Friday, September 30, 2016

Rotterdam, Netherlands: Dinner with a View at Prachtig

Prachtig is a Dutch word that means Beautiful.

I found Prachtig bar-restaurant online after searching for restaurants with a view. It's one of the restaurants in Rotterdam with an outdoor terrace and a great view of the city, of the River Maas and the city's symbol, the Erasmus Bridge (Erasmusbrug).

We were here in June, the height of the summer season but the weather in the Netherlands is like a (scorned) woman, very unpredictable, and so it was a grey, cold and wet day. Our June and July in fact were a medley of spring and autumn seasons, and a dollup on top of summer and winter in between.

So helaas, the famous outdoor terrace of this restaurant was obviously closed. Really a bummer because the terrace is hailed as one of the best in the city. But we are eating inside anyway. The restaurant's floor to ceiling wall facing the river is all glass and is just fantastic. You do not have to be outside to enjoy the outdoors. You can experience the river and the bridge even from your table inside the restaurant.

Dutchman and I started with a shared starter of rare cooked lamb chops. Apart from the stunning presentation, Dutchman did not really liked this dish, although I found it quite nice actually.

For our mains, I went for a grilled cod fillet and steamed mussels on a bed of creamy risotto. The Dutchman settled for a huge burger and a pickle with a side of fries.

The food was delicious and the presentations were all remarkable, totally upholding the name of the restaurant. But the creaminess of the risotto was a bit overpowering my tastebuds, and the portion was just too much as well. I really could not finish the whole thing and it somewhat destroyed my appetite towards the end of the dinner.

The Dutchman on the other hand didn't liked much the huge and less compact style of the burger. It was difficult for him to eat eveything deconstructed, haha. He did say though that the meat was tender and very good, but he was not a fan of the rest of the stuff added to the burger.


As you can tell, this dinner was a complicated one, haha. The setting was nice, the food looked pretty and they were delicious, but the whole experience left a rather different taste in our mouths. Oh well.

Prachtig bar and restaurant on the River Maas under the Erasmus Bridge.

This was a day before I turned 46. This wasn't a birthday dinner though, we just happened to go to Rotterdam (because I want to see the 'De Trap') and had dinner.

A very pretty lamb chops starter.

Dutchman's burger and fries.

Grilled cod fish and steamed mussels on a bed of creamy risotto.

No dessert but espresso and cappuccino and biscuits covered with sugar cinnamon.

Prachtig bar and restaurant under the Erasmus Bridge.

The outdoor terrace was closed due to bad weather (and its the middle of June!).

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

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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 weekend 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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