Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Boats and bobs
I often wonder what image people have in their minds when they read about our harbour here. It is a special place, but not just because of the community we have.
Rotterdam was blitzed during the war, meaning that the centre of the city lost nearly all of its traditional Dutch buildings. A few remain but mostly we are surrounded by soaring skyscrapers,radical design and the most modern of modern architecture you can find. Even so, our 'oude Haven' is colourful and quaint in its way and that IS because of the old ships.
Last week, we had another memorable visit from Invader Stu and the girlfriend, both of whom seem suitably charmed by our boaty world and regaled us with tales of their own adventures on Holland's higher seas. Then today, our neighbour from the little house in Westdorpe dropped by on his way back to the UK.
He was fascinated by it all, and really impressed by the juxtaposition of the very old as represented by the boats and the harbour, and the very new, staggeringly tall apartment blocks and offices that surround us.
We are so used to it, which is not to say we are immune to its charms, but I do think that sometimes we don't see it as others do.It has changed a lot since I've been here, and in my view not all for the better. Nevertheless, it is impressive and in many ways quite beautiful. Rotterdam has had a bad press, but Iwouldn't willingly move to either Amsterdam or Den Haag. Give me 'Rottingdam' any day of the week!