Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Rotterdam Photo Essay: De Trap (The Staircase) – Groot Handelsgebouw Roof Terrace – Rotterdam Skyline

Dutchman and I were visiting Rotterdam last June and we were able to see and experience the ‘De Trap’ (The Staircase) art installation. Although the day was a bit grey with a little bit of showers, we were quite lucky to have made it here, on the last day of the De Trap exposition.

‘De Trap’ is a massive 180-step staircase installed in front of the Groot Handelsgebouw on the stationsplein (station plaza) of the Rotterdam Centraal Station. The entrance is free of charge. This was an idea of the MVRDV Architects in conjunction with the 75th year celebration of the city’s rebuilding after the WW2 (World War 2).

Rotterdam was bombed by the Nazis on the 14th of May 1940. The whole city lay in ruins. Being a small country with a small military, the Netherlands thereafter surrendered to Nazi Germany. 5 years later the war ended and the city was rebuilt. It took years to rebuild Rotterdam.

Because the historical centre was destroyed, Rotterdam is known in the country as the most modern city in the Netherlands. There was even a time when locals refer to Rotterdam as the ugly duckling of all Dutch cities. Not anymore now though. The ugly duckling has slowly become a modern-day princess.

Learn more here about De Trap exposition (in Dutch):

But the ‘De Trap’ is only a part of the whole bigger attraction. When you arrive at the top of the staircase you will get full access to the roof terrace of the Groot Handelsgebouw (GHG), an office building with over 180 tenants. This building is the largest multi-tenanted building in the Netherlands and its roofdeck terrace boasts of stunning views of the skyline of Rotterdam.

Dutchman and I enjoyed our visit here very much. We did not expect to have access to the roofdeck terrace, so this was a real treat for us. The Rotterdam skyline views were simply amazing.

Enjoy the photos! And brace yourself because there’s a lot!

De Trap (The Staircase) on stationsplein (Station Plaza) just outside of the Rotterdam Centraal Station. 

Umm, I got bombed while making a selfie.

The stationsplein (Station Plaza) just outside Rotterdam Centraal Station.

At the roofdeck of the Groot Handelsgebouw.

Mock-up drawings by MVRDV Architects of popular buildings in Rotterdam with a what-the-building-would-look-like-if-a-staircase-is-installed-scenario. These drawings were exhibited on the roof terrace.

Closer view of the Rotterdam skyline.

A panorama of Rotterdam.

This is the Rotterdam skyline. 75 years ago the city lay in ruins.

You can see a small part of the sea port area far ahead.

The Groot Handelsgebouw has 180 tenants.

Travel Period: June 2016
Destination: Rotterdam (South Holland), the Netherlands

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Cologne, Germany: Summer at Rheinauhafen

We have moved offices in Cologne and we are now situated in the city centre which is just a few minutes walking from the Dom Cathedral and Cologne Hauptbahnhof. I will not contest that the new office has a much handier location, but I will for sure be missing these lovely views in Rheinauhafen. I took these pictures end of August when temperatures were between 25C and 30C.

To learn more about Rheinauhafen go here:

If you are visiting Cologne and want to check out this place, you can easily walk here from the city centre by just following the Rhine River going south. The Rheinauhafen boulevard is a nice place to stroll on and there are cafes and restaurants in the area as well.

Just 21 minutes walking from the Cologne Cathedral.

If you prefer to take the bus, take #133 at Breslauer Platz in Cologne Hauptbahnhof or Heumarkt and get off at Rheinauhafen or the Chocoloate Museum. There is underground car parking in Rheinauhafen as well.

Oh well, I feel like I am closing a chapter of my regular travels to Cologne... I will definitely miss this place.

Kranhaus (Crane House), this is one of the 3 in Rheinauhafen. It is called kranhaus because it resembles a crane. The area used to be a commercial harbour of the city in the past.

The Severinsbrucke (Severins Bridge).

These people are playing Pokemon =)

Travel Period: August 2016
Destination: Rheinauhafen, Cologne (North Rhine Westphalia), Germany

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Utrecht, Netherlands: Summer Picnic at the Grift Park

Summer came a little bit late in the Netherlands. The weather here is very unpredictable, just like a woman =)

Our June and July were springy and sometimes autumn-ish weather. There was even a week when temperatures dropped to 0C in the evening! Then summer finally came in August and extending into September, which was really nice and a bonus for us. Miss weather is clearly making up for lost time, haha.

Last month I suggested to the Dutchman that we use the picnic basket we received as a gift a long time ago. We have never used it and its just sitting in the Dutchman's game/work room gathering some dust. We are however not the picnic types and I would like to change this because outdoor picnicking is really a nice, refreshing and relaxing activity, especially when it is a hot summer afternoon.

So we packed some food and drinks and rode our bikes to Grift Park in the north of the city. The park was already quite busy when we arrived and we found an area along the canal which was not crowded at all.

Our location was quite nice as we could see all the boats, kayaks and even bikers passing by. We have a great vantage point for people watching. I think the Dutchman and I should do this picnic thing more often in the weekends during summer.

So yeah, cheers to more summer picnicking soon! To next year then =)

Zoom out the map to see the location of Griftpark in Utrecht.

We parked our bikes on a small tree beside our picnic spot. I rarely get to bike these days so this is a welcome activity for me.

We have a great spot to people watch all the boats and bikers passing by.

The Biltse Grift canal flowing through Grift Park. The building across is the Grift Park restaurant and it has a nice outdoor terrace. The restaurant was quite busy.

I am loving this relaxing picnic outdoors activity of doing nothing much at all! I need to do this picnicking more often.

Smoke coming from the barbecueing activity nearby. Smelled good by the way. An idea for the Dutchman and I, but we are lazy. I do not think we would go through the hassle though.

We have some good distance from the other picnic goers, so we have a bit of privacy.

We will bring another throw pillow next time. You really need a few more cushions for ultimate comfort when picnicking outdoors.

A nice old-style canoe boat.

We spotted a number who brought their own hammocks. Good idea as well but this would be a first come first serve as there are not many trees with good distance from each other to install a hammock.

We will try another park next time... 

On our way back home we got caught under a downpour which was only temporary. Luckily it didn't happen earlier while we were at the park!

Travel Period: August 2016
Destination: Utrecht North (Utrecht), the Netherlands

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