HSL Expo with Angelo - Summer 2004
We had discovered this place during a random bike tour with my son. I found it too risky to explore with a teenager, so I came back a few days later.

This report is the first in a series of five expeditions to the HSL. You can find them here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

Late in the evening we were back with Angelo. We passed under the highway and enterd the huge - but flat - building site.
These monoliths were the most conspicuous pieces of architecture. They looked inaccessible. We didn't know what they were, but we would find out soon.
We passed some concrete building blocks - a heavy sort of Lego - and things started to look promising. We walked towards the viaduct in the distance.
And when we climbed on it we had a great view of the whole site. The viaduct seemed to go on forever, so we followed it. Soon we entered a part of the site where things looked more finished.
All the time I had this "swimming pool" feeling. The architecture caused it - if you would fill it up with water it would make a nice pool, with stairs to get out of the water.
We climbed down the viaduct and discovered the tunnel. Which way to go? We decided to explore the topside first - while it was still light. The tunnels could wait - they would be dark anyway.
Going up - towards the second viaduct.
The active rail. Emergency exit.
The side of the viaduct was made of hollow steel pipes. Halfway was the biggest gap. It was still too narrow for me - but Anglo performed a contortion act and was able to climb inside. The hollow space went on forever.
Now we were at the end of the building site. We had a nice view of Rotterdam and through my binoculars we could see people at the train station Lombardijen.
Markings of the exact center of the viaduct. Probably this will determine where the rails will go.
Now we followed the tunnel in de "down" direction. Soon we came upon a set of unlocked doors.
Inside we saw some electrical installation and stairs going up two floors. They ended at a another unlocked door. When we looked out we saw the flat building site again - we were in one of the monoliths!
The tunnel became very dark - it felt as if we were back inside the metro of Charleroi. The tunnel had a few interesting shapes and many ventilation shafts.
A bit further on we discovered a fork in the tunnel. It was "Y" shaped. We had entered through one of the arms of the "Y". Now we made a 180 degree turn and walked up the other arm of the "Y".
Now we were below the active rail line. Each time a train passed I would jump - it sounded as it the trains were coming at you directly. And Angelo discovered a very useless gate.
In fact - trains from the station were really coming directly at us. But fortunately they made a turn and didn't go into out tunnel. But it sure was frightening.
We turned and walk towards the exit of the tunnel. Now we were in the foot of the "Y". We entered the last monolith and found a hatch leading to a ladder. Unfotunately it was only a cellar filled with ground water. It didn't go anywhere.
We passed under the highway again, this time one floor lower. You can see this ventilation shaft in the second picture of this story. We had come full circle now.
Angelo tried to use a thick steel plate as a springboard, but it wasn't as spectacular as expected.
So to compensate he climbed out the hard way - using crack climbing techniques and wedging his sneakers inside a rectangular depression in the concrete.
We made grateful use of the site's facilities and decided that the expo was a huge success. It was getting dark and above us unsuspecting couples were driving to parties. When we arrived at the parking lot some mysterious transport was leaving. I think they were homing pigeons.
Urban Adventure Home Petr Kazil

May 2005