Asking our friend Amalin what the citizens of Rotterdam did on a Sunday afternoon produced an instant response. “They go shopping!” And she certainly wasn’t kidding! Out the door we went, constantly remarking about how visually tantalising everything seemed.
Red tulips and a black cycle
We made our way to the tram after a leisurely brunch, headed into the shopping precinct, and were simply astonished at how clogged the sidewalks and shops were with people. But the area is quite attractive architecturally, there are plenty of places to stop and eat or get a coffee, and there was a happy vibe amongst the people who were out and about in the sunshine.
There are boutique-small and department-store-large places to shop for block after block. One section is a deep slash in the street which leads down to even more shops. The Dutch have a marvelous sense of humour about this particular district. They refer to it as “shopping in the buying gutter.” If you click on the picture, it enlarges so you can see more of the detail. Click again and you will see just how many people are milling around on that upper level!
Rotterdam shopping on a Sunday afternoon
Close-up of flashing tram sign
Flashing signs at tram crossing
The tram system here is utterly delightful and seems to get you just about everywhere you want to go. But you must be aware as you are crossing the tracks that the trams can be ultra-quiet and it would be far too easy to step out in front of one. For that reason, there is a tram crossing sign at the intersections of streets that makes a ding-ding-ding sound to draw your attention and there is also a flashing sign at the corner with a tiny little tram symbol in it. Wonderful!
We have seen no traffic congestion here at any time of day or night. I believe that this directly relates to the availability of public transportation throughout Rotterdam via tram, train, or metro. And there are quite a lot of people who ride their bicycles everywhere! There are dedicated bike lanes, some which also allow motor scooter traffic, and it keeps the number of cars on the road at a minimum compared to most other metropolitan European cities.
And to mention the Dutch sense of humour for a second time, I know of no other place that would have a bronze piece of sculpture in a public street that was an ‘homage’ to a dog and his poo!
Special lane only for bikes and scooters
Dog and poo sculpture
Come back tomorrow and I’ll have Part Three of Rambling Around Rotterdam with lots more pictures!
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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