Yesterday, Thursday, Jan. 24th, we visited Willemstad, Curacao. Of the three ABC islands this is the largest and certainly the most colorful. The local tail about why Curacao has such colorful buildings is that a governor, Governor-General Albert Kikkert, in the 19th Century, had migraine headaches that he attributed to the harsh reflection of the sun on the white buildings of Willemstad. He, therefore, issued a decree to paint all structures any color but white. Curacao was discovered in 1499 by Alonso de Ojeda and claimed for Spain. It was first settled by the Spanish from the Valencia region who knew how to cultivate oranges. In Valencia the oranges were sweet, but the climate of Curacao did not favor the fruit and it grew bitter. By accident some of the bitter oranges were fermented and what resulted was a perfectly good liqueur that today is one of the leading industries of the island (and our Margarita would not be what it is without Curacao). Again, the Dutch took control of Curacao in the 1600rds.
Since the ship wasn’t due to depart until 11:30 PM, Susy and I went ashore for a wonderful afternoon. The first thing we did was hop on a local city tour and from here on I think the pictures will speak for themselves. Our port sign:
We start the tour:
A typical round-about with it’s local statue:
Here is a white building, but there are very few:
The island has a very good economic system, including housing for the poor:
The major industries of the island are: Oil and oil refineries, Liqueurs, Tourism, and any one can guess the fourth, Paint. We visited a liqueur factory. Here is a few photos:
Back on tour, a local Catholic Church:
Now I’m going to test you. Look at this photo of beautiful flowers and in the upper left hand side at the base of the tree, see if you can find the animal. Do you see it, it’s a huge Iguana. Iguana’s are eaten here, and the tour guide said they taste like chicken.
The island is covered with beautiful flowers:
Here’s a photo taken from one of the high points of the island across the bay:
Some store buildings, including a Casino:
And, of coarse, we can’t forget Susy:
Finally, Willemstad’s historic city center which, along with the surrounding neighborhoods, was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
That’s it for Curacao, one of most picturesque places we have ever visited. It’s on to the last of the ABC islands, Bonaire.
Love You All,
Gary (alias Gagu)