This is the third article where Spotted by Locals informs you of the wonderful opportunities of travelling by train. This time we will take you through Belgium and the Netherlands. A day trip from my hometown, Brussels, to Rotterdam by train, without the stress of driving there, traffic, finding a parking spot for your car. All the spots are located within walking distance of the train station. Taking the train is the perfect way of transport for a city trip, all you have to do is sit back and relax!
Train trips around the world allow you to relax in the picturesque scenery. In Europe, there is no better way to enjoy the stunning views. Riding on the rails gives you a glimpse into some of the most spectacular places on the continent while sitting and enjoying the ride. It is also a very sustainable way of travelling and you can leave all the driving stress behind. Just get on a train and it will take you to your destination, in the meantime, you can read your newspaper, have a bite, play a game with your kids… Enjoy this comfortable way of travelling through Europe and don’t forget to enjoy the views!
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Breakfast in Brussels
We start our day in Brussels, my lovely hometown. After waking up and packing your stuff for the day trip, you might want to get some coffee or breakfast in your belly before getting on the train. For this occasion, we have selected Chicago Café for you, my go-to brunch spot! Come in and enjoy breakfast, brunch, lunch, and homemade cakes and pies! Chicago offers all-day breakfast and brunch, so there is no time when it’s too late to order breakfast. That’s basically what Chicago is all about, you can have breakfast or brunch any day and at any time of the day. Wonderfull, if you ask me!
For breakfast I would recommend the American or English breakfast if you’re up for a classic, but if you want to go a little more crazy go for a salmon brioche bun or some benedict eggs. For veggies or vegans, there is also a wide range of good food to choose from! My go-to drinks here are homemade ice tea or a fresh orange juice to get in some vitamins at the start of the day! I would definitely advise going there on an empty stomach or maybe even sharing plates with friends or family as the portions are absolutely huge! At Chicago, you really get your money’s worth of food.
Spotted by Charlotte Mewis
Taking the train
After visiting this lovely breakfast bar, it’s time to head to Brussels South station to take your train. This will approximately take you 25 minutes by foot or 11 minutes with public transport. The intercity train takes you from Brussels South Station to Rotterdam Central Station in one and a half hours, a 123-kilometer journey.
Arrival in Rotterdam
After arriving in the city, let’s head for West Kruiskade. West Kruiskade is very close to the central station. Being a port town, there is one word that can easily describe Rotterdam: diversity. And if you would like to understand Roffa’s diversity in one street, I have the one for you: West Kruiskade. Located a couple of hundred meters from Centraal Station, West Kruiskade is one of the preferred destinations of the town’s foodies… both hipsters and not. You can see some of the old facades that survived the bombing in the ’40s and most of them are filled with food business — let that be tasty restaurants to interesting tokos (grocery stores where you can buy whatever you need to cook yourself an international meal).
When you get to the West Kruiskade, walk slowly. Let your ears and your eyes savor the colors and the tones. Let yourself wander in the international supermarkets on both sides of the street: discover food you had never seen before. Have an ice cream. Greet a senior. Listen to a conversation. Buy a flower. Experience the city. Sometimes it only takes a street.
Spotted by Cinthya Uribe
Lunch in Rotterdam
After visiting Westkruis, we selected a lunch spot for you! On the Nieuwe Binnenweg, 30ml Rotterdam lures you in with the scent of freshly roasted coffee, a small terrace when the sun is out and the smell of delicious cooking. The atmosphere is laid back, and relaxed and creates a little oasis in the middle of this busy part of Rotterdam. Their drink menu is extensive with a great variety of teas, specials such as seasonal lattes and homemade lemonades, and of course great coffees.
Your sweet tooth is not aching? No worries, 30ML has your savoury hunger covered as well. The halloumi and hummus breakfast burrito hits the spot any time of the day; the tiny toasts are not tiny at all but the pick me up snack you needed; the poached eggs are brunch happiness on a plate; trainwreck Dutch cheese, cheddar, tomato bacon avocado spread grilled cheese or the tuna melt are everything you didn’t know you needed. Take a load off or hop in and take your coffee on the go – walking by is just not an option.
Spotted by Silvia Graham
After lunch, it’s time for a lovely walk to Park Schoonoord. While walking to this Park, you will pass through the Museumpark and you will also spot het Depot. Park Schoonoord is a small park near the Euromast. Its history dates back to the 18th century when it was a garden that belonged to one of the nearby villas. After numerous owners, the park came to the possession of the Mees family, a banker family. They opened Schoonoord for the public in 1970 and since then the city has been responsible for its maintenance. Once in a while, one stumbles upon a place that has that ‘wow factor’. I guess you could call those places hidden secrets. ‘Park Schoonoord’ is definitely one of those hidden secrets.
Once you enter through the gates, all that noise from the city disappears. Instead, you’ll hear chirping birds, a waterfall, and zooming insects. The park has a large pond with some pretty big fish in it and some ancient-looking trees. The perfect place to stroll around. It even has a birdhouse with adorable-looking fluffy birds.
This park is wonderful to have a city zen moment in. Find yourself a quiet spot under the trees to sit and close your eyes for a moment.
Spotted by Davy Baas
Discover the city of Rotterdam
Brewpub Reijngoud Rotterdam is the perfect place to head for a beer. Located a little bit further away from Schoonoord, you might want to take public transport or a shared e-scooter to get there. The owner of the pub is passionate about beer, and you are the one to benefit from it. This pub is great if you want to have some good conversations in the sun, enjoy a speciality beer and having a good laugh with some locals.
Every once in a while they invite a few bands and turn this part of Vijverhofstraat into a joyful fiesta. Beer has earned the reputation of a mood booster and friends-maker; music only enhances that superpower. If you go there, don’t miss the chance to order Balcony Rhapsody and their Mexican fries – who knows, maybe you’ll discover, as a result of this combination, a superpower you were not aware of.
Spotted by Irina Bulat
Dinner in Rotterdam
Mooie Boules is a French traditional game with metal balls called boules. The objective is to score points by having boules closer to the target than your opponent after all boules have been thrown. Mooie boules food hall is offering you the opportunity to spend your evening entertaining yourself with this game in the company of a group of friends. There’s also table tennis, air hockey, table football, a corner with board games, and even karaoke.
If you’re done playing games and you’re ready for a snack, the choice is generous, as you can choose from rice dishes with meat or shrimp and other intriguing dishes from the street food repertoire of the Middle East. Or why not go for Greek – pitas here come hand in hand with a fresh salad. You will appreciate the combination. For drinks, you have to decide between wine and beer – a great selection there too. An evening spent in great company with good food and active game-playing – this is the promise that Mooie Boules makes and successfully keeps. You will not leave disappointed after spending your evening here!
Spotted by Irina Bulat
Clubbing after dinner
You cannot leave Rotterdam without going clubbing until the late hours! Annabel opened its doors a few years ago in the backyard of Bar and Biergarten. Since then those three together are known as the golden triangle. A perfect spot for anyone who likes music, drinks, and fun times. Almost every weekend night musicians from across the world perform and treat the public to a crazy night. Music styles range from electronic music to rock, so something for everybody. But besides a music hall, Annabel is also a café where you can have some small meals on the sunny terrace. I guess you could call this place multifunctional.
Spotted by Davy Baas