Sunday, November 20, 2005

Ever since I've been travelling on my own, I've always relied on guide books, word of mouth, or the Internet to plan my trips. However, this time, I didn't have a tour book, suggestions, internet information, or even a map!

So, on Saturday morning, armed with just my little car and my camera, and uncompletely unplanned, I set off for Rotterdam in the Netherlands. And I made it! Without getting lost, nothing. It was really liberating to travel without any plans, guides, schedule! You feel like you're really discovering things anew, by yourself.

It's amazing how small Belgium is, it took me 1:30 to drive to Rotterdam (2nd largest city in the Netherlands). I figured out some signs for the 'Park and Ride', parked for free outside the city, and took the trains in. Almost every major city in Europe has a tourist info office, and while walking around in Rotterdam, I found it. From here, I got all the information on where to go, what to see.

Amazingly, I stayed the whole day, and it was 8:30pm when I decided whether to stay or go home. I didn't make it to the museum area yet, so I decided to scout out a hotel. (note: I had nothing on me, no toothbrush, change of clothes, nothing. Just my camera). There was the NH for 80euros, some "grand central hotel" for 60 euros (which I checked out, but was really shady: the door next to my potential room was busted in, carpet was really old, otherwise really shady), or, the elite Westin for 160 euros. (if it was like anything like the Kuala Lumpur Hilton, maybe I would have considered it.)

Rotterdam is an interesting architectural city, since most of it was bombed out in WWII. It's all very modern, as if it was a model city for IKEA. Check out the cube houses on the left.. imagine not having any straight (90 degree) walls in your house...

I think I figured out why I like the Netherlands so much. One reason is because of this: (satay!) Great indonesian / Malaysian food here due to the former Dutch colonies. Another reason is, I think it looks like Wooster.

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