A Year Full of Discoveries 2019

2019 has been a huge year for me travelling. I didn’t go to many places but I did tick off some of my targets on my bucket list. 2019 is the year I finally saw the Northern lights which is a huge tick on my list. It is also a year I have visited 7 new countries and a handful of their regions. I also scuba dived again after a few year absent from the activity. However most importantly 2019 will always be remembered as the year I met many travellers which I could say are friends and travel partners for many years to come. 

Short Circuit, Asean Trip I

Kuala Lumpur, Apr 19First trip of the year and it was a late one. I went for a mini Asian circuit trip and Malaysia was our first stop. To start things off we got straight to hostels, roamed the city on our own and also availed an elephant sanctuary tour.
Siem Reap, Apr 19  This was probably the main focus of this trip, inspired by lonely planet I wanted to see the majestic ancient temples myself. Surprisingly and unplanned I somehow ended up getting to Siem Reap in the middle of a huge celebration(their new year) which we ended up joining in a huge water gun battle with local villagers.
Langkawi, Apr 19  We then went to Langkawi a huge Malaysian island where we went jet skiing and visited a few of their attractions. This time round we were in a hotel to get a little bit of rest.
Koh Lipe, Apr 19 – We then excursed to a smaller Thai island to do some scuba diving. The best experience here was the more than unusual immigration system as you line up on the sand where you will see just a desk under a hut.
Kuala Lumpur, Apr 19 Finally we end up in Kuala Lumpur again where we relax and do our final shopping.

Siem Reap

Oslo Trip

Oslo, May 19 – A long weekend trip with friends which correct to reputation proved to be expensive. It was a lovely city with plenty of attractions.

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Netherlands Trip

Amsterdam, Sep 19 – Its unusual to travel to Amsterdam with your family with its reputation of being a place for adults. However the city wasn’t only for adults and there was plenty to do as a family.
Rotterdam, Sep 19 – After the Amsterdam trip I excursed to Rotterdam by myself which was my first and only solo trip of the year. Rotterdam was small but is proving to be progressing to be a hit for tourism in the future.

Amsterdam

Short Circuit, Asean Trip II

Bagan, Oct 19 – One of the best places ive been due to its openness and freedom this is also the place I met some of the greatest travellers there is.
Yangon, Nov 19 – Just like Bagan Yangon was a beautiful place I have met some great people. The city sprung a few surprises. It was more modern than I thought it would be and it also had some of the friendliest people in any place I have travelled.
Bangkok, Nov 19 – Long overdue visit to the Thai capital. It was meant to be a restful end to my holiday but it proved to be the opposite. The adventures were too great and I ended up visiting many attractions.

Bagan (17)

Iceland

Reykjavik and southern coast, Dec 19 – A 5 day trip to one of the most exciting place I have visited. I finally got tosee the northern lights which is a big tick on my bucket list. Furthermore the country’s mountains, waterfalls and other natural landscapes were just out of this world.

Iceland - Golden Circle (5)

 

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Rotterdam

“The most innovative city full of artistic architecture. ”

Type : City weekend break
Best Date : June-Aug
Expense : Fair
Things to do : Bike ,Chilled nightlife, Sightseeing
Points of Interest: Euromast, Cube house, Erasmusburg, Mini World, Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, Maritime museum, Markthal, Stadhuis, ect
The Good: Modern, Architecturally amazing
The Bad: Maybe too quiet for some

Brief

Rotterdam is a port city situated in the province of South Holland, it is just a 40 minute train ride from the Dutch capital Amsterdam. Its name dates back around 1260 where a dam was built on the river Rotte. It is the largest port city in Europe and until 2004 it was the largest in the world overtaken by cities like Singapore and Shanghai.

Today it is a city rapidly growing in stature financially, gathering interest in tourism, due to its constant innovation and architectural culture. There is a lot of articles from reputable news outlets and guides which praises the city as an up and coming destination, even comparing it with its neighbour Amsterdam.

So what did I think of the city?

The Place

My Rotterdam trip was a 1 night 2 day excursion from Amsterdam. A trip I wanted to take due to its increasing popularity a chance for me to take a look at the city before Rotterdam cements itself as a powerhouse for tourism and huge crowds appear. In particular I was attracted to this city for its architectural promise and its laid back nightlife.

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Firstly I want to point out the Central Station which was my entry point into the city and I believe an attraction itself. Opened in the year 2014 the station was upgraded from the old station in order to accommodate the increasing number of passengers and also to cope with new high speed trains which travel from the capital to cities such as Brussels and Paris. In my opinion the Central Station is a sight to see because of its clever perspective designed roof. The station is also very spacious with a futuristic styled projection for advertisements. There is not too many shops inside the station but it is a magnificent station, and an area to see whilst in Rotterdam.

Rotterdam

One of the main attraction to see in the city is Markthal which just like its name is a market hall but combined with luxury apartments in a remarkable innovative architectural design. Its various food stalls, food shops and restaurants have some of the freshest most quality food in the city.

Rotterdam

Near the Markthal  is the cube houses and for me it was very impressive in terms of design and the engineering behind it, however although I understand it is a functioning house and not a monument its location within a normal neighbourhood has taken down its impact for a touristic experience. In my opinion seeing the cube house was just like seeing brilliantly designed houses and nothing more.

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Rotterdam is also known for its chilled out nightlife and Witte de Withestraat is in my opinion the best street for it. Here you can find some of the best bars and restaurants in the city and there are also attractions like museums and also an escape rooms.

For those who want to see a birds eye view of the city the Euromast is the place to visit. At 185m tall the tower which is a purpose built observation tower hosts tours, restaurants, hotels and for the thrill seekers it is also possible to abseil or do ziplining.

Finally I think the highlight of Rotterdam for me is Erasmusburg or Erasmus Bridge. The bridge designed by Ben van Berkel and named after the Dutch Philosopher Desiderius Erasmus also known as Erasmus of the north or simply Erasmus connects the north side of the city to the south. It is both a bascule and cable type bridge and accommodates pedestrians, trams and normal vehicles.  I went to this bridge both at daytime and also night and the scenery for both times was just spectacular. I fully recommend visitor to see this bridge.

There are many other places that you can visit which I opted to miss due to it being for a group or for children, I honestly wasn’t interested or that I didn’t have time.  These are the very popular Rotterdam Zoo, Mini World, Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, Maritime museum and many others.

Conclusion

All in all, there was so much to see and do in Rotterdam, some of which I purposely missed out, but I was satisfied into what I saw and did within my two day timeframe. My first impressions of the city is that it was very artistic and innovative in architecture. As I entered the city I felt the mixture of a business or a college/ university type area due to the amount of young people and business suited people around. It was also much quieter than Amsterdam but this in my opinion was a positive.

Rotterdam get a thumbs up for me and I highly advise to venture to the city when in Amsterdam or enroute to Brussels. The buildings are truly amazing and it is miles away from the hectic crowds of Amsterdam so its a nice place to take it easy and unwind. I believe Rotterdam is still growing and will attract mass tourism in the short future so I believe for those who like the more quieter trip, visit now until its too late.

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Reference:

The world’s 10 biggest ports
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erasmusbrug Photos: (Witte de withestraat) https://www.flickr.com/photos/philipmallis/35091212314 (Euromast) https://www.flickr.com/photos/hannolans/20109134810/