Welcome to Sidestreet Travel
I am a solo traveller who focuses on slow and immersive travel. You will find travel recommendations and stories from my experiences. Juxtaposed against these are interviews with local entrepreneurs who share their travel stories and tips in their locales.
Three Days in Barcelona
For context, I was in Barcelona meeting with a friend to go to the Brunch in the Park music festival. If you’re planning a trip to Barcelona in the summer, make sure to check out this festival. There are multiple shows throughout the summer. Because of this, I stayed in the El Poble-Sec neighbourhood, within walking distance of the event. When I return, I will stay in El Born or El Raval.
- Start your morning with coffee and breakfast in Sant Antoni.
- Get lost in the Gothic Quarter.
- Eat, drink, and shop in El Born.
- And, of course, late-night pintxos (pinchos) and tapas in El Poble-Sec on Carrer de Blai.
News & Coffee – This reinvention of the kiosk breathes new life into this fundamental institution of any cityscape. By bringing together coffee and a curated selection of unique magazines, limited releases, and newspapers, N&C provides an updated experience for your morning coffee run and hunt for excellent quality reads.
Egg Lab – A hipster brunch spot that serves quality food and coffee. The coveted terrace is excellent for people-watching while being light and breezy. The portions are ample, and the coffee is on point. I recommend sampling a few items to do a tasting of the menu.
Mercilona – This adorable little shop in the Gothic Quarter has an assortment of hand painted art, postcards, gifts, and souvenirs. Consider a whimsical print for yourself as a reminder of your time in Barcelona.
La Manual Alpargatera – One of the oldest espadrille makers in the city, they are known for quality and price. A serious selection of styles will have you humming and hawing what will fit in your suitcase. The shop isn’t just popular with tourists; locals also don these delightful shoes.
Musee Picasso – A must-see on your museum tour in Barcelona. The sketches were another perspective of the artist I had yet to see. The provocative nudes are beautiful and erotic. The interpretation of the Princess painting series and the pigeons were my favourite. Make sure to enjoy the space as a whole.
My trip was based on attending the daytime music festival Brunch in the Park. So the morning was chill with breakfast and coffee at The Federal Café. Of course, you must stop for tapas, pinxtos, and wine to round out the evening.
The Federal Cafe – Nestled in a leafy pedestrian area in Sant Antoni, this was my favourite cafe for its atmosphere and vibes. In the early morning, it’s quiet and reflective, especially in the window seats. They also serve excellent coffee and breakfast. Watch the locals go by as your sip your flat white.
Blai 9 – Pinxtos, taps, and wine. Stop by this spot if you’re hungry and want to share. They have good quality pinxtos with a bustling vibe, yet cozy and friendly. If you’re by yourself, sit at the bar. Highlights include a pancake with an omelette, a pancake with smoked salmon, a quesadilla, and many more. It’s okay if you find yourself ordering multiple rounds.
Brunch in the Park:
Exploring the Sagrada Familia neighbourhood.
Barcelona is beautiful on foot, allowing you to see the city’s hidden gems on the sidestreets. Indeed planning a trip to see the Gaudi wonders is part and parcel of a trip to Barcelona. However, this time I could not go inside the Sagrada Familia or the Park Güell. We did, however, walk through the Sagrada Familia neighbourhood, which is quite beautiful once you’re away from the crowds of tourists. Walk through the Gracia neighbourhood, and if you have time, walk to El Raval and the Gothic or take the metro.
Soulac-sur-Mer: A rustic French escape
Soulac-sur-Mer is a charming seaside town in France that stole a piece of my heart. A little over two hours on the train from Bordeaux, you escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The town is a short drive from the train station, and the town center is compact, with a lovely mix of busy main streets and quieter side streets. The town is packed in the summer, but to my delight, it was primarily French tourists. It didn’t feel inundated with foreigners, which is part of the charm. The beach stretches on for kilometers. You can choose from lively, quintessential main beach vibes or stroll to the dunes for seclusion and quiet.
