As I wrote earlier, my parents and I spent New Year's 2009 in Florida. After a few days in Florida, we set off on a Caribbean cruise on the Queen Mary 2. We visited 6 islands over a 10 day cruise.
We spent our first two days at sea and made our way down to the island of Curaçao in the southern Caribbean, just off the coast of Venezuela. Curaçao is part of the Netherlands Antilles, so I guess I've been to the Netherlands now.
Waterfront cafes, Willemstad, Curaçao
For me, the defining characteristic of Curaçao, or at least its capital Willemstad, were the brightly coloured buildings throughout the old town and along the bay.
Colourful house, Willemstad, Curaçao
More brightly coloured than any of the other islands we visited, Curaçao must be one of the main reasons people associate brightly coloured buildings with the Caribbean (and must in part have been the inspiration for Disney's Caribbean Resort in Walt Disney World, where we've stayed before).
In order to get the lay of the land when we first