* I’ve been away in Rotterdam for my first assignment of the year. I’ll be posting some personal asides from the commissions during these trips. This is the first.
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I met an old friend again last week.
It’s been a few years since I was last in Rotterdam but they hadn’t aged a day.
Dudok, my favourite Rotterdam café, is buzzing with the gentle hum of chatter and the delicate clink of coffee cups – even at 4pm on a wintery Monday.
Located in the central-north Laurenskwartier, Dudok is named after the architect Willem Dudok, who designed the imposing building with its Art Deco-style facade [pictured above].
Inside, three giant photos of local businesses and a cast-iron, retro clock above the door dominate the high-ceilinged room.
I pull up a chair at the central reading table and peruse the rack of magazines, choosing between an Arcade Fire interview in Oor magazine and Trent Reznor on Johnny Cash in the latest copy of Electronic Beats.
Across the way, a group of ladies at leisure are tucking into the high tea of sandwiches and patisserie.
Nearer me, several bearded, intellectual types are stroking their chins while pouring over the politics sections of the daily newspapers.
At the other end of the reading table, a multiple-pierced student looks to be finishing her college assignment while riding the free Wi-Fi.
As dark clouds gather outside over the tram-lined boulevards, I happily work my way along the shelf of Euro pop-culture magazines over cups of milky coffee.
But, also, I love the traditional Dutch apple pie, served warm with cinnamon ice cream. The mix of crumbly pastry and soft filling, tinged with cinnamon and spiced with plump raisons, is as classy as I remember it.
The food even comes with a little edible label: “Dudok original.”
For a traveller alone in the city, Dudok feels like home.
Do you have a favourite bolt hole in Rotterdam? Or can you recommend another place-visit place in Holland? Post below.