For accommodation, there are quite a few options. I stayed in a super cozy bnb about 10min cycling from the city center. My options were limited because most places were already booked, but I got lucky. I recommend renting a bike to get around the city. You can also use it to explore outside the city and the neighbouring towns. The cycling paths are paved, and it’s a beautiful ride through the forest. I truly felt disconnected in the best possible way. The simplicity of everything also was a nice change of pace. If you’re looking for a place to rest and recharge while still imbibing from time to time, you should consider Soulac.
Food & Drink Recommendations:
Mojo – If you’re looking for a delightful breakfast spot and excellent coffee, stop here. They also have great lunch options. ☕
Artisan Food Market– A lovely market hall with everything to satiate your foodie desires. You can find the market between the rue de la Plage and the rue Trouche. 🥐
Cabana 8 – A tasty mix of Spanish and Latin American food. They also have a great selection of local beers and delicious cocktails. Grab a seat on the terrace to people watch with your bevy. 🍹
Montreal sur-Mer – Quickly becoming a staple in town. Don’t forget to pop by this lovely shop for a loaf of fresh sourdough and a bottle of superb natural wine. Read more about this incredible shop here. 🍷
Surfs Up – I cycled about 30 min outside of the town to a surf shop called Ulmo Surf School. The ride to the beach is super nice, pack a lunch and lots of water. You can rent gear or enroll in lessons. The surf spot is fairly protected and the beach is super chill. 🏄♀️
Bike Rental – Explore the surrounding areas around Soulac and don’t forget the forest bike paths and dunes.🚴♀️
A little slice of heaven in Soulac-sur-Mer 🍞
What do sourdough, natural wine, and coffee have to do with each other? They all happily co-exist at the bakery-cum-shop of Montreal sur-Mer in the tiny coastal town of Soulac sur-Mer, France. Although I have a knack for stumbling upon these little delights, the connection here is personal. Chanelle, the owner and creator of MSS (with her partner Mel), is the twin sister of a dear friend of mine.
There’s something you need to know about Chanelle; she is a whirlwind of energy, curiosity, and determination. She has travelled and lived in the UK, New Zealand, Australia, and France. Through these travels, she has had marvelous experiences, such as picking grapes in France and cooking for the workers at a vineyard. While in Melbourne, she trained as a barista and worked on a farm in New Zealand. While in Paris, she worked at the café and roastery Ten Bells. This café would become an essential part of Chan’s journey. And her first exposure to sourdough baking started at Circus Bakery in Paris. You can see how coffee, bread, and wine come together in perfect synchronization.
So, how did it all start? An opportunity to move from the hustle and bustle of Paris to the cozy and charming town of Soulac created the much-needed space to realize a new way of life. As Chan described it, “there were no coffee shops, nothing I’m used to in the city. The question was: Do I look for a job or create one?” During the pandemic, she had been dabbling with breadmaking and wanted to give it a real go.
Chan’s Motto is “I’m always learning.”Wise words to live by.
During a break in lockdown when it was possible to travel, Chan returned to Vancouver, Canada, to see her sister. Through connections, she was able to observe breadmaking at Fraser Ubuntu Canteen. This ignited her curiosity even more about breadmaking. She reached out to friends asking about fermentation, bread, and flour. Then the opportunity to purchase a small oven from a friend came knocking.
The slice is right
So, the bread concept was working. Chan had converted her little studio into a bakery and made bread for a local restaurant of a friend in Soulac. The idea of creating a shop to sell bread and all her other favourite things (coffee, wine, beer, and handmade quality goods) started to take root.
As a lover of wine, it was integral to the shop concept. Again, reaching through her network, Chan started to inquire about sourcing wine. It’s important to note that it’s rare to go directly to the winemakers, but Chan did. Most people go through agencies to taste, see the soil, see the place and meet the makers. However, Chan started reaching out to winemakers she had previously worked with, and they were super responsive (of course). She created an opportunity to showcase incredible local wines to an audience thirsty for something unique and special.
