Every time I visit a new city, I have some of expectations or a personal visual representation of the city (which most of the time is very far from reality). But this time I had none. I boarded the plane to Amsterdam with no expectations and no personal depiction of the city. So as we got to Rotterdam late Thursday night I was ready for anything and everything.
Rotterdam is an architectural city, very modern and very different from history-loaded cities like Paris or Rome.
We walked around, met with Dutch friends of Florence’s and went to the discovery of Rotterdam. We walked up to the Erasmusbrug Bridge, and also went inside the Cube House.
Those oddly shaped apartments were surprisingly spacious and comfortable to live in. Then we went to the city of Delft, which is very known for their windmills and the Delftware (which are potteries painted in white and blue which is typical of the city).
Of course we saw some wooden clogs and bought typical Dutch cheese.
We spent the next two days in Amsterdam visiting and walking around. We took the train from Rotterdam to Asmterdam. We were able to see the fields of tulips. They were all blooming and the colors were out of this world. No picture will ever do it justice.
The first thing went to the Heineken Experience. We got a tour of the old brewery, which is now a museum; we participated in a beer tasting. With the bracelet we got from the entrance, we were able to enjoy two free beers and a free gift from the gift shop.
We then walked to the “I Amsterdam” sign and took pictures. We ended up passing through the Red Light District after dark. The streets of the district were so crowded that is was almost impossible to walk. We rapidly went through a couple streets then left.
The next day we walked the streets of Amsterdam, crossed the little bridges over the canals, and even got to enjoy the Vondelpark under a bright sunshine and gardens filled with tulips.
Though the city is very famous for its coffee shops and the Red Light District, my favorite part was our hotel. We booked a room in Rotterdam at the Citizen M hotel. It is a new boutique hotel brand. From what I could see it is oriented towards a younger hype crowd. We did the entire check in process by our self. I had heard about this new method of self check-in several times in class but I had never witnessed it before.
(theses are the computers used to for the check in process).
It took is less than five minutes to get to our room from the moment we walk in the door. Though the room was very small it did not feel like it at all. It was ingeniously distributed with a bathroom, a sink, XL king bed and a desk all fit in the tiny room.
We also had a tablet to control the lighting, the television, the curtain and the music. We had very small interaction with staff but the service was of a very high quality.
Another very interesting concept was in a fast food restaurant that we went in. Instead of having people lined up to order their Bitterballs (a typical Dutch veal croquette), they had individual servings of croquettes in compartments in the wall. The compartments could only be opened if the exact amount of coins were inserted. Behind the wall was the kitchen were the cooks can monitor the temperature or refill the compartments if needed. Just like a vending machine.It is call automatiek vending.
So as interesting as it is to travel around Europe to discover new countries, cultures and sightsee, is it also very interesting to see how the service delivery systems changes from region to region, from country to country.