Luke Jordan

Ashtanga Yoga Summer School – Time Out Guide

A beginners guide to Rotterdam.

For those of you who are travelling from Rotterdam from out of town for the Ashtanga Yoga Summer School I thought it might be useful to share some ideas of how to spend your recovery time! So here is a few of our favourite places and things to do in ‘null-tien’.

My initial impressions of Rotterdam were that it was grey, industrial and somewhat boring. On my first visit I was brought on a tour of the docks and I can honestly say I have never seen as many steel containers in my life! If that is your thing, you will be in heaven. For me, it is not one of Rotterdam’s highlights (although the port is certainly central to Rotterdam as a city).

Since that first visit, Rotterdam has grown on me. It is a vibrant, alive and cosmopolitan city, always changing, always seemingly something on (especially over the summer). It is much more down to earth than other Dutch cities (and with that is gone the pretension and focus on the appearance of things). Rotterdam is very much an up-and-coming place and I hope that it manages to keep its earthy vibe as it continues its ever-continuing metamorphosis.

1.Goes without saying really – Yoga in the dungeon in Kralingen.

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2.Cycling without purpose and taking it in. Rotterdam is a city facing and embracing the future. For the most part, gone are the oldy worldy tenement buildings (destroyed by German bombing in WWII) and in their place are a wide array of modern architectural designs, seemingly unconnected and yet at the same time coming together. I love the cycle from the back of the train station and continuing down the central road towards the water.

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3.Nieuwe Binnenweg to Delfshaven. As you cycle down the Main Street, on your right (opposite Santa-with-a-butt-plug (don’t ask!)) you can turn down the Nieuwe Binnenweg. This is a quickly gentrifying neighbourhood with all the associated coffee bars and general hipster-style outlets that you need. As you continue down the street it gets a little rougher around the edges until you come to Delfshaven which is pretty-as-postcard oldy worldy and you can sip a tipple by the side of the canal and think you were somewhere else entirely (quite a nice Lebanese restaurant also close by).

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4.Fenix Food factory. Pass over the Erasmus Brug towards the iconic Hotel New York (stop for a look), and over the ‘hoerenloopersbrug’ you will find yourself in the up-and-coming Katendrecht. We were at the Fenix Food Factory last week. Maybe it was because the Netherland’s first cheese-cake festival (!) was on, but it seemed as if the the rest of Rotterdam was there too. Great food and vibe.

5.Museums and art. Rotterdam is punching above its weight in the art world. The Netherlands photo museum is worth the visit (near Hotel New York) and Boijmans (near enough the aforementioned Santa) has a top class collection of modern and contemporary art. A museum card comes in handy!

6.Witte de With Straat. Near Boijmans and museum park. This is the perhaps Rotterdam’s hippest area. Worth a dander. For those of you into that sort of thing there is an excellent spiritual shop selling all the usual spiritual marketplace paraphernalia. Nice cafes, eateries etc.

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7.Markthal. Impressive market hall near the centre. Maybe 10 times the price of the market stalls outside but well worth a look in and a wander around. Don’t forget to look up! The market square is surrounded by interesting architecture including the famous ‘cube houses’ and the public library (best library I’ve ever been in). If you fancy a game of chess (!) or simply like to spectate, there is a life size chess board in the lobby of the library and always a crowd around watching the (in)action.

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8.Count containers at the docks. Unmissable for all container enthusiasts.

These are just a few ideas to keep you going. There always seems to be something on. For more information about what exactly is happening check out https://en.rotterdam.info/agenda/. For example, next weekend will be Rotterdam carnival and there will lots of stuff all over the city. http://rotterdamunlimited.com/en/.

There are also many great day trips that you can take. So much is close by, including, Delft, Den Haag, Dortrecht, Utrecht and ‘Null-Twintig’. Even better is hop on a bike and use the ‘Fietsknooppunten’ (numbered bike points) to explore the Dutch hills.  https://www.fietseropuit.nl/fietsroute/zuid_m_holland/rotterdam/ (click Googlemap and Knooppunten to display the routes and numbers).