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Published: October 31st 2018
I had training for work in Amsterdam at the end of October, so I decided to leave a few days early to see the Netherlands and visit with friends. After a quick of the area, I decided to stay my first night in Rotterdam. Of course, I got business class on my morning flight from Dubai.
Many friends had told me how easy the trains were here, and after a few minutes of figuring it out, they were right. I arrived at Schipol, went through customs with little wait, and got my checked bag. After walking out into the waiting area, I looked for signs for the train and found a site map nearby. At first, getting tickets was a little confusing and the station information (that I saw) was in Dutch, but I was able to figure it out and realize a direct train to Rotterdam was about to board, so I made my way to the platform, and got on a relatively empty train. I loved seeing the distant windmills and dikes and local farmland. I think there was one stop in between, but we got to Rotterdam Central in about 25 minutes. Rather than figure out the
local tram or bus system, I just got a taxi for the final portion. He was cool.
My hotel is called CitizenM and is apparently part of a chain of sustainable, socially conscious hotels. It is self check-in via a little kiosk where you also make your own room key. So, I got my key and head up to my room, which was extremely small, but very tastefully decorated. Honestly, I didn't need any more. The bed was comfortable, I had a view of the harbor, the bathroom was nice and clean, and there were even adapted plugs already available. Plus an iPad by the bed which controlled all room functions like lights, tv, and the blinds. Nice.
Despite the wind, rain and cold, I stepped out to see what I came for: the cube houses, which were right by my hotel. I wandered the streets and was pleased to see all the bicycles even in this weather. I found my way up to the cube house museum, which allows you access to a model home for 3 euros. It was busy, but pretty impressive. The homes are basically three levels, plus the lower entrance stairs (so, lots
of stairs). The first living floor has a main room and a small, but efficient kitchen. The next level has two bedrooms and a bathroom. The third level is an open loft with 360 degree views. I could see living here, maybe not forever, but it has much more space than it looks like it does. Just a lot of steep stairs (a common theme here in the Netherlands actually...).
The cube houses were designed by Piet Blom and are intended to optimize space. This is done by having a small lower level entrance and a large living area above - it is supposed to represent a forest. It is a very interesting neighborhood, but I would hate living here and having people just staring constantly at my home.
After seeing the cubes, I wandered along the harbor, taking in all the waterside restaurants, most of which were not open yet. It seemed like a fun place to hang out. But I went back to my hotel, got a drink and a charcuterie platter and went to my room, where I think I passed out almost immediately...
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