How do you want to spend your life? Reflecting on this question, Chan explained her a-hah moment, “The past few years have been an awakening. I didn’t know what to do or what my passion was. How can I create my own little life? And that’s when passion and curiosity converged, and she began looking at potential locations for a shop.”
A critical juncture
During a two-week stint at Ten Bells during COVID, she was confronted with a critical moment. Alice, the owner of Ten Bells, asked her what’s your plan. This question stuck with her as she came back to Soulac. They had found a location for their shop but was this the right move? Soulac is seasonal, and the space owner didn’t want to rent for the whole year. It would be more profitable to rent seasonally. That didn’t stop them.
To bring this dream to life, they needed a little help. If it’s still not apparent, Chanelle and Melissa have an extensive network of people worldwide. The power is in numbers, and they reached out to this network to ask for help bringing this idea to life. Using crowdfunding to raise 18,000 Euros, Chan put out the ask with trepidation, but the response was unreal. To challenge herself to meet her goal, she said, “You don’t get the money if you don’t make the goal.”
Dreams do come true
Not only did they meet their goal, they surpassed it quite significantly, and on May 13th, 2021, the La Acesion holiday in France, Montreal-sur-Mer opened. To show their gratitude to the donors of the campaign, Mel wrote the donors names on the show window. (H)
As the business continues to scale, selling out of bread every day. Every time you visit, expect to hear all the incredible stories connected to each product they sell. Chan envisions a collaborative baking future where she can invite bakers to share their knowledge about other ways of baking. And to continue learning, accepting that you’re always learning.
So, if you find yourself in Soulac-sur-Mer, make sure you stop by Montreal-sur-Mer to say hello to Chan and Melissa. And don’t forget to grab a fresh loaf of bread and a bottle of wine (or two).
I left my ❤️❤️❤️ in Amsterdam
What is it about Amsterdam that we love so much?
There is something electric about Amsterdam. It has a gravitational pull on my heart, but that’s okay. I love it. The city, the architecture, the history, the culture, the politics, the design, the innovation, the way of life merge into this beautifully blended city and life experience. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit on multiple occasions, which has enabled me to have a more immersive city experience. I’ve been able to slowly penetrate beyond the tourist exterior and discover the local pulse. So, this post is an accumulation of multiple trips (and hopefully more). It’s organized by neighbourhood to make it easier to navigate. Enjoy, like riding a tandem bike with your bestie on your day off!
Albert Cuyp Market – This market is lively, and you can find all manner of things here. Fresh produce, fresh flowers, artisanal food products, a delicious assortment of food to go (Dutch, fusion, and world cuisine), and of course clothing, homeware, and such. I love most the terraces on the side streets running perpendicular to the market. 💐
Bar Fisk – This is a great spot, a short walk from the hustle and bustle of Cuyp Market. It has an intimate terrace and an even more intimate interior. I stopped to enjoy a glass of wine on their patio, but their food menu looked fantastic. It’s on my to-do list when I go back. 🍷
De Japanner – This is a fun spot for izakaya-style Japanese food and a delightful and cheeky cocktail list. Case in point, Yuzu Call Me on My Cellphone. The vibe inside is straight up cool, no ice. No need. 🍶
Duke of Tokyo – A sleek karaoke bar created that emulates the bar vibes in the Golden Gai district of Tokyo. You’ll find an eclectic crowd feeding off the energy of the place. We only popped in for a yuzu sake shot, which was delicious. I need to go back, especially for a karaoke night. 🎤
Coffee & Coconuts – This is my go-to work spot when I need a change of scenery from my WFH situation. I usually get a V60 pour-over; ask the barista they have a good selection of beans. The smoothie bowls are a fantastic way to start your morning, or if you need something hardier, they have a solid breakfast menu. For lunch, I recommend the Baos. Get there early and know that working from a computer means sitting at the bar or the communal table. ☕
