For the May bank holiday weekend my mum and I packed our bags and headed to Holland to visit my little sister Ria who has been studying there since January. Although Ria has been flying back and forth I was still really looking forward to seeking her and getting to know what her life is like in Rotterdam. It was also the first trip/ holiday Ria and I shared in over 10 years. There are 8 years between us and when I last went on a family holiday she was still in primary school.
It was also great to get in some quality time with my Mum as the last time we had some fun one on one time was when she visited me in Las Vegas about four years ago. And I no longer live at home with her so I was excited to get in some quality time with her.
We went for the lightweight way of travelling and I got 5 days worth of clothes and beauty into my little cabin Tripp case. Call me basic but I love my personalised passport cover that was gifted to me from River Island, I never get sick of having my initials on anything!
After an hours flight, maybe a little longer, to Amsterdam we jumped on a train and 35 minutes later we were in Rotterdam. We headed straight to our hotel, The Hampshire Savoy Rotterdam, checked in, freshened up and went straight out for some food.
Our hotel was located a three-minute walk away from the Markthal which is the place of my dreams. Firstly it is a huge curved building that looks incredible from the outside, and inside it is jam-packed with so many restaurants and food stalls, about 100 different places I believe. I loved walking around all of the food stalls and taking a look at the local delicacies, but after a day of travelling we needed a seat and comfort food. Ria suggested this restaurant in the Markthal called Pickels and they specialised in burgers, IDEAL! We got a bottle of wine and three cheeseburgers, which were incredible. The Dutch also seem to be potato obsessed, like the Irish, and always had really good chips to offer.
Rotterdam is one of those places that seems to be really cleverly laid out. From what I could tell all the shopping was done in one street, and all of the eating and drinking was enjoyed in another. After dinner Ria took us on a mini walking tour and we ended up on the food/ drinks street. We popped into a really bright and fun Mexican place call Supermercado for Pornstar martinis before we headed back to our Hotel.
Day 2 and I have not worn white jeans in about 2 years, but I felt like I had to pack my pair for Rotterdam.
How chic is this carpet?! LOL . The hotel was actually lovely but the carpets were so sad.
I am happier than I look. My makeup for the entire weekend was pretty much this look. Key products included:
- remarcable foundation
- Urban Decay Ultimate Naked Basics palette
- Mary Lou Manizer highlight
- Benefit brows (precisely my brow, kabrow and gimme brow).
My sister seemed pretty happy to have access to my makeup once again and she fell in love with the Urban Decay palette, if you have not tried it yet than I 100% recommend taking a look at it in Debenhams or House of Fraser. Every colour is wearable, the quality is amazing and it was the only palette I needed for the weekend and for most days in general.
Ria organised the chicest brunch for us on Day 2 and we headed to V11, or Vessel 11, which was an English style pub on this boat.
I ordered my favourite brunch dish, eggs Benedict and we shared a bottle of prosecco.
Me & my momma bear ❤ We headed to the shopping district for an essential visit to Zara, H&M and the usual spots.
After the three of us had an accidental 2 hour nap when we got back to the hotel we decided to just go to the Pizza place next door, O Pazzo, for dinner. The food was amazing and Ria & I had to share the chocolate dessert after we spotted it on another table.
Ok Day 3 and the sun was shining! I think it was about 20 degrees in Rotterdam and I was delighted to finally get into a little skirt. I had packed a denim dress and a denim skirt and I went with the latter because this ASOS skirt is the most flattering denim skirt I have ever worn. As you can see I was indulging quite a bit on my trip and this fold over skirt hid my sins.
The day before Ria had picked up this super cute denim skirt from Zara (€10!) so we twinned. Also just a note it was about 20 degrees in the sun but chilly in the shade so I did need a little jacket.
On this day we decided to go inside the cube houses that were located about 3 minutes from our hotel. They were the strangest shape apartments that people actually live in, and one is permanently vacant as a museum/ tour spot. You can also rent one of the apartments via AirB&B and it is one of the most popular Air B&Bs in Rotterdam.
We took a quick tour in one of the apartments and they felt so strange to walk around. Of course the floor is flat but it still feels weird walking around these angular little cubes.
We wanted to enjoy the sunshine so we headed to a rooftop/ balcony bar that was really close by. Although we were on the roof, we were only 1 storey up.
There is the Markthal in the background, the curved building.
Here’s me enjoying a little glass of rosé in the sunshine. The perfect way to enjoy a sunny day in my opinion.
Ria booked us into the Hotel New York for afternoon tea and OMG there was a mini chocolate version of the hotel on the top-tier of the tea! This was the perfect spot to people watch and we could also see all of the ships and boats coming along the river.
Dinner time, we headed back to the food/ drink street and Ria found the most amazing tapas place called OPA. We had eaten quite a lot at afternoon tea so we were in more of a snack mood, rather than a really big meal.
