“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


SS Rotterdam, Katendrecht
On March first, I escorted my mother back to the Netherlands, as her wintering period was over and she needed further treatment in the Netherlands for her injuries (see my blog Shoulder Dislocation).

I am staying here for 3 weeks, first of all to help my mother as a care-giver, as she can almost not use her both arms, and further to solve some administrative problems like income tax obligations and preparing logistics for materials I need in the Philippines.

Not to forget of course meeting my other family members and especially my two kids, who are living here without their father already more than 2 years.

They promised me to prepare an outing day in Rotterdam as a birthday gift for my 65th anniversary. My son is living in Rotterdam for several months now, with his girlfriend, and he is still discovering the city.

I was invited to come to Rotterdam on Saturday 16th of March. As I was allowed to use the car of my daughter for two weeks and staying with my mother in Hengelo to take care of her, we decided that I would pick-up my daughter Saturday morning early in Nijmegen and from there we drove together to Rotterdam.

Father and siblings united again

My son is living in a nice apartment almost into the center of Rotterdam, near to Blaak underground station and the river Nieuwe Maas. So we started with a lot of hugging and then the usual dutch coffee with cake. And of course a lot of talking to exchange the latest news and gossip.

 He prepared the whole day for us and the first thing I got was an OV (Public Transport) chip card. As I was abroad for more than 2 years, I didn't know about the new OV chip card, but after he explained the way of working, I concluded that it was a copy of Hong Kong's MTR.

The first leg of our tour was travelling by underground from Blaak to Witte de Withstraat, one of the famous entertainment streets with many restaurants and bars. Target was the world famous art museum of Boijmans van Beuningen.

Boijmans and Beuningen art museum
I had been there before, but I guess it was more than 20 years ago, so I was very interested to see it again. Well my memory is not what it used to be, so almost everything was new again, or at least I didn't remember which painting I had seen before in this museum, or was it in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam or the Hermitage in Saint Petersborough in Russia?

They have many old and recent Dutch masters like Frans Hals, Rembrandt, Jan Steen, but also Picasso and Vincent van Gogh. This is really one of the better art museums in the Netherlands, so if you are ever visiting the country, don't forget to go to Rotterdam.

After several hours spent in the museum, we went again to the Witte de With street and took a late lunch in the Turkisch hotel/restaurant the Bazar. We took a vegetarian soup made of papikra (bell pepper) and other ingredients including chili's. Excellent!!

Next trip was to Katendrecht, a former hooker area on a small island, near to the old Holland America Line (HAL) HQ building, which has been restored now like many other old buildings in this area. At the end of the island you find the former HAL ship ss Rotterdam, that was build to act alternating as an ocean liner, as well as a cruise ship.

Previous HAL HQ, now a restaurant nad facility center
Ship building started in Rotterdam in December 1956, launched in 1958 and it sailed under different names until 2000 as a passenger ocean liner, as well as a cruiser.

In 2001 the ship came back to Rotterdam and was adapted to act as a hotel, restaurant, party center and many more. We visited the ship, had some drinks, went around and up and down, even went on one of the decks upstairs. The address is: 3e Katendrechtse Hoofd, 3072 AM Rotterdam.
The last resting place??

It was so cold and a lot of wind made it even colder, so I preferred to go back by vehicle. We choose a free taxi, in stead of an open tuktuk and went to the Blaak market, which was already closing, so just in time to buy some sheep cheeses to enjoy the wine we were planning to drink at home. Before going home we went to a nice wine bar at the edge of the market and enjoyed several white wines, from Germany and South Africa.

Enjoying the Cheese Fondue
Finally we went home and dinner was prepared, a Cheese Fondue with red wine. Delicious and after dinner the wine kept going, so we were quite satisfied and a bit drunk when we went to bed late that night.

Thanks J.and E. for the onforgettable day, and of course also E. for joining us.


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