There's a famous Dutch saying: "Hoe dichter bij Dordt, hoe rotter 't wordt" (the closer you get to Dordrecht, the worse it gets)
To get to Dordrecht on the river Merwede, you can obviously take the crowded and slow-traffic plagued motorway, but a much better and enormously more fun manner is to drive to Rotterdam, park your car (which I do in the free parking outskirts and then take the tube in order to be able to eat for the rest of the month!), and hop on the ferry to Dordrecht right below the gorgeous bridge crossing the river Maas connecting the South to the North of Rotterdam.
See the ferry? It's called the Aqualiner and it will cost you approx. €9,00 and an hour to get to Dordrecht. No toilets or drinks on board; it's the equivalent of a town bus, but you are allowed to take your bike, moped, dog or skateboard and believe me, many people do.
It makes a few stops on the way, and at the first one in Krimpen a/d Lek we were met with this biblical view:
I wonder what Old Noah would have to say about this massive version of the ark. It actually sails as well. Crikey!
After an hour we were unloaded on the historical quay of Dordrecht, and the town has provided those handy signposts leading you to the town centre and even showing you a roundtrip walk taking in all the cobbled old streets and historical buildings.
Now, what about that rather nasty saying then?
We wondered if it was about the Dordrecht folk (who looked perfectly friendly to us), or about the water quality, or about politics.
After all, this is the town where the famous, but lynched by the mob, brothers/politicians De Witt came from.
I'm certain wonderful free Wikipedia won't mind me quoting it:
Johan de Witt or Jan de Witt, heer van Zuid- en Noord-Linschoten, Snelrewaard, Hekendorp and IJsselveere (24 September 1625 – 20 August 1672) was a key figure in Dutch politics in the mid-17th century, when its flourishing sea trade in a period of globalization made the United Provinces a leading European power during the Dutch Golden Age. De Witt controlled the Netherlands political system from around 1650 until shortly before his death in 1672 working with various factions from nearly all the major cities, especially his hometown, Dordrecht, and the city of birth of his wife, Amsterdam. As a republican he opposed the House of Orange and, along with his brother Cornelis de Witt, was murdered by Orangists.
"Was murdered by" is putting it mildly...They were butchered - alive, their organs removed whilst still breathing, it is said.
It is also documented they were brilliant politicians, and I've often wondered what would have happened with the decline of the Golden Age had they not been lynched...
But the saying turns out to be about..soil conditions. Dordrecht is built on peat. And we all know the only thing peat is good for...
Dordrecht nowadays is known for its antiques shops and Christmas Fair. It took us all day to cross its ancient cobbles, and we were not sorry.
When the ferry had taken us back to Rotterdam, we chose to have dinner in one of my favorite spots: the Fenix Loods.
I have told you about this old warehouse filled with independent biological restaurants on Katendrecht island before, but I'll take every opportunity to tell you again. If you visit Rotterdam, GO THERE!
You'll find it opposite Hotel New York on the Kop van Zuid, and you only have to cross the pedestrian bridge to get there.
Oh, alright, the view:
This is as "Rotterdam-Harbour" as it gets!
Okay: down to the technical stuff.
It took me 18.536 steps, but it took my friend with her longer legs more than 24.000, so whose iPhone was right, we wonder? Never mind, we had a great day, with hardly any rain and 5 degrees C.
Join me on my next hike?