GlouGlou – One of the wine hot spots in the city. It could be the deliciously curated selection of natural wines they offer or the perfectly poised people-watching terrace. Not to mention the cozy interiors that make for a great date spot. If it’s natural wine you’re after, you need to add this to your need-to-go-to list. 🍷
Sarphatipark – A relaxing and charming park to run, walk, workout, people watch, dog watch, or enjoy a picnic. The park is surrounded by restaurants and bars and is a few blocks from the Albert Cuyp market. It is a popular spot with locals who come in droves to enjoy the park when the weather permits. 🌳
Sir Hummus – What a lovely little shop with a truly delicious assortment of hummus. You can also get food-to-go and various items for cooking at home. I love the easy-going and friendly vibe of this shop and the delicious food. 🧐
Van Gogh – Of course, this is a fan favourite, but I genuinely love getting lost in Van Gogh’s paintings. As a painter, I admire. It’s lovely to be able to sit amongst his masterpieces. At the same time, the museum space is also a beautiful space to be in. I love making a day at the museums. Usually, two max so as not to overload. 🎨
Rijksmuseum – A national museum for the Netherlands, is a beautiful yet large museum. It’s where I go for a history lesson and to explore the old masters, which I love. The museum has a mix of exhibits showcasing paintings, model boats, ceramics, and collected objects that showcase Dutch history through time. 🖼️
Moco Museum – Modern art and street art find harmony here, with a side of Instagram. The bright and eye-catching Moco museum packs punch with its small but captivating collections. You’ll find the likes of contemporaries such as Banksy, Yayoi Kusama, Damien Hirst, and The Kid, next to the ‘Moco Masters’ Warhol and Keith Haring. Just be prepared to study the art with Gen Z’ers posing next to it. Maybe it’s the evolution of art? 🧨
Stedelijk Museum – I think this is my favourite museum. Three floors of art, with the bottom floor housing art “from 1980 to the present, by international artists and designers who are helping to shape the changes of today and tomorrow. They challenge the status quo and offer alternative perspectives” (Stedelijk Museum). It’s the perfect blend of history, art, and culture. The bookstore is also on point. 💡
Vondelpark – The park connects to the museum district. It’s worthwhile to cycle through the park, and if the weather permits, bring a lunch and relax. 🚴
Foam Museum – This is one of my favourite museums to go to since I was an exchange student in Utrecht and continues to be a favourite 10+ years later. Foam is a photography museum. It is dedicated to curating fundamentally human exhibits at its core, showing diverse people, places, cultures, and ideas. It’s also a beautiful space to contemplate the exhibits or life. 📸
Red Restaurant – I popped into this tiny spot after visiting the Foam museum. It has a cute outdoor seating area, excellent for people watching as the spot is at a relatively busy intersection for pedestrians and bikes. I was there for lunch, so I enjoyed a super tasty hummus (and more) sandwich and a coffee. But, there were people inside enjoying a much fancier brunch, champagne, and an excellent-looking menu of brunch items. The lavish interiors suggest this would be a cozy and intimate spot for cocktails (when things open up again). 🍽️
Bocca Coffee – I came across this café and roastery on a more recent visit to the city. It’s part of how I explore a new neighbourhood, start at a café and if I’m lucky to get some suggestions or explore the general area. But, this coffee here is delicious, with a beautiful indoor space great for working, chatting, or downtime. They also have a great selection of home brewing products and accessories. It’s where I picked up my travel Kinto (Heart face). Pop in here for a coffee to go or linger (when we can again). ☕
Episode – This is a fun vintage shop with a great assortment of vintage pieces in different genres. I picked up some cashmere sweaters there (big heart), but there are some fabulous pieces for the more eclectic and streetwear styles. It’s well organized and easy to navigate, always a pit-stop when shopping for clothes. 👚
