Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas Cruise
Columbia, Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba
March 10th – 17th, 2013
 


March 14th

Willemstad, Curacao

Up early and get ready for our Beauties of Curacao tour…we had not done this before. Boarded the coach and off on a scenic drive through the island to our first stop which was amazing. We stood on the actual sea bed that was once covered in water. Our guide told us that this was so 100 million years ago. Can’t confirm that is true but it was amazing to walk over this seabed that was very rough and would cut your feet if not careful. Everywhere were fossil imprints in the stone and in one part of the area it had collapsed so you could see holes and craters made by the water rushing in. It was a very rough coastline too with water splashing up against the rocks and spraying those too close to it. Huge waves coming in towards you were rather scary and noisy. Not much plant material around that I could find except these little pockets of what looked like a succulent of some type that turned red, from what? The salt? Boka Tabla National Park is a beautiful spot to visit here on the island and is also a protected park.

Then on to another area that was equally beautiful, Playa Enepa Grandi. The turquoise water was so inviting…a bit chilly, but it was so nice to walk on the sand and have the water lap are your feet. Not a large beach but there were quite a few out for a Thursday morning.

We also stopped at an art gallery on the way back, Nena Sanchez is quite a famous artist. She lives in the estate that was once owned by Jan Kock, a not very nice slave trader who was infamous for his cruelty. In fact this is the area where the uprising took place and where freedom from slavery all started. The photo of the hand holding a chain and clasp says it all…freedom. The slaves built houses using what they could find around them. The one remaining house that we saw had walls built with wood then covered with a mixture of beach sand and cow dung – the cow dung was very important as it acted like an insect repellant and to this day the one remaining house has never had any bug problems. The roofs were laid out in wood and then covered with calabash twigs and corn stalks woven together and set on the roof in five layers. There were no doors and the windows had no glass in them and usually the floors were dirt.

We also stopped for a short photo break at the Jan Kock salt flats – where the flamingoes now search for food – but this was where the slaves harvested the salt, mostly by hand with many going blind from the bright sun shining on the salt.

After our tour was done - it took about 4 hours - we headed back to the ship for lunch and a nap then headed back out again to explore. I love the city with its bright colours and tall skinny buildings so reminiscent of Holland. It has a great floating market selling vegetables and fruits from not only the nearby islands but from not so nearby countries and there is a building nearby that sells all manner of things that the locals buy. The Queen Emma bridge wasn’t working for us as it was open for a ship to come in – it opens about 25 times a day for ships to come and go and is the only wooden floating bridge of its kind in the world. We took the little ferry across and when coming back the bridge was working but while on it the bells went off to tell us to get off as it was going to open again. It opened for one of the police boats that looked to be heading out to sea to check the ships.

Curacao is the largest of the three Netherlands Antilles islands. Dutch heart – Caribbean Soul. It made its fortune firstly with salt and slave trade then when oil was discovered in 1920 it became a mecca for those wanting to make it big. Nowadays Willemstad, the capital, is known for oil, culture and of course its beautiful Dutch colonial architecture that one sees from the ship so vividly. A stroll around this World Heritage site is a must and be sure you bring home Dutch Gouda made in Holland and shipped here for sale. Also worth buying as a souvenir is a local spirit that is blue in colour – Blue Curacao, made with the rinds of the laraha citrus, a relative of the valencia orange. It was brought to the island by the Spanish but because of the dry climate turned the sweet fruits bitter. A factory tour is available to learn more about this true island favourite.

Back to our room to get ready for dinner – it was sushi at Izumi tonight and we were really looking forward to trying this new place out. It is on the 11th floor of the ship with a great view to the back of the ship as well as the solitude or quiet pool area. We started with edamame to munch on while we waited for miso soup for Tom and I had shrimp wonton soup. Then we shared a small plate of gyoza dumplings. Then he had rolls made with eel as he really enjoys them and I had a hot rock plate. The plate comes with a super super hot flat rock on it that you use to cook your own food. I had seafood (scallops, shrimp, salmon and tuna) and veggies and along with the three dips, it was a most enjoyable meal.

Tom loves his unagi and when he said that this was the best he had ever eaten, well you know he really enjoyed it. No desert…but we booked again for lunch on the 16th while at sea so we will see if we can get that far this time. Off to bed, as tomorrow we are in Aruba…
 


 

 

 
 

  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row