“This could be Rotterdam or anywhere…” No, it’s definitely Rotterdam.

Sunday 29 July. Rotterdam.

Last night, the temperature had fallen to 30 degrees at midnight but was just 25 during the day. Yesterday was not the “thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening” day it was forecast to be. The weather made a halfhearted effort to rain at about seven o’clock, but then settled into a pleasant though, as the high pressure built up over weeks balanced out, windy day.

Because I’d committed to stay on site, it became a planning day. It’s all very well thinking “Helsinki in September “, my nominal turnaround point, but there’s so much to see between here and there, how do I fit it all in? Anyway, Rotterdam.

Never been a big fan of The Beautiful South, but to suggest Rotterdam could be anywhere is nonsense. Bombed to blazes in the war, there’s not much old city left, but the new city is iconic and has a skyline that celebrates contemporary design and ambition.

It may not be your kopje thee, as they probably don’t say in Holland, but ‘anywhere’ it ain’t.

Rotterdam’s history goes back to 1270, when a dam was constructed in the Rotte river, after which people settled around it for safety. A major logistic and economic centre, Rotterdam is Europe’s largest port and is known for the Erasmus University, its riverside setting, lively cultural life, and maritime heritage.

The near-complete destruction of the city in the war resulted in a varied architectural landscape, including sky-scrapers, an uncommon sight in other Dutch cities.

So, where am I parked up? When I’d ridden over the Erasmus Bridge, or the Swan as it is known,

I found this ship docked.

A few hours later, back at the gaff, what comes sailing by?

Basically, I’m on Europe’s route to everywhere, and there are some massive ships passing up and down. Also, this is a ferry point.

It seems to cross about twice an hour. It’s a quiet site, though, and after a long ride I should sleep well.

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