7 Countries in 30 days. Step 7: Rotterdam (Netherlands)

Come farsi amiche dell'età giusta
How to make friens of the right age

The morning is cloudy, as they have all been since I arrived in Be-ne-lux, but I hope for the sun. Today Rotterdam is waiting for me. It is Sunday, so when I arrive I start to search for a church. At the only one I find, mass has just finished. An old Peruvian lady says that what counts is the intention, then she brings me to meet three other nice old ladies. All together, they encourage me to make a tour of the center with them, ending with the Protestant cathedral. One of the four elderly women takes possession of my camera and orders to the others to stay near to me, to immortalize the epic meeting. They say goodbye, telling me I am a handsome boy and they wish me luck in meeting a lot of girls in the city.

Ospitato in Olanda da una turca e un'indonesiana!
Hosted in Holland by a Turkish and an Indonesian
Balli latini in piazza a Rotterdam
Latin dances in a square of Rotterdam

I arrive at the house of Ferah and Francisca, the girls (Turkish and Indonesian) who will host me tonight thanks to Couchsurfing. We spend the afternoon around Rotterdam by bike, stopping in a square of the city center. A free workshop of  kizomba, a kind of latin dance, is starting. Francisca takes me as a partner, and we laugh about for how uncoordinated I am.

Some friends of Ferah arrive in the square. Some young people from the city, one of which hosts two Chinese girls, a Spanish girls who works here and knows everyone, and one girl from Singapore who I don’t understand why she is there. The multiethnic group finds a supermarket: we buy something and we leave go to have a picnic dinner in a park. The sun is still hot in the evening, during these last days of July. While we eat, we discuss in a hundred different languages: with the Spanish Raquel I feel immediately good, I’m passionate about the stories of the Netherlander Tristan, a black boy, who suddenly appears, sits with us but doesn’t speak.

A German and a Portuguese girl arrive with a hung-over Dutch guy, who tells about the previous crazy night, that he totally forgot. But he’s full of visible traces of it: arms and legs are full of bruises, scratches and cuts. But he is cheerful, maybe because he still has the effects of alcohol and herbs of last night. After the fun of the afternoon dancing, a multicultural evening like this contributes to make me appreciate this city.

La Slovenia è piccola ma esiste! E la incontri in Olanda!
Slovenia is little, but it exists! And you meet it in Holland!

I go back home with Ferah: two Slovenian girls are waiting for us. They too will be hosted as I am, tonight. They are students, cameing to Holland for a pharmaceutical convention in Utrecht. We spend a couple of hours socializing and sharing the blueberry liquor that they brought. It takes little time, in this multicultural house, to get passionate for the stories of others. Couchsurfing is a wonderful invention!

Andrea Cuminatto

 READ HERE THE STEP N°1: Munich (Germany)

READ HERE THE STEP N°2: Bayreuth (Germany)

READ HERE THE STEP N°3: Bruxelles (Belgium)

READ HERE THE STEP N°4: Bruges (Belgium)

READ HERE THE STEP N°5: Antwerp (Belgium)

READ HERE THE STEP N°6: Delft (Netherlands)

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