11 Dec 2010
Up early this morning to watch the ship arrive at the very picturesque Willemstad; also know as Amsterdam in the West Indies. The Dutch influence is so strong, it is like being in Amsterdam in a heatwave.
On arrival the Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge (on 15 pontoons shaped like little boats that swings open about 30 times a day to let boats and ships through) had to be opened as we headed up the channel (called St Anna Bay), under Queen Juliana Bridge, into Schottegat harbour where the ship did a three point turn and back into the channel, under the bridge again to berth in the town centre. Truly wonderful to see.
There are two ferries that go back and forth free of charge whenever the bridge opens up. It's quite amazing to sit and watch this going on constantly throughout the day.
It was the Willemstad Trolley Tram tour this morning around Willemstad. It was a simple little tour that provided a real feel for this very colourful town with its many Dutch colonial houses.
Curaçao is quite unlike any other Caribbean nation we have been to so far, very neat and ordered with real footpaths. At some time, the governor of Curaçao, who suffered from migraines, ordered that all the buildings be painted pastel colours rather than white, because the glare drove him mad. Consequently, it is like a picture postcard, with a myriad of gorgeous colours on Dutch style buildings (apparently, he also owned the paint supply business!).
We sailed late at 9:45pm just as the lively city, with all its music and lights, provided a spectacular fireworks display. I was standing above the bridge to watch our departure when the fireworks started a few hundred metres just off to our right. A wonderful farewell to a lovely port.
A clean, neat, friendly, colourful town and a great place to visit; well worth a return.