The Punda and Otrobanda - Willemstad Curacao

Trip Start Jan 27, 2011
Trip End Feb 17, 2011

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

I woke up a few times but it was too early to get up and then all of a sudden it was 8 am.  I had wanted to be up and at the electrical outlets  before 8, now I was late.  I tried to rush and got downstairs for breakfast and computer time.  I put in an hour at the electrical socket.  Then I got ready to leave for the car rental office.  I called David for directions...this must have taken at least 20 minutes and I was convinced I would get lost, but amazingly I got there with only directions for lights and turns plus a few streets, no mileages.  But I made it.  It was quick.  They took my receipt from CRS and said if it were my fault, I would forfeit my deposit.  Not good, but could be worse.

I asked David for help getting to Punda...the old downtown area of Willemstad.  He said it is very easy...he got me to the office...forget my map, just turn left and keep going, then look for signs for Punda or Otrobanda.  It worked up until the end....I turned for Punda too quickly and ended up at Fort Nassau after many u-turns and even several 4-point turns.  Fort Nassau had a great view of the new bridge and the commercial harbor.  The fort itself has been taken over by a restaurant.  This seems to be a recurring theme...but not a bad one necessarily because these old buildings are being preserved and used.  The restaurant wasn't opened so I walked around, took a few pics and left to try to get to the Punda.

I made it to familiar territory from yesterday and continued on the road that I followed Olin - the guy whose rental car I nicked.  I parked on the street and gathered up my belongings.  It took awhile and then I got out of the car.  A lady had waited for me to get out to tell me that I couldn't park there because it was a driveway and told me where I could park!.  The people here in Curacao are extremely nice!  Imagine this??!!

Not knowing exactly where I was by the map, I misinterpreted my whereabouts but kept walking in the direction of where I assumed the water was and then I arrived at the Queen Emma pontoon bridge.  This is a highlight of Frommers but I didn't get to see boats pass through.  That is a bit disappointing but I did get to see lots of old buildings or what appear to be old buildings.   They aren't as old here as they might be in the Netherlands.  I crossed over to Otrobanda and wandered around a bit.  This area is all pretty touristy and there were two large cruise ships docked at various places.  There were several hotel/shopping complexes that I happened to wander through as well as another fort turned into shopping mall.  I had a mango smoothie to tide me over and started looking for the Kura Hulanda Museum.  It is an art collection from Africa, the Middle East with a concentration on slavery in the New World, especially the Dutch colonies.  It was nicely done, spread out over several buildings and an old Dutch mansion.  Then it turned into an outdoor restaurant and a hotel or condo complex I think - at least living spaces of some sort - very nice living spaces with sculpture in garden areas.

After the museum, I started heading back since it was around 3 pm and I didn't know how long it would take me to find where I parked the car.  I found the floating market and bought a painting of an African market scene for half the price asked  on the other side of the bridge.  I stopped at a cafe/bar to watch the pontoon bridge and had a Caribbean Sunset cocktail - it was green with a maraschino cherry in it....kinda Christmasy.  Then I reversed my morning walk and found the car fairly easily. 

Somehow I managed to get out of Punda and over the big bridge headed for Landhuis Daniel fairly easily.  Then I made an error by not going west when I should have so I detoured by the airport.  It was harder to find Landhuis this time because I wasn't sure which turnoff came just before the driveway, so I accumulated a line of cars behind me.  Lucky for them, I turned prematurely so I let them go by.

Once home, I threw some things together and ran downstairs to get my outlet, but alas someone had snagged the table.  Nice Olga let me use the bar outlet.  The Chef asked me if I wanted boiled potatoes today and promised me another delicious dinner.  At 6:30 I left my outlet for a table....all the tables are outside under a roof.  It is very lovely with orchids on the enclosing walls and birds flying around and of course, the little kitty.  I got my dinner .... another feast.  The veggies and potatos were perfect.  I tried to tell what the fish was but would have guessed scrod, something like that with what looked like pesto but didn't taste like it.  When I asked the chef, he said it was basil pesto and the fish was cod.  Cod is generally not my favorite but this chef is a magician...everything was wonderful!



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Dee on

I really love it!!

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