if you'd told me a year ago that i was going to have quit my job, saved a reasonable amount of money, packed up all of my treasure and moved to holland, i would have given you this face. i still have to slap myself to believe i am actually here, i'm living with a boy (first time for everything) and a cat (i'd prefer a pug) and i am loving it. rotterdam has never been a city on my world tour agenda. i'd never even stepped foot inside the country until last july and that was to visit two of my favourite australians.
i have to begin with the market. on tuesday and saturday, a large market is held in binnenrotte, the biggest market square in the netherlands. from april to december there are also markets on a sunday. that means that for three days of the week the city centre is transformed into a vintage collector's, herring and cheese appreciator's and flower lover's heaven. whether it's a 1 euro retro LP case, someone's collection of old paris postcards, beautiful bertoia chairs or a 60's light fixture...my vintage adoring heart skips a beat everytime i visit. we also usually end up buying a huge bag of olives, fresh veges for the week and anything else i can fit inside my oversized bike basket, spending very little money in the process. even for an aussie who knows very little dutch, i always seem to find myself conversing with the stall holders about my love for vintage floral and bavarian pottery, requesting the biggest and best bunch of powder pink carnations and asking for several tastings of homemade dips.
when it comes to beautiful bakeries, my sweet treat radar is always on high alert. i can sniff out a slice of red velvet cake from several hundred metres away. i never say no to good fudge and i most definately appreciate a beautiful looking cake shop. it wasn't strange then that a few days after being here my radar sounded long and loud for urban bakery. hands down my idea of a perfect setting, urban is located in one of the historial arches of hofbogen and boasts a diverse range of seasonal fruit pies, cookies, cupcakes, tarts, fudge and cheesecakes. as soon as i stepped inside i was overwhelmed by the sweet scent of freshly baked cookies and american style fudge that called at me from the counter. as it's an open bakery workshop, you can choose from the incredible array of sweet delights whilst watching the small team baking away busily in the back of the shop - the perfect combination! open wednesday - sat (9.30-6) i'm currently wondering why i'm sitting here blogging and not filling my belly with their fine offerings. see you soon urban! (voorburgstraat 209
another cutie pie cafe that cannot be missed is 'zoet & zout'. i'm currently still working on my pronounication for the name but it's obvious that we all speak the universal language of enjoying good coffee and sweet treats whilst nestled in an eames chair only minutes from the city centre. after a busy morning of wandering the city market, the boy and i took refuge here with armfuls of pre-loved treasure, only to be delighted by the perfectly designed interior and a gooood cup of coffee. the counter tops were dressed in a myriad of freshly baked sponge cakes, macarons and cookies. we sat under a huge array of fresh flowers and flicked through cooking magazines whilst adoring the large wooden table and dreaming of filling our home with eames delights. local designer's postcards, tote bags and screenprints adorned the wall behind me and wooden crates clustered along the back wall held handpainted picnicware and organic condiments. with it's super lekker lunch offering of pannini, lasagne and quiches, i feel a lunch date fast approaching. (pannekoekstraat 93a. open 9-6 tues-sat and 12-5 on sunday)
a gallery that boasts the work of koons, rembrandt, kusama and dali will always have me clawing at it's door. i got my first glimpse inside when we had the ingenius idea of buying museum cards, and my heart has been yearning for more ever since. the awesome museumnacht, where rotterdam's galleries are open into the wee hours of the morning allowed me to catch a short but sweet insight into boijman's extensive collection. whether it's an eames or panton chair, a dutch masterpiece, a lobster phone or a giant metallic easter egg...boijman's has your art experience sorted. the iconic building designed by architect van der steur opened in 1935 and amazingly surivived the bombing in 1940. if you ever decide to stop by, you'll find me lovingly acosting the eames furniture on ground level. (museumpark 18-20. open tues - sun 11-5)