In the Cradle of Brutalist Architecture

This summer, I have become nerdy about architecture. Not that I know anything about it, but I have expanded from food and wine pictures to buildings (still in the category of things that don’t move). So for our summer road-trip, M planned a quick stop in Rotterdam, the cradle of experimental and brutalist architecture. And we had a blast. Not only did I enjoy running around with my camera (I was so distracted that I walked into a pole), M and our travel companion P, were pleased with the coffee and food offering. I can warmly recommend Rotterdam as a weekend destination. 

I will off course cover food and wine, but let me just start off with some tips on buildings to see in Rotterdam. Start you walk from the marina. There are plenty of interesting structures, old cranes and ships to look at. The Erasmus bridge is stretching out in the background. The marina has all kinds of fun things to do, like boats for kids, water taxis, and boat restaurants. Continue past the marina to Markthal, the weird, horseshoe-shaped food market. Inside there is two floors of food stalls and shops, and the outer rim is made into apartments. The walls (inside) are painted with flowers.  Next to the market hall, there is the central square with Staedsteras and the cube houses –  plenty of weird shapes and cubic features to be admired. Continue your trip to the Luchtsiegel walkway, which takes you trough buildings to the other side of the railway tracks where many of the good restaurants are. Alternatively you can follow the tracks to admire the smooth lines of the railway station.

And now to the other side of the tracks and to the food. Our first step was off course to pick up some coffee from Man met Bril. Its a roaster and coffee bar under the railway bridge, in one of the converted arches. They do both hand brews, as well as espresso based drinks. My choice was the cold brew as it was +30 degrees outside. Nursing our coffees we continued along the river towards Brewery Noordt, a local beer haven in the inner yard of an interesting house complex. The experimental architecture is present everywhere. Noordt has a nice selection of their own beers on tap, and although it is not the best brewery I have ever been to, some cold brewsky was well appreciated in the heat.

For dinner we headed back towards the railway tracks and Luchtsiegel, to restaurant de Jong. The restaurant is also located in an old railway arch, but as it was scorching hot inside, they had spread all their tables on the yard.  De Jong serve a set menu where you can select the number of dishes you’d like: 4 courses (€47), 5 courses (€55) or 6 which includes a cheese platter (€62). The menu can change daily, and vegetables play a leading role. Produce is sourced with high values on sustainability and respect for the nature. The wines at the restaurant are from small producers, and they also have a good nose for nature wines. This was really one of the highlights of our trip. The value for money was amazing, Rotterdam is not a big tourist city (and the Dutch are cheap), thus the inexpensive price level.

Our 24 hours in Rotterdam were a success. I could have stayed for a day more, but our flight was leaving from Amsterdam and we had our last night booked there. Rotterdam is not very far away, it was a 30 minute ride with the local commuter train to the capital city. Inexpensive hotels, great coffee, beer and dining, as well as weird architecture – I would say that’s a perfect combination.

xx Soile

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Walking in the marina with the Erasmus bridge in the background
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Architecture at Markthal
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Staedsteras is the weird centerpiece of the city
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Luchtsingel walkway goes through buildings
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Luchtsingel walkway, constructed from yellow painted, engraved shelves
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Man met bril specialty coffee
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Brewery Noordt, a local micro brewery
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Bikes at brewery Noordt
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Entrance to Luchtsingel walkway
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The terrace at restaurant de Jong
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Amuse bouche at de Jong
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Langustine at de Jong
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De Jong terrace has a Parisia feel
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Dessert at de Jong
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Portrait of a stranger at de Jong

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