Lindengracht Market – This daily (except Sundays) market has the full range of bread, cheese, produce, flowers and much more. It has a much cozier feel than Albert Cuyp Market. Keep an eye out for the vintage markets that pop up next to it. 🧀
Hinata Ramen – I stumbled on this spot after a tour through the weekend market. Although I didn’t try the ramen (it was a hot summer day), the izakaya-style menu items were so on point. I tried the chicken karaage, edamame, onigiri, and a locally brewed yuzu beer (I swear I’m not obsessed with yuzu). 🍜
Anchor Book Store – This bookstore gem is a stone’s throw from Winkle and the weekend market. A fantastic selection of Dutch and English books. The owners have provided a selection of Dutch authors translated into English so that you can immerse yourself in Dutch culture a little bit more. 📚
Toki Cafe – This has to be one of my favourite cafes in the city. Aesthetically speaking, it meets my minimal cafe vibes, but they also make great coffee. It’s a hot spot with locals, so you get a chill, laidback vibe, not to mention a great opportunity to people watch. If you’re lucky to snag a spot, it’s well worth the time to slow down, read, think, or watch the world go by while you enjoy your fresh brew. ☕
The Rest of the City
American Bookstore – This is probably the most popular English language bookstore in Amsterdam. They have an incredible selection of books for all your needs. More obscure design, architecture, and coffee table books with a comprehensive fiction section of adults and young adults. A good spot for gifts for the book lovers in your life. Or for a unique souvenir. 📚
Tolbar & Cinetol – Tolbar has a relaxed yet fun vibe to it. They have a great selection of craft beers, cocktails and the food menu is ample and great for sharing. There is great outdoor seating, great for this summer weather, depending on the weather. What’s also cool is the live music venue, Cinetol, connected to Tolbar. Overall, an excellent spot for food, music, and good company. 📽️
Bar Oslo – This is an excellent restaurant across the canal from the Tire Station Conscious Hotel, where I was staying. In the summer, it’s a great spot to take in the people and boat watching. If you can scoop a lounge car by the canal, this is a great spot to unwind solo or with a friend or two. I recommend their version of a spritz and try the local Dutch beers. 🍺
The Breakfast Club – I love breakfast, so I was naturally excited to see that there was a restaurant dedicated to my favourite meal. But I love food in general. The food was on-point, selecting savory and sweet items: good coffee and a good vibe in the shop. The outdoor area is perfect for slow weekend mornings, yourself or with a friend (Oud West location). 🥞
Ken Sushi – This was a rad experience, and I’m so happy I got to try it. Ken Sushi is Omakase, which means “I leave it up to you,” or “Chef’s Choice.” I levelled up here when it comes to sushi here, and it was an amazing experience. The sake pairing was incredible, rose sake, I never knew. 🍶🍣 Photos below.
When your friends have a 360 view of the city
Rotterdam: A thriving and innovative city you need to check out
Rotterdam is a city that was reborn after the second world war. After much of it was destroyed during the war, it regained its position as a port hub and reimagined itself as a modern city, built into the leftovers of old Rotterdam. Some of the country’s most iconic contemporary buildings, such as the Cube Houses and the Central Library, are in Rotterdam. Popular Dutch architect Rem Koolhaus is from Rotterdam, and he has had a hand in redefining the cityscape. The city is divided by the ever-important and famous river Nieuwe Maas. There are several ways to cross over the Nieuwe Maas, but the most iconic is the Erasmus Bridge or, as the locals call it, ‘The Swan, ‘ another modern architectural gem.
What stood out about Rotterdam was the open space, the laid-back vibe, and the mix of old and new. The city embraces both its history and modern form, creating a blended city that reveals pockets of old Rotterdam, next to shinning pillars of modernity. In addition, the city was exciting to explore by bike because each neighbourhood felt so unique. Depending on your mood or what you felt like doing, you could head over to one area or explore multiple areas in a day. As a result, the city feels young, vibrant, and innovative.
