Oliver and I fly home to Sydney tomorrow. We are packed and ready to check out in the morning. Once we check out, we catch a metro train from our hotel to Rotterdam Central, then an express train to Amsterdam Schiphol airport, then a 3 hour or so wait for our first flight, then a 6.5 hour flight to Dubai, then a 2 hour lay over in Dubai, then a 14 hour flight to Sydney, then immigration, customs, a taxi and home to our beds!
We will spend the better part of 30 hours travelling door to door. I'm not looking forward to it because I caught a cold somewhere on our travels and feel pretty ordinary today. A man at the conference, who also has a cold, told me tonight that 25% of people develop a cold within a couple of days of flying!
Although Oliver and I have been busy at the conference — Oliver has made a lot of friends amongst the conference delegates — we squeezed in a few final fun things together.
Yesterday (Friday) afternoon, Oliver took a swim in the very fancy hotel pool. The pool deck has amazing views of the Rotterdam skyline.
On Friday Oliver also visited The New Institute (or Het Nieuwe Instituut in Dutch) with Nina, Doris and John. Oliver was keen to take me there this morning and navigated us back past Rotterdam landmarks without any trouble. Rotterdam has many wonderful museums and art galleries. Het Nieuwe Instituut “celebrates the innovative power of architecture, design and e-culture”. Right now it is staging an exhibition called “The Ruins”. Architecture seems to play a very important part in the history and life of the Netherlands. Rotterdam is considered the architectural capital of the Netherlands with a daring and impressive skyline. You can read more about Rotterdam architecture here.
It struck me as we walked to Het Nieuwe Instituut that old and new co-exist easily side by side in Rotterdam; a testament to the success of rebuilding following the devastation of World War II.
The displays at Het Nieuwe Instituut were fantastic and strange. They rather defy description. I think they aimed to express what architecture means to peope in the Netherlands, but i wasn't entirely sure (I guess like all great art?) Better to see (below) than to have me try to tell.
Whatever they meant, Oliver loved them, running from one display to the next, pointing things out. At the end he played for ages in a large building space. Here he used giant foam blocks to create his own architecture.
This afternoon Oliver and I sat in the hotel lobby and said goodbye to our conference friends. Some we will see at home, some we will be in touch with, some we won't see again until the next SARMAC conference (in Canada in 2015; Oliver is already planning to attend).
Tonight we had a final, quiet dinner with Rochelle — my wonderful, long term conference companion — and ran into still more conference friends starting to make their own way home.
Oliver is asleep now. And I will be soon. The last day and night of a wonderful trip together.
Thanks for reading about our adventures. We will see you soon in Sydney.
Amanda and Oliver