Monday, March 25, 2013

Holiday in Rotterdam (Monday)

It's Ann's birthday today! The weather looks a lot better than yesterday (it's only -2C), so we're going to jump on the train and head north towards Haarlem. I tested the conditions during breakfast and it definitely seemed warmer than the day before. Somehow though, I just knew it wasn't going to last.

By now, the temperature outside our hotel had risen to a toe-warming '-1C'. Well, at least it was heading in the right direction and so maybe we might hit a positive number by the time we get to our destination? The taxi driver commented that Rotterdam was officially the coldest it's been since records began - 150 years ago!!!

The weather didn't improve! On arriving at Haarlem, it was f-f-f-f-freezing, and in spite of the warm train, as soon as we got out of the taxi, we needed to seek refuge inside somewhere... anywhere just to get warm!!! We headed for the first place we saw - just one metre from where the taxi dropped us!
As it turned out, it was a good decision - it was a snuggly little place that was already busy and perfect for our immediate needs - coffees and hot chocolates all round then! After 20 or thirty minutes getting our circulation back, we felt brave enough to take on the elements again, and so we headed in the direction of the Great Church - St Bavo's. Although it was pretty close-by, we seemed to take the long way round to the entrance door, and by the time we found it, we were all frozen again!!! Still, the Church would be warmer inside woudn't it?

It wasn't! It's the largest Church I've ever been to that has no visible form of heating - whilst outside felt like -10C, inside the Church, it was an extremity-losing '-9C'!!! We were all f-f-f-f-f-freezing... AGAIN!!!!! - and I do mean freezing: I don't think I've ever been so cold in all my life!
Given the temperature, it was hard to appreciate the splendour of the architecture as we hurried round the interior. Ann remarked on the size of the organ (for which I thanked her, but this was hardly an appropriate place for that sort of comment!), then I realised that she was pointing somewhere else!!!
All cultured out and with the threat of limbs dropping-off, we headed for the cafe that was just opposite (mainly because it WAS just opposite!) - The Grande Cafe Brinkmann. Inside it was beautifully warm and the staff were very welcoming. We perused the menu and chose our respective meals. The service was polite and efficient and within 10 minutes, we were all tucking-in, a celebratory birthday lunch.

An hour-or-so later, we'd finished our meals - we were suitably stuffed and all the warmer for it! The cafe was even good enough to order us a taxi back to Haarlem Station, so no more sub-zero trekking for us four We were soon looking for our platform and we even spotted a faster service back to Rotterdam Station.

When we got back to the hotel, Denis and Lee headed for an afternoon snooze, whilst Ann and I wandered around the local area to see what-was-what and where-was-where. Having looked round, we're probably going to spend tomorrow exploring the local area.

6.00pm. It was all round to ours for a carpet picnic and a bit of TV.

It's been a memorable day - mainly because of the freezing-cold weather! We've decided that in 2014, we'll spend Ann's birthday somewhere warmer - probabaly defrosting the freezer!!!! :)