Rotterdam is a city I would like to move back to and explore more. I was lucky enough to spend just over a month and a half there en route to Berlin. The city wasn’t in complete lockdown yet, so it was possible to dine out, shop, and go to museums, which I did with fervour. This post highlights the spots I tried and also some wishlist items.
Delfshaven is a beautifully preserved neighbourhood next to the harbour. Restaurants, bars, and cafes line the canals giving you a perfect view of the water and the cozy houseboats and boats in the water. If the weather cooperates, it’s a great spot to have a drink or dinner and watch the sunset.
At the epi-center of the downtown core is fairly mainstream shopping, but you don’t have to go far to experience smaller boutiques, restaurants, and specialty shops. Restaurants and cafes line the sidestreets, with museums and other cultural institutions within walking distance. The mix of mainstream and small businesses is well-executed here, creating a balanced liveliness to the center.
This is a trendy waterfront neighbourhood known previously as a warehouse district. The most famous Fenix Food Factory is known for its range of food fresh food offerings. But, there is a significant selection of restaurants, bars, and cafes in a small area located on Delistraat (such a great name). I love this street; it has loads of outdoor seating to enjoy the array of food and drink you’ll be consuming.
This is the neighbourhood I lived in, south of the center on the other side of the water. A reasonably residential area and quite multi-cultural, it was quieter than the center. Many specialty food shops are specializing in a mix of Asian and Turkish food offerings, among others. The neighbourhood has lots of pocket restaurants and cafes and a short walk to a vast park.
- The Tea Lab – I stumbled on this spot, a great spot to work remotely. In fact, they encourage it. I sat upstairs for a nice view of the street and people watching—they offer an excellent selection of teas, sandwiches, and baked goods. If you’re feeling fancy, you can even do high-tea (pictured).
- 30ML Coffee – A cute little coffee shop with a nice assortment of snacks, sandwiches, and a good spot for brunch.
- De Brunch Club – A lovely brunch spot next to the canal, a short bike ride (or tram ride) from the downtown core. If it’s a nice day, definitely sit next to the canal. I chose a classic, flat white and avo toast (pictured).
- Vietnamese Meme – This restaurant was close to my house, so that I may have frequented it more than others. But, arguably delicious Vietnamese food.
- Bagels and Beans – This is a chain bagel shop, but an excellent assortment of bagels (savoury and sweet), baked goods and coffee.
- Mangiare Rotterdam – This delightful spot is a hidden gem tucked away on a sidestreet, adorably called Pannenkoekstraat. The vibe is relaxed and inviting. Grab a seat on the terrace. The sharing platter is perfect for grazing and taking your time with a glass of wine. Everything on the menu looked delicious, but I opted for the beet tortellini and the grazing platter (pictured).
- Lisa Kitchen|Bar – Conveniently located next to Zuidplein metro station. This spot hosts a great patio area and a full menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The hummus sandwich is a staple, and they have a good selection of snacks and local beers that pair well with their patio vibes.
- Binnemarket Main Market in the City Centre – This market is my kind of outdoor market. It has an excellent array of fresh produce, cheese, meat, fish, flowers, and plants. But (for me) the big score is on Saturdays, you can also find a fantastic assortment of vintage goods–clothes and furniture. So, if you like to rummage or just get lost for a few hours in a market, this is an excellent choice. You can get a snack here or wander over the smaller streets and relax on a terrace with a coffee or glass of wine. Markethall is also super close.
- Markethall – Is a great place to go hungry and sample a vast range of food. It’s not inexpensive, but good quality food to go and food to take home. There are also a few restaurants to stop at for a few drinks and snacks. Check out the tapas bar. Try and grab a seat at the bar if you can.
