This is an interview with duo spot/bloggers Anne-Marie (A-M) and Rénia (R), partners in crime for the Rotterdam cityblog.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
A-M. : Came to R’dam to study and decided to stay afterwards as there is no other city in The Netherlands that has this no nonsense mentality and good energy. Saw the city change over the years and love it!
Travel a lot and want to experience places as seen by the locals. Writing about the things I really like in R’dam is exciting and even more exciting is that the articles helps people exploring R’dam off the beaten tracks.
R. : Besides trying to share my love for R’dam with like minded people as A-M, whom I met through Couchsurfing.org , I have the same ideas and feelings as her. To experience places I visit as a local wherever you are and maybe even do some discoveries locals have not yet ‘discovered’.
How do you like being a Spotter?
A-M.: It is fun writing about my R’dam ‘experience’ tips on SBL. It is nice when people leave a comment on an article we published and I was thrilled when one of Rénia’s topics made it into the Guardian. What touched me most was when someone whom I met recently told me that it was my De Groene Passage – Heal the world article that helped her finding the best bio supermarket in town after moving here.
R.: I think I’ve always been someone who like to share ideas, tips or what ever I’ve come across with or read about. This is another way to share it with other people and I hope to inspire and to make people more interested in their own surroundings which don’t have to be places only far away.
When I tipped a fellow couch surfer who also write for travelling brochures about this site, he told me he was very happy to have all these info as he wanted to go to places off the beaten path.
Why Rotterdam? What is a must do when you visiting Rotterdam? What not?
R.: I ended up in R’dam because that’s where my mum went to when she emigrated from Surinam.
I must admit that I didn’t like the city as much as I do now and it kind of took me quite some years to do so. This is a city you need to discover which I eventually did and still do.Rotterdam doesn’t give away all her secrets in one go. You ‘ve got to be patient and willing to put effort in trying to get to know R’dam.
If you like discovering a city by bike; then grab one and either go with a guide from Bicycle or go have your own discovery trip if you’re an explorative person.
I myself like to show my guests around. As an ‘Urban cyclist’ I love to be mobile on a bike and take them to the outskirts of town. Even so called locals might not know the places I would like to show you.
Hard to say what not to do. The mainstream shopping area maybe, if that’s not your cup of tea. That depends on every person and their interests.
But it’s nice to hear that people are quite positive after visiting or after I have showed them around.
What do you know about Rotterdam what no tourist will know?
A-M.: That the Hoek of Holland beach is also part of Rotterdam;)
R.: I’d say the area where within minutes you leave the bustle and noise of the city and find yourself in a rural like area following the river Rotte and where chickens and cocks are just walking around. Go to either the Bergse Bos area or to the beach of Zevenhuizerplas or at Nesselande.
What is the most popular neighborhood to live in Rotterdam?
A-M. : I can only speak for myself. I love to live at Kop van Zuid as it’s a new part of R’dam, it’s in the middle of the city, embraced by the river Maas, quiet and very close to the centre. Everyday I cross the beautiful river and get a view on the ever changing sky and skyline. Not to mention how often a sun sets makes me stop to take a picture!
The Kop van Zuid have city harbours, with high and low tide, surrounded by modern architecture. If you are into architecture it’s the place to explore.
The Unilever HQ, Pincoff Suithotel, Entrepothaven with luxury boats. Shops and restaurants in the Entrepotgebouw, national monuments The Hef bridge and the Poortgebouw (read about them in our Maas Bridges article).
The Wilhelminapier is where you can find the Photo Museum, Hotel New York (check the Hotel New York article), Cafe Rotterdam, New Luxor Theater. Go to the end of Wilhelminapier and you’ll get a wonderful view over the river and city. Why not take a Water Taxi (check the Water taxi article) back to the North bank?
If I had to move I would like to live in the Veerhaven area with its old houses, nice restaurants and many old trees.
R.: I truly have no idea which neighbourhood is in favour by now.
Maybe the area of between the Meent and Hoogstraat where you can find nice little shops and not the ones you will find in every city nowadays.
I have lived in quite some area’s of R’dam throughout the years and my most favorite would be Het Oude Noorden.
The mixture of people living there is really nice and also interesting for shopping or eating out as you wander through the neighbourhood, go and see for yourself.
Can you describe a perfect day in your city?
A-M.: My perfect Saturday starts with an amazing breakfast in Lof der Zoetheid at the Noordplein, then do some shopping at Zwaanshals, check out Rotabs (check the Rotabs Stylecenter article), go to the market for flowers and vegetables at the Binnenrotte and for bio-shopping to Gimsel. Stop for coffee at Urban Espresso Bar (check the Urban Espresso Bar article) at the Botersloot. Than browse through Selexyz (check the Selexyz article) for news papers, magazines and books. Drop off the shopping bags at home and if the weather is nice head off to the Kralingse Plas to get some fresh air and a drink at the Vier Windstreken. If the time is limited the bridges walk (Erasmus Bridge and Willems Bridge) is also nice (check the Maas Bridges article). We often end the afternoon in either the Nieuwe Binnenweg or the Witte de Withstraat for some snacking, gallery and/or shop hopping, eat at Eendracht restaurant (make sure to make a reservation upfront) and end the day seeing a gig in Rotown.
R.: A perfect day in R’dam would be a nice warm temperature, about 25*C and a light breeze.
I would be either cycling or rollerskating around. My route would be from the island to either Hotel New York (check the Hotel New York article) first to sit on the patch of grass and just chill out in one of the deckchairs there. Then I might head to the Kralingse Bos (check the Kralingse Bos article) via the Erasmus Bridge to the Old North, and follow the river Rotte where there’s always a place to sit somewhere and watch the canoes go by. Cycling back to the centre via Schiebroek and grab an ice cream at Zwaanshals or at Venezia in the centre.
This could last a whole day and join friends who are on a terrace somewhere and just linger and do some more people watching. My fave past time.
Check out the other interviews with our Spotters