Sinterklaas, Rotterdam, and My First Hostel Experience
11.13.2010 - 11.14.2010 5 °C
Saturday the 13th Sinterklaas came to visit! Sinterklaas is the Dutch version of Santa Claus.
The story of Sinterklaas is weird and creepy, but the kids here go ape shit for him. He looks like the love child of Santa Claus and the Pope. SInterklaas rides in on a boat from Spain every year about 3 weeks before his birthday which is December 5th and rides back to Spain on December 6th after all of his birthday celebrations are over. Sinterklaas brings with him all of his Zwarte Peits. Zwarte Piets are the Dutch version of elves. Except for the fact that they are all painted black. The Zwarte Peits were children who were naughty that Sinterklass kidnapped and took with him to Spain to work as his slaves. They are painted black because they got soot all over them when they went down the chimneys to deliver presents in the good childrens' shoes.
(You can see Sinterklaas coming in on the boat)
So, we have a creepy old guy who leaves candy for the children and steals them and makes them slaves if they are bad. Then he comes all the way from spain to the Netherlands once a year for three weeks to celebrate his birthday with the soot covered kidnapped children that he now calls zwarte peit. alrighty then.
This weekend I went to Rotterdam with a fellow Au Pair. The experience started off well. We made to the train on time, foudn seats and had a relaxing 30 minute ride from Den Haag Central Station. Well.... As soon as we got off the train that changed. Those of you who know me know that I have a terrible sense of direction. It just doesn't exist for me. So, in order to keep from getting lost I looked up directions before we left. The directions said take Tram 7. So we hopped on Tram 7. In the wrong direction. By the time I figured it out we were at the very top of Rotterdam and we suppose to be at the bottom. Oops. So just like Captain Ron we pulled on some wares and asked for directions! So we got off the tram and hopped on the Metro then hopped off the Metro and hopped on a different Metro then hopped off again. Got that all? Then we started walking. And walking. Then turned around and walked some more. Finally we passed a giant map of Rotterdam and found our street. When we got to it, it was the one we started at. And there was. Hostel ROOM Rotterdam. In all of its glory. ( http://www.roomrotterdam.nl/ )
The second we walked in we got the very potent smell of pot the first of which I actually had smelled since I arrived here. We wondered to the front desk and got our keys and head up to our room.
After we put our things on our bunks and made our beds we headed back down stairs to the bar. We ordered a couple Jupilers and sat down with some of the other people staying. One of the locals who worked at the Hostel was sitting with us and told us about a Mediterranean Restaurant name Nazar that was amazing. So, we finished our beers and headed there.
We ordered feta and mint rolls that were melty and delish! I ordered chicken skewers and Laura ordered Salmon. Everything was so good!!
We then went back to the Hostel to see what else what going on that evening in Rotterdam. After sitting with a couple from Canada for about an hour we headed out in search for a pub. The first four we walked in we ended up turning around and walking right back out. We finally found a good one back down by Nazar and we sat and enjoyed a dark lager and bad 80's music.
On Sunday morning when we got up we quickly got dressed and head down to catch some breakfast before they cleaned it up. It was there that I ate the best thing ever. NUTELLA!
Then we grabbed our bags, checked out and headed into the great city of Rotterdam.
We walked all the way back across town to the central station so that we could ride bikes and after circling the building ten times we finally found it. And it was closed. So we grabbed our handy dandy map and started walking. And we came across some pretty cool stuff.
The Town Hall
A weird sculpture guy
The cool cube houses near the Erasmus Bridge
A beautiful view from a pub behind the cube houses. You can see the Erasmus Bridge and the Witte Huis.
After our day of exploring we finally went back to Central Station to catch a train home. Sounds easy right? Nope. Apparently in the cold Europe winters there are lots of "jumpers" These "jumpers" are people who jump out in front of trains. So all the trains were delayed at least an hour, which wouldn't have been a problem if we could understand a word of the Dutch announcements they were mking. So we finally latched on to someone who spoke Dutch and English and followed them around as they continuously changed around our boarding gates.
But, alas, we finally made it home and we have some pretty crazy stories out of just a day in Rotterdam. Rotterdam doesn't compare to the beauty of Den Haag in the slightest, but it was still a great trip and wonderful memories. And I have to say I really enjoyed my first Hostel experience which is a good thing because I have many more in my future!