This morning we had a pleasant buffet breakfast in the hotel dining room complete with made to order eggs benedict for Mark. We then headed out to continue our walking tour of Rotterdam, including the area where we will board the ship tomorrow. This area is across the Erasmus Bridge from downtown on a peninsula called Wilhelminapier. In this area we found the old headquarters of the Holland America Line, now converted to the Hotel New York. In this area between 1873 and 1970, thousands of passengers headed off for America, leaving their families and loved ones behind.
We walked in an older district of town near a large park called Het Park along the Maas River. Here there are large and beautiful townhomes and residences built in the late 1800’s. Many of these buildings now serve as offices, restaurants and cafes.
We spent the afternoon at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. This is one of the oldest museums in the Netherlands. In 1849 a prominent lawyer left his art collection to the city. In 1958 Van Beuningen donated his large collection of Dutch and European masterpieces and the name of the museum was lengthened. The museum has a wonderful collection of furniture, fashion, ceramics and paintings by artists like Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Dali, Van Bosch and many more.
We continue to notice many Muslim people throughout the Netherlands. The women are more obvious and all seem to be enjoying life here. Another unusual observation is that there is a lot of gum on the sidewalks everywhere. Mark took a picture of gum left near a trash bin. Guess the Dutch are not good shots! Further, many here are smokers. People are smoking outside offices, restaurants and hotels. It appears more still smoke here than in the USA.
Along the way we came across a controversial bronze statue of Santa Claus, known colloquially as the “Buttplug Gnome”. Photo included for you to decide.
We had dinner at an Italian restaurant next door to our hotel that has a unique way of doing business. When you enter the restaurant the host gives you a credit card of sorts that you use to order your food at different counters. You can choose from pizzas, pastas, salads, drinks and desserts. When you have finished your meal you take the credit card to the check out and pay for your purchases all at one time. While in the restaurant, we noticed a couple of ladies from our hotel. Kent thought they might be traveling on our cruise to the Far East. He introduced himself and found out that, indeed, they were.