we lived to tell the tale. I feared for my life at the time but now I think it’s absolutely hilarious. I can’t help but think maybe I was been a little dramatic. No, it was awful!
Thanks Vicki for an unforgettable weekend. Where shall we go next?