Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The stuff of rivers

I was walking along the river the other I do..and realised there are all these things that I pass every time I take this route. Things that are part of the colour and stuff of a big river, but that I don't normally give much attention to.

I love the river. It is ever changing, always moody and magnificent. Huge liners make their way here from far reaches of the earth, but also the much smaller Rhine cruisers that travel to Basel with ship loads of pampered passengers. I would like to to that one of these days, and often stop to look at this notice by the jetty where they moor up.

The jetties have to be very securely fixed to the river bank, as when the tides are high and the currents are running strong, the waters could sweep them easily away. Hence this massive chain that holds them in place against the force of a flooding tide.

A little further along is a smaller jetty where the water taxis stop to expel and scoop up passengers. Darting about the river like demented dragonflies, they add to the vitality of our urban waterscape, and these yellow 'bus stops' are a feature of many of the harbours here too.

Then there is our very own traffic control tower. I always used to think there were people manning it and envied them their marvellous view across the full extent of Rotterdam's skyline. Then I found out that no one 'lives' up there. What a shame, hey? Although having said that, it's quite a relief as I also used to imagine them wondering about the dotty woman with her loopy dog who periodically goes on a cleaning splurge along the river side and picks up the heaps of litter that other wanderers throw down!

The last place to capture on my February morning walk was a different view of our own Oude Haven. I like this angle here from between the trees, and it reminds me of what the harbour is all about with its old engines standing on show. Sometimes in the cut and thrust of daily life and making a living, it's good to see all our old barges in context. Kind of puts things in perspective again.


  1. It makes me realise how juxtaposed our lifestyles are, however different they may be.
    You in your watery lowlands and I in my rocky highlands - and how we both love the lifestyles that go along with our vastly diverse neighbourhoods.
    I was recently given a questionaire where one of the many questions was "Do you like where you live?"
    Of course, my answer was a resounding YES! and I can confidently assume that your answer is at precisely the same volume!
    My mountains are moody, as well, and can change tone in an instant.
    We don't see the large amount of transport moving about, but I meet different people from many corners of the earth on a daily basis.
    Like you, I can take forgranted the smallest things, or big ones for that matter, so I will often look about with an outsider's eye. It's amazing the things I will notice.
    Just today, while I was riding the lift, I cast my eye about and noticed that the trees looked different... they were devoid of snow because of the wind and sillouhetted against a wall of fog.
    I can't wait to be able to visit you in you land of water.


  2. Nice post and great response Dale! I can't wait to be back in an area I feel that way about. I love that last pic!

  3. Thanks Dale, and yes, i do love this river of ours and where we live on the water, and likewise, I would love to cross the ocean and visit you in your mountains, because I love the majesty and might of the mountains too. Thanks for a wonderful response to my post dear Dale. It was like a post in itself!
    By the way, I noticed today that spring is coming fast! The crocuses are out here and the trees are getting blurred outlines from the buds that are forming. so exciting! Spring is so inspiring!

    Strin, I feel that your heart longs for I right there? I have the same yearnings for my other home - South Africa. Its arid expanses are just as appealing to me as these watery ones funnily enough!

  4. Val, you are my writing genius, and Dale, you need to come over soon

  5. I meant String, not Strin...sorry dear xx

  6. Hi Val,

    the last pic from the haven is beautiful. I havn't time for a walk, but if the spring is comming I can go in my garden .

    Have a great day.
    Love Stefan

  7. Hi Val,

    I bought tickets for Coldplay in Hannover this summer. In Germany this is working very good with, but Ticketmaster is only chaos.

    All the best

  8. I love the idea of travelling in a taxi across the water.

    Although, I did take a taxi across the frozen lake one evening...

  9. What wonderous "stuff", Val.
    I always feel like i've been on a trip or a journey when i visit you. Refreshing, inspiring, insightful, beautiful, and knowledgeable. Thank You!

  10. the above is me...forgot my password!!!


  11. Rivers are the arteries of this planet, and in cities like Rotterdam, the arteries of the city. Made me think of the incredible richness of live connected to rivers like yours, past and present: how the river has been used, how is it used now; who lived along it and who live there now; what kind of people walk along it daily just like you?

  12. Hello Val,

    how are you this weekend? I like your last photo. I enjoy anything to do with water, it is amazing how connective, rivers, creeks, oceans etc are to the world really.

  13. Hi val
    Just wanted to echo some of the above comments especially the breath of fresh air reading your blog brings.
    Is your haven at the museum or is my memory of the museum site at rotterdam playing tricks?

  14. Thanks again for all the kind comments. Great to see you Stefan and Cheryl too! I'm so glad you have enjoyed the pictures and captions.

    Maria I always think of rivers in that way too. They really are the arteries of our world and have flowed for so many thousands of the bloodstream of our existence.

    Geoff, great to see you. Our harbour is part of the Haven Museum now but wasn't when I first came here. The museum is closer to the centre of town and we are where those cubist buildings are if you know where that is..right next to the river! Where our shipyard is now used to be the entrance to the harbour from the river, but was closed off after the war, during the re-building of the city.

  15. Grace, you too are a water baby, I know! Thanks for your comment dear!


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