A trip to Rotterdam

Ask me about my top 3 favourite cities in the Netherlands and Rotterdam will always make the list. In fact, it currently holds second place. Utrecht is first just because of living here for almost 4 years now. Had it not be for living in Utrecht, Rotterdam would easily be my slice of heaven in the Netherlands. The multicultural composition of the city’s inhabitants and the tall rising buildings that define the skyline are just two reasons why I the city. I have visited Rotterdam quite a few times but my most recent trip there was unique and one to remember. Just like most journeys I make, they all start or pass through Utrecht Centraal. So let’s start there, shall we?

Here I am, semi-struggling with a bag at Utrecht Centraal. It must be noted that a few minutes after this picture was taken, I was given a thorough lesson on how to carry a heavy bag up and down an escalator. This was done with visual aids which Aila was willing to demonstrate.

To Trevor Noah: thank you for sharing your experience of Zambians and escalators. Every time I use an escalator with Aila, I am reminded of how much we need to build more.

Rotterdam’s architecture is different from most of the Netherlands. Having been bombed during WW2, the buildings are more Modern.

I took this picture in 2018
Taken in 2018 also

Wait, this blog is not about sharing photos of Rotterdam that were taken years ago. Rather, it is a reminisce of a short yet sweet trip that I had last week with my dear friend, Aila.

We got to Rotterdam in one piece. After dropping off our bags, we had a drink at Coffee Company. Yes, I do drink coffee. How often is a question for another day.

Rumour has it that this cup of cappuccino kept me up until 2 am.

If this trip were to be summarised in one image. It would be the following:

I challenge you to find a friend who is excited about the little things in life as much as Aila is.

It is summer in the Netherlands but we still had a fair amount of rain. Any more, we could have been drenched. Any less, we couldn’t have been in the Netherlands. People who were glasses will thus be quite familiar with the sentiments expressed in the image below.

Yours truly cleaning his glasses. If my eyes look big, please blame the weather. (Pic credits: Aila)

Rotterdam is a very diverse city. You can literally see and feel it on the streets. Food is one way to tap into this diversity. On this day, we embraced the African in our blood and enjoyed ourselves to a lovely dinner at Restaurant De Smaak van Afrika. If my Dutch saves me well, the literal translation of the restaurant’s name is “taste of Africa.” Well, I can confirm that it definitely was.

Shortly after this, the restaurant was filled to the brim. (pic credit: Aila).
The food was great and so was the atmosphere. It was simply gezellig. (pic credit: Aila).

I have intentionally left out any picutures of the food we had here because in my opinion, no picture can do justice to the food. The food was absolutely delicious and worth every cent we spent. I want to go back again.

I left the restaurant with a food baby (if not a couple) and a great sense respect for the chef and African Culture. Also, there was a way in which the whole experience on this short trip made me feel at home, perhaps much more than I often feel on the streets of Utrecht.

The journey back home was also a delight. It was sprinkled with countless fun moments such as running for a train and later a tram. In a way, leaving Rotterdam was like leaving a small piece of my heart because truth be told, Rotterdam has stolen my heart. At the same time, Utrecht is home. There’s always that not-so-easy to describe feeling I get when I get on a train heading to Utrecht Centraal. I feel like I am going home. Perhaps you can love two cities equally and be at home in both? If not, then I want to move to Rotterdam. If so, moving to Rotterdam is still on the cards.

Let’s just say it was a coincidence that we wore similar shoes.

Altogether, it was a wonderful trip that needs to be repeated soon. A massive thank you to Aila for this trip and taking many of the pictures I have shared. She has a fantastic YouTube channel where she shares some wholesome and authentic content. Be sure to check it out and subscribe to the channel here.

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