Fourteen Months Abroad – Rotterdam, Holland

As we had seen so much of Amsterdam and the Hague and had made excursions to Scheveningen, Haarlem, Leyden and Zaandam, I wished that we might see Rotterdam, too, but feared we should not. When we reached that city on our way to Brussels (July 21) we found we must change cars and were compelled to wait four hours for our train. This was the opportunity needed. While waiting we took a most interesting ride, separately, by horse tram through the city. I went first. As L.’s cold was disagreeable he thought he would not go. I found the tram warmer than the station and on my return persuaded him to take the same ride. He calls it “one of our best tram rides.” We passed a pretty park where there were very showy flower beds and rode on a street with a canal in the center. Lawns on both sides of the canal contained bright beautiful flower beds. A street and sidewalk were on each side of the lawn. Houses were compact on one side and had pretty yards and grounds. It was a most interesting street. We had not seen one like it. Often canals run through the streets in Holland and are lined with fine trees, but not with beautiful lawns and flower beds. From this street we went on until we reached the river Maas and the immense quay which is more than a mile long. There we saw much shipping. A steamer from America was pointed out to me by the street car conductor.

Rotterdam, on the river Maas near its confluence with the Rotte, from which it received its name, is the largest port in Holland. We ate lunch at the station after taking the ride. L. went out with his kodak and took a picture of a rose bed, and a policeman. I went afterwards to see what he had taken. We had fine views of Rotterdam from the cars after leaving the station. We could see more of the river Maas and the shipping. We looked down upon streets below our railroad track. In the poorer parts of the city clothes of various hues were drying on the houses. On boats there were long lines of clothes. There were many sailing vessels, with sails of different colors, and large steamers. We were well satisfied with what we had seen of Rotterdam.

We passed through the city of Dordrecht (Dort), which is on an island. I saw the high, square tower of the Grotte Kerk. There were queer looking streets and windmills high in the air. Wild red poppies blossomed by the side of the railroad and in the fields. A company of men and women were in the field threshing grain with flails. Farther on we crossed an immensely long bridge over the arm of the sea. L. said “it seemed like crossing the ocean on a bridge!” We changed cars unexpectedly at Antwerp, where we spent two nights and a day last August. We had a good view of the Cathedral whose lovely chimes I should like to hear again. This part of Belgium is flat. We saw hedges, old fashioned well sweeps, houses with thatched roofs, but no appearance of poverty either in Belgium or Holland. People seemed well-to-do. We were obliged to change cars several times, much to our discomfort, but reached Brussels at last at 5:30 and are at Hotel de l’Empereur, which L. calls “another swell hotel.”