While we had family visiting, it felt like a great opportunity to head to Rotterdam (where my grandparents were from) to see some of the places where they grew up, and of course eat some traditional Dutch delicacies…
After a very smooth trip on the Eurostar, first stop was finding our accommodation. Traveling with C is always easier if you have a separate bedroom and living area, so on this trip we tried out Urban Residences Rotterdam. The apartments are spacious and very minimalist in design, so perfect for a toddler to roam around in! Location-wise they are also right in the centre of Rotterdam; an easy 15 minute walk from Rotterdam Centraal station and 5-15 minutes walk from most other major sights (it is a compact city after all). They’re self-described as ‘luxury’ apartments, which is a little comical, but the amenities and service are all perfectly fine for a short break.
It’s fair to say the weather was exactly what you’d expect for the Netherlands in Spring. Cold. Cold. Rainy. Cold. Burst of sunshine. Cold again! So it was perfect for some low-key meandering, a museum visit or two and of course lots of eating.
First stop, a side trip to Delft. A super-speedy 10 minute train trip had us there (in the rain…) to see the sights – churches and old streets, and a very ‘little Amsterdam’ vibe.
C’s favourite part of Delft was the cheese shop – so many Gouda options (she went for pesto and baby after a million samples)…. and of course the opportunity to pose with a bunch of cheeses and say “cheese” was right in the toddler wheelhouse as far as jokes go.
For the adults, the cheese was also solid, but more beautiful and impactful was a visit to the Oude Kerk (the ‘old church’). A church has stood on its location on the banks of the ‘Delft’ of canal since around 1050, but the current form dates to around 1246 when Delft was given a formal town charter. The church is beautiful, and interesting enough to even keep my active 3 year old quiet and using her inside voice for 20 minutes!
Next up was by far C’s highlight of the trip – the Maritime Museum. Plenty to see for adults, but AMAZING for toddlers and young children. An indoor and outdoor ‘soft play’ set up including operable cranes and machinery made for a fantastic morning out. The cafe is great (and pretty affordable) and the ‘Monsters of the Deep’ exhibit is awesome. A definite must, and even better in cold weather or driving wind/rain like we experienced!
All up we spent almost 3 hours at the Maritime Museum, and C could easily have done a longer stint I think. But meatballs called at the Hema department store foodcourt….which of course has a very sweet, and toddler-perfect, play area.
In between wandering to check out the local shops and eat (again!) we took a walk past the recently redeveloped Markthal. On Sundays, the area outside hosts a weekly produce market full of seasonal and traditional treats.
After a relaxed few days it was time to head home – having been to Rotterdam twice, I think it might be a few years before we go again; and next time I’d like to be there perhaps over tulip season. There’s still so much to see and do in the Netherlands and it’s so easy to get around – so we’ll definitely be back!