Stay in Rotterdam

During the night some birds have crapped on my bike. I had just cleaned it before the trip, now the bike might start to expect a cleaning a week.

On the seventh day I only saw the district of Scheveningen from Den Haag. The main part of town is on the route to Rotterdam.

Also on the way lies Delft which I know for their university. So on the eighth day I got to see a bit more of Den Haag. Perhaps I coasted through the wrong parts of the city but it did not really stand out like Leiden did. It is just another Dutch city. Outside of Scheveningen the bike infrastructure is on the standard level of the Netherlands: some good separated commuting routes, some painted strips on other roads. There was a one-way street that was opened for cyclists going the other direction as usual. There were parked cars on both sides of the street. I had to halt every few meters to let oncoming cars pass. At the next intersection I saw that this was supposed to be a bike street with cars as guests. It certainly did not feel like it.

Somewhere in a park I did a brief pause. Some random person started to speak to me in Dutch. I replied in Dutch that I do not speak much of it, and we continued mostly in English. The person sat down next to me on the bench and pulled out a joint. He then complimented my bike. Perhaps I am just paranoid from reading about information security and doing a self defense class, but somebody saying "this is a nice bike you have" makes me really uneasy. I imagined him getting up and just taking be bike. We had a brief conversation but before anything else happened I just left the strange man and continued my trip.

A neat traffic management thing that I read about but first saw in Den Haag is green for all cyclists at a traffic light. There is a dedicated phase in the traffic lights and all cyclists can go in any direction. This means that you do not have to wait two phases to make a left turn but can just do both at the same time. Cyclists can generally watch out for other cyclists, so that seems to work well.

Another thing that I find irritating is the frequency with that people still drive over the intersection although I already have a green light. Either the separation between the different phases is too short or many people go over red lights. This means that one always has to look before entering an intersection. This is of course true everywhere, but in Germany I do not have the impression that it is really as needed as in the Netherlands.

Although I initially did not see many cyclists with helmets, I have seen many of them now. The pattern is that the people with road bikes almost always wear a helmet and everyone else does not. As I also did cycling for leisure there, wearing a helmet actually was not all that strange after all.

Twice I have been passed by a car with 20 cm distance on that day. I could have slapped on their roof and with proper safety distance that should be impossible. The second time was a driving school car. So one has to take the lane to prevent the motorists from close passing also in the Netherlands.

Somewhere between Den Haag and Delft there is this fancy looking bridge:

I have the impression that the Dutch are more daring with architecture compared to Germany.

On my way I passed the city of Delft. It seems more bike friendly. From the general appeal it is similar to Leiden with the narrow streets and canals but not quite as beautiful.

The Dutch are well known for their manipulation of the water level with dams and windmills as pumps. On the route LF11 I found a canal which has a water level above the cycle path next to it.


I pictured Rotterdam as a sleazy port city, but it appears very modern and clean. There are ample bike paths on the main routes and the routes LF11 and LF2 mostly are very nice to ride on. There is really cool and stark architecture to be found in a lot of places. The waterfronts are being developed, just like Dublin. I guess Hamburg is similar, but likely not with this nice bike infrastructure.

The Stayokay Rotterdam is located in the cube houses. They are eye catching:

In between these houses there is a square that has a very familiar atmosphere. Even though it is located over a busy road, it feels rather quiet and calm up there.

At the reception there was a US-American traveler who wanted to get a room. Since they had everything already booked out, they could not give him a room. He had handwritten notes of other hostels and asked the receptionist to call them for him. They declined and told him to use his own phone. I just used my comparison app, looked for a room in Rotterdam and sorted by price. No hostels showed up in the listing, so they must have been all booked out. I gave him the number of the cheapest hotel and he was very happy.

My room in the hostel is at the middle level of one of the cubes. The room is shaped very strangely and I wonder what the condos look like from the inside. I think one could have gotten much of the village feel without rotating the cubes onto their tips. The room that I stayed in was rather long and narrow and only had a window at the very end. The air did not move and it was warm and stuffy. With seven people in the room this only got worse.

On one of the major roads I found a thick lane of bike parking between the car parking and the bike lane. This way carelessly opened car doors do not become a problem for the cyclists. Also cars never pass the bike lane. And as there is a step between the bike and pedestrian lanes the latter do not wander onto the bike line. The step means that could cannot drive into the pedestrian area either. This should not be necessary and also is forbidden to do. So this design seems to be very good:

When I got back to the hostel the room was still warm. I checked the window and it can only be opened by about 10 cm, presumably for safety reasons. Then I discovered that there is a fan and air conditioning unit that one can control from the room. So I set it to 22 C. The room temperature has been measured to be 27 C. Just after a few minutes the room became bearable and my headache started to go away.

The shower in that hostel room was of the dead-man-switch type. You had to press the knob every half minute to keep the water going. I can see the purpose of these installations but I do not like them. To make things worse the relative water pressure between hot and cold water changed every few minutes and the temperature had to be adjusted.

My favorite hostel still remains the one in Utrecht: comfortable beds, two showers and one toilet for eight people. And it all looked very recently modernized.

Rotterdam also has a lot of bike parking facilities:

To be fair, not all bike infrastructure is good. Sometimes you find a bike path ending in a curbstone like this one: