I stick out like a sore thumb around the Netherlands because I wear shorts that cut off above my knees rather than capris. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
I just got back from a marketplace across the River from here. It was only a 5 minute bike ride away. I’m so happy that I got a bike right off the bat. Its a great way to get around and see the city, but as an added bonus you get exercise, enjoy the sun on your face, and the wind through your hair. The marketplace was very crowded, filled with locals gabbing off in dutch. I would lurk behind the crowds waiting to see how much other people were paying because I knew once I stumbled up to a counter and started pointing and muttering they would rip me off.
Some words like ‘euro’ and ‘one’ sound the same in dutch as they do in english. So when a vendor held up a bag of 5 avocados and said ‘one euro,’ I started panting from excitement. Avocados are one of my favorite things. 5 for 1. In the words of 21st century pop/hip-hop superstars, LMFAO: Yes! The guys I’m living with told me that if you show up at 3:30-4, the vendors try to get everything sold so you can find get crazy good deals. For 5.50 euros, I got 8 limes, 15 tomatoes, 5 avocados, some olives, and cheese…either feta or mozzarella. Won’t know until I try it. The living situation in Rotterdam turned out better than I could have ever imagined.
This morning I went on a boat ride through the port. I was on a boat for 3 hours, moving swiftly throughout the nooks and crannies of the harbor, but I think I only saw a tiny fraction of it. The port is expansive! It stretches for about 15 miles from center of Rotterdam all the way to the coast. It was very cool to see how it was organized, there were areas for oil refinement, shipping and moving cargo, recycling and sorting materials, then massive areas for construction and repair of cargo ships…just to name a few things. The scale of everything is sublime. The freighters, lifts, cranes, and elevators towered hundreds of feet above me. The equipment around the dockyards dwarfs 50 foot sailboats. It was certainly a treat to be able to see the biggest port in Europe.
Right now they are building an addition onto the port, extending the coastline of the Netherlands. They are pumping 240 million cubic meters of sand into the area in order to build the addition to the port. Because of its location directly on the North Sea, Rotterdam is one of the few European ports where the largest ocean-going vessels can safely and swiftly load and unload 24 hours a day. Every year, an average of some 35,000 ocean-going vessels and 135,000 inland vessels visit the port. There is a six hour boat tour out to see it and back. I’ll likely go check it out next week.
Further up the River Maas is the Maeslant Barrier, one of the most recent projects of the Deltaworks, a series of dams and barriers created to protect Southwest Netherlands. I didn’t get nearly that far down the river, but I’m going to ride my bike out there next week. I think the ride will take about 2 hours, roughly the same amount of time traveling by public transportation, but it is far more direct.
Most of the Deltaworks are in Zeeland, the province to the South of Rotterdam. In a week or two I think I’m going to head down there for a couple days and try to see as much as possible on bike.
Here is some recent ish from the sketch book. Feeling a feeling to start painting soon. Stay classy San Diego.