On Wednesday we took advantage of a great train deal to travel 1st Class to Rotterdam. The route we chose was not non-stop, but luckily we could still follow directions and cross over to another perron/platform when we needed to change trains. Most of our 1 1/2 hour trip was in a private area, but the seats were no more comfortable than 2nd Class. But at least we can say we traveled in 1st Class.
With the exception of the 1st Class, I had the "been there, done that" feeling. While living in The Netherlands, I traveled by train a few times.
Then we arrived at the Central Station in Rotterdam. It was almost lunch time, and with our train ticket we had received a coupon for coffee/tea and a huge almond paste filled cookie. So we had our treat before we left the train platform. As we searched for the restroom, I felt like I was in an expensive shopping mall. And the travelers were better dressed than most folks we travel with by plane. Expensive clothes, shoes, super hairdos! Classy folks!
Then we left the station.
My husband spent at least the next 15 minutes convincing me we were in Rotterdam. Nothing looked familiar!!!! And I had lived in and later near Rotterdam from 1979 -1988! How many times had I walked or driven these streets???? Going back there and not recognizing anything was very emotional for me. It was almost like Rotterdam had died, and I was visiting the grave monument. Don't get me wrong, everything was beautiful and modern and HUGE! But not what I remembered!
Finally we turned a corner and things started to get somewhat familiar. Except now the pitiful looking shops I remembered were now shops for designer items. The little insignificant shopping street had become a top (expensive!!) shopping area. Finally, after making one more turn, my emotions calmed down.
This was the Lijnbaan. This was the shopping street where our son learned to eat American hamburgers and how to walk when the area was empty on Sunday afternoons. The shops and restaurants are now different, but the buildings along the Lijnbaan are the same.
And then we turned another corner, and I was lost again.
How can a city change so much in 25 years?