Saturday, October 18, 2014

Netherlands Adventures!: The Modern City of Rotterdam

Last week, we took a walking tour of Rotterdam!  We took an Intercity train from Leiden Centraal and it took us about thirty minutes or so.  About the same distance from Leiden to Amsterdam, but in the other direction.

Upon arrival into the station (yeah, that soon!) you're hit with how different this city is compared to other Dutch cities (I don't want to say the rest of Europe just yet, because the only other European country I've ever been to is France so far).  During World War II, Rotterdam was hit badly with incendiary bombs.  Some old buildings are still standing, but at least in the areas of the train station in particular, everything was either bombed or caught fire because of the bombs, flattening everything.  So reconstruction was needed.  Rotterdam put in an underground Metro and built infrastructure to make this a more car-friendly Dutch city (underground parking garages, to name one) but then also significantly updated the buildings that once stood.  I'll put some picture examples below:

This doesn't seem super super modern, but when you look across the street and realize how tall the buildings used to be... it's pretty modern.
Lots of designs and color.
This is a church.  Really really.

We continued walking away from the center of the city.  We walked by the architecture school and found this project: The Teletubby House.  Although, the creators were adamant that this was NOT the Teletubby house (but it totally is).  Well of course we went inside!

Giant garden in the middle of the house!  There were also hammocks hanging on the walls, but there was an obnoxious group of people in there and it took them forever to leave, so we left before I got a chance to experience the gloriousness of having a hammock indoors.  Jealousy.
The door to the teletubby house.
We found our way to our first and only museum of the day: Museum Boijmans van Beuningen.  It's an art museum, but I don't know that I can give it the bold label of "Modern Art Museum" because there are traditional paintings of many varieties ensconced here.  I don't think I was in a very art-y mood though because I quickly glanced at these traditional paintings, stopping to look longer at the impressionist and expressionist works.  One cool thing that this museum did was make me appreciate modern art more.  There was a whole section of art whose aim was to appeal to the senses.  There was a giant room with projections of feet walking around the room, which we followed around not really sure what to pay attention to.  In another room before we left, they had strung up trees and attached them to machines that would vigorously vibrate them, making the leaves rustle, appealing to your sense of hearing.  I took video, but I'm planning on using that footage for a different project.  There was one more piece of art (I think) that required you to climb up a few flights of stairs and then climb onto a net that was suspended above the stairs you just walked up.  I was really excited to go up there, but once I was actually up there, I was scared.  I have a fear of walking and climbing on grates that I can see through, especially if I know that there's a long distance to the ground underneath.  But... I climbed it any way, sweaty palms and hammering heart and all.

Once I got up there and laid down to watch one of the short films, I was fine.  It was actually kind of cozy.  But then we ran into another obnoxious group of people and all of them decided that it was a great idea to climb onto the net at once.  I was less okay with that, especially when some of the dumb boys decided to bounce their way down to watch the movie.  There's a special place in hell for them... I decided to be in control of my comfort and got off the net not long after the obnoxious group showed up.

Some more of the art that I found interesting:

This one was just trippy... outside of the room was a camera so you could watch whoever was inside.

I like these immersive pieces of art.  I don't know the meaning, but it's a cool feeling to feel like you're part of the art.
This just brightened my life.  No pun intended.

This wasn't an exhibit-- this is where you hang your coats!  You lower one of the coat hangers, hang your stuff, and let your stuff ascend to the ceiling until you're ready to go!  I want this in my future house.  So badly.
We continued our tour around the city:

This is the Markthal!  It was actually finished earlier this year, so this was a new thing for my program director, Steef, to see too.  Of course we went inside!

You might recognize these buildings right away-- I know I did.  So I was really excited that we got to go up and take a peek around one of the apartments!  One was made into a bit of a museum.  I think someone still lives there though.

"Hey, what is this?  Is it now a palace or is it a fair?"-- Piet Blom (architect)

At the very top of the apartments, it's incredibly hot, which makes it good for hot yoga and... cacti!
Kristin and Abby.  Unfortunately, Marika could not come with us-- she was taking a final for her class at Leiden at the time.

It was quite a nice day.  We've been very fortunate with the weather on our field trips with Steef.

The white building on the right was the first skyscraper in Europe :)  It's a skyscraper because it has an elevator (although that's only partially what makes a skyscraper).
I experimented with the panorama setting on my camera-- I think it works!  This is the Rotterdam harbor.
I can't wait to make a return visit to Rotterdam.  I do hope to make it a solo trip though-- then I can see absolutely everything that I'd like to see and have more time for photography experiments!  Hurray :)

Until next time... tot ziens!


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