I had the most amazing prawn croquettes and a roasted garlic and butter bread thing that was incredible. One thing I have to say about this place was that the customer service was incredible, but to be fair the customer service everywhere all weekend was brilliant.
After dinner we went across the road for the biggest vodka’s ever, which were Grey Goose and only cost €5?! Am I way off in saying that usually Grey Goose is a top shelf vodka and costs a little bit more than a standard Smirnoff?!
Boat trip day, so I had to go a little nautical. I had hoped on wearing my denim dress but the gorgeous weather from the day before had disappeared.
We took the Spido boat tour along the River which was a really relaxing trip that took just over an hour. I had to get a little glass of Heineken as it is one of Holland’s biggest export. When in Rome…
For our final dinner in Rotterdam Ria brought us to a burger place that holds the title of world’s best burger, Ter Marsch & co. Believe the hype, these burgers were amazing and but I was so hungry that there was no time to take a picture when the food arrived, it went straight in my mouth. The chips were also fantastic, if I lived in Rotterdam I would probably try visit this place once a week.
The bathroom at this burger place did not have a mirror in the bathroom, but I was fine with that, I love a cute sign.
On the way back to the hotel I spotted this street sign and I just had to take a pic.
All of our walking throughout the weekend I had spotted some of these red lights in the ground. Ria explained that they mark the spot of every place a bomb was dropped. In 1940 the city of Rotterdam was destroyed by the Germans in the war, killing 800 people and making 80,000 people homeless.
Before heading for the airport on Tuesday I had to try Poffertjes, which are tiny dutch pancakes and OMG they are amazing. I also had to pick up some Tony’s chocolate bars, which are the treats that Ria has been bringing home every time she visits us.
I fell in love with this little apartment building opposite the Markthal, I nicknamed it the Gnomb house because it looks so cute and quirky. As far as I am aware it just a normal apartment building, but I loved looking at it. Just below it were the cube houses.
My takeaways from visiting Rotterdam:
- The people are sound. This is such a relaxed city and everyone is super friendly. The customer service is brilliant, but even when we had to approach strangers for directions on the street they were always so happy to help. There is a similar laid back atmosphere in the city that I enjoyed, rather than fast paced and busy. Also everyone speaks perfect english and is happy to speak english to you.
- They know how to eat. Staying right beside the Markthal was dangerous for my waistline, but I got to try so much good food. They love pastries, potatoes, burgers, prawns… pretty much all of my favourite foods!
- Everyone cycles, there is no traffic. My sister had told me that she had to get a bike to get around and that everyone in Rotterdam cycles. Knowing this information I was still surprised to actually see how many bikes there were, how their infrastructure is set up for cyclists and how few people drive. Getting a taxi was never a problem, but we really enjoyed walking around this city.
- The buildings are so cool. The city was flattened during world war 2 and it seems like the city really enjoyed recreating itself. I am not knowledgeable when it comes to architecture but everywhere you look there are different styles and structures.
- It is naturally cool. This place is a Hipsters dream, but it seems really organic, authentic and just natural. It doesn’t seem like anyone is trying too hard, they are just cool. Every bar and restaurant had its quirks but it all seemed fun rather than trying to be cool.
- My sister is on an Erasmus exchange, and Rotterdam is where Erasmus started. Ok I don’t know the full story but one of the worlds greatest scholars was named Erasmus and came from Rotterdam. I could be wrong but they named the exchange programs after him as he spent his life travelling to study around Europe.
- Although you can smoke weed here, just like in Amsterdam, I really didn’t notice it being a big part of the culture in Rotterdam. I was on a trip with my mum so visiting a cafe was never on the itinerary but we did spot a cafe and it was guarded by a bouncer and looked almost like a dispensary. I could be wrong and maybe there is a another street where all the cute weed cafes are located, all I am saying is that although it is available in Rotterdam, it didn’t seem to be a big aspect of what the city has to offer.
- In terms of flying, you do fly into Amsterdam. I don’t know if I would recommend flying Friday mornings in general if you want a peaceful flight. Our flight was delayed on the runway due to so many stags refusing to take their seat and lining up for the bathroom. Thankfully I didn’t need to go to the bathroom during the flight because the line took up half of the plane throughout the flight.
I am so happy that I got a chance to visit this city, if my sister was not living here I don’t now if I ever one have had the opportunity to discover this gem.
This trip was super cheap too with our hotel costing about €200 for 4 nights and Ryanair flights about €140 for two people and the train was about €30 for two to get to Rotterdam from Amsterdam. If you are looking for a mini break location, I cannot recommend Rotterdam enough. I thought the food was pretty reasonable too with most dinners working out around €25 per person including a drink.
My next break won’t be until September but I am really excited about this one!
Until next time,