Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Year's Eve in Rotterdam

or how I discovered one of the most annoying traditions...

Boom! Bum! Watch out! Walking down the streets in New Year's Eve might be dangours. It was for us – my sister and her boyfriend, who visited me and my boyfriend in Rotterdam. The fireworks spectacle began already in the morning and petards were exploding just few centimeters away form us. It's definitely not a good time for a walk along the main street. Enthusiastic kids were throwing all they had just under the pedestrians' feet, under cars and trams. Only some of them were reasonable enough to tell us to wait till a petard explodes before continuing our walk...

The exploding performance had its high point at midnight when fireworks tuned the black sky above the Erasmus Bridge into a colourful scene. Many people gathered around the bridge to celebrate the New Year's Eve and liters of alcohol splashed the streets. We watched the show, shared a bottle of champagne, took some pictures and went back home. Before we organised a nice peaceful evening, with lots of good music, delicious food and many funny games.

Rotterdam again & again

or how come I became a constant visitor to Holland...

Life really is full of surprises. Since I went to Holland for the first time (in August), I have landed there another five times (in 3 months!).
I didn't really like the city when I first saw it. But it seems, it really has some charm. Spacious parks, the old colourful harbour, and a small old town, full of narrow streets and artistic shops... The most beautiful parts of the city were damaged in the WWII, and afterwards only new, modern buildings were built. Fortunately, Rotterdam is not only about high glass buildings and frightening skyscrapers. There are nice and cosy places, too. The top of my favourits' list are the traditional Dutch houses. I just love them!

But that's of course not the reason, why I keep visiting Holland so often. It turned out sometimes you find the special person far away form your home. And the you suddenly change all your plans. So I'm moving to Holland in 2 weeks!
During my visits I met many locals, although it's not easy to get to know a Dutch person in Rotterdam. The half of the citizens are emigrants or people from emigrant families. Walking down the streets will provide you with a real mix of many nationalities from around the world. And the Dutch language is not the one you here most often. English, Arabic, German or even Polish are sometimes more noticeable then the local language. Together with the mix of nationalities came to Rotterdam also a mix of various cuisines. There are plenty shops with Chinese, Moroccan, Indian or Polish food. Very popular are also shops with traditional wedding clothes from India or Morocco.

Soon I will find out more about the culture and local people, things I like and don't like about living in this country. So far there's one thing that definitely puts me of – the local bureaucracy! If you are a new-comer, you need to wait ages before you get the necessary documents. Queues, complicated forms, multitude of documents that has to be deliver to the local offices... Well, I hope I will be ready with that soon.