Weekends with my mother – Rotterdam and The Hague
I was afraid my mother would find it difficult to adjust with European time. The 7-hour time difference between the Philippines and the Netherlands takes a while to get used to, especially for old people. But Nanay’s body clock seemed to have been preparing for this grand trip all along, she sleeps and wakes up almost the same time as we do, even earlier. We did not have to worry that she will fall asleep on the weirdest hours when we were planning for afternoon sight seeings and dinner.
A visit to my workplace – Rotterdam ports
A big part of the reason why I asked my mother to visit was to see my life in the Netherlands. My life here is about three things – work, travel and my husband. So the first thing I showed Nanay was what I do for a living. I asked her to tag along one afternoon when we were delivering a package to one of our vessels in Rotterdam.
The Rotterdam Port is world-famous. It used to be the biggest in the world until China took over. It is still the biggest in Europe and the it’s traffic and capacity is enormous. Since working for my current company, I have learned to love the Rotterdam port with all it’s roughness, massive proportion and the sense of adventure that it represents.
My mother had the same impression of the port of Rotterdam when she saw it. She was amazed how big the canals are, big enough to accommodate continuous traffic of cargo ships. She thought they were rivers and I was only happy to tell her that this is my workplace, this is where I don a hard hat and hard shoes and climb up steep, hanging wooden planks to get on board a ship.
After the port visit, we went straight to the The Hague for a visit to Madurodam – the scaled-down version of the Netherlands. For the Philippines, it would be similar to the now demolished Nayong Pilipino near Ninoy Aquino International Airport. I remember frequenting that place when I was a kid, usually on weekends together with my parents.
I have to hand it to the developers – even for myself who is allergic to very touristy places, Madurodam is entertaining and actually enjoyable. You can show a visitor the whole country in 30 minutes. Madurodam is almost dominated by the small images of Schipol airport and of course the Rotterdam port – two of the Netherlands’ infrastructure pride.
But the best part of the visit to Madurodam has nothing to do with the Dutch architecture or infrastructure – it was discovering my mother’s love for flowers. Of course the very popular flower garden Keukenhof is also represented in Madurodam and the flowers are tiny and can’t be compared to the real garden but my mother loved them nonetheless. She gasped at the brightness and sizes of the Dutch flowers, touching them as if they were a dream that has just been realized. We took loads of pictures beside the flowers, under the flowers, between the flowers etc. The smile on Nanay’s face was priceless. Too bad she was already late for the Keukenhof.
Click Madurodam for more information.
We also made a side trip to the Peace Palace but did not get in because it was already closing. There is a small garden in front of the Peace Palace which at that time was filled with big red, roses and other flora. Of course we had to take a photo.
Dinner at the Euromast Tower
I have written about Euromast Tower, the highest tower in Holland here, here and here. You’d think it is my favorite restaurant in Holland but actually it is not. But Euromast Tower has the best view of Rotterdam, both during the day and night. For a Friday dinner, there is nowhere as romantic and breath-taking as dining in Euromast Tower.
As usual food was ok, wine was delicious but Nanay had enjoyed looking at my city the whole time we were eating. Although she did not seat beside the window and refused to go up on the Space Tower because the wind had been blowing quite hard that night.
She did enjoy watching the bridges opening up to accommodate passing boats, exactly the way it amazed me the first time I came here in 2008.
After the dinner, we couldn’t wait anymore to start the weekend. My mother will meet my husband’s parents and then off to Brugge for a weekend trip. All that in the next post.