- For an extensive list of markets, check out this blog by Weekends in Rotterdam.
Spend that hard-earned cash
- Stek Plant Store – A fantastic shop for all things plants. The owner is super helpful and will help you find the perfect plant for your home, needs, and experience level. You can also get it repotted (you have to pay for the soil and the pot).
- HutSpot – This shop provides a well-curated selection of clothes, books, jewellery, prints, or housewares with a nod to local Dutch brands and beautiful brands from within the EU. You are sure to find something for yourself or a gift for someone special.
- Cheap Fashion – This is a staple in the world of second-hand garments in Rotterdam. Often with long lines waiting to get their hands on a new drop, you can find prices at staggeringly accessible prices. In addition, you’ll find their social presence bold and fun, which keeps people entertained and informed.
- Sweet Rebel – This is a lovely vintage shop. The owner puts together a beautiful and thoughtful collection of vintage pieces for everyday moments and special occasions. Or, if your style is bold every day, it also works. I found some truly stunning pieces that I wish I could take all of them home. They also have a great selection of quality jeans and a nice mix of some contemporary second-hand items.
- Dodo – On my wishlist for brunch, dinner, and cocktails. The photos, of course, look delicious, but the vibe is trendy and fun. I’ll have to report back.
- Backyard – This spot hits the mark for a great breakfast, dinner, or just cocktails. Fresh, healthy, and tasty breakfast options look like they could keep me going all day. And the vegan wine selection piqued my interest.
- Kino Rotterdam – A charming independent triple threat, with a bar, restaurant and cinema. With a great rotating selection of cult classics, international cinema, and popular mainstream films. I can’t wait to check it out.
- The Nederlands Fotomuseum – With a blend of historical and contemporary photographic exhibits, this is a museum to see if you love photography. Moreover, the preservation and celebration of iconic Dutch photographers.
Camping in trash?
Repurposing old objects into sleeping accommodations or ‘sleeping objects, Culture Campsite gives a second life to materials otherwise destined for the trash. The merging of sustainability and design creates a unique getaway experience right in the city. With names like ” (S)low Tech,” “Trash Inn,” “Scuba,” and “Second Skin,” you’ll be reimaging what you think of camping. This clever and innovative concept is what makes Rotterdam such a fascinating city to visit, and I would argue the Netherlands at large.
Biking culture is fascinating in the Netherlands. Biking is a way of life. Most people use a bike as their primary transportation mode (although the rapid transit, metros, and trams are highly developed and convenient), students, adults, teens, kids, even families with three kids. So when I say let’s go for a bike ride, because it’s an enjoyable thing you do on a sunny day in Vancouver, that’s a regular day (rain or shine) in Holland.
To fit in, I bought a second-hand bike right away. I was lucky enough to find a second-hand bike and one that was my size (the only one!). So, I went to 010 Bikes. The staff were accommodating, let me test ride the bike, and set up my bike lock. Bike theft in the Netherlands is a daily occurrence and a running joke. So, having two locks is not out of the ordinary.
I am making a note of this because I found this a gateway into understanding Dutch culture. I also found it interesting to observe, both through my mistakes and pure observation, like people watching while you’re moving. I admire the way that Dutch people navigate life on bicycles: texting while cycling (although dangerous, it still looks cool), kids piled into the front attachment, navigating through pedestrians, teenagers in gangs moving around with such freedom, lovers riding side by side, and parents giving a helpful push to their child.
So, if you’ve been thinking about visiting Rotterdam, do it. It’s a fun, thriving city with so much to offer from museums, culture, food, city life, and history. Lastly, if you enjoyed this article, leave a comment or follow me on Instagram for more travel adventures. – Sidestreet Travel
I always start my trips at a cafe, well known for it’s filter coffee or flat whites, followed up with a quick chat with the baristas on their favourite spots in the city. And getting lost in the sidestreets has always yielded the most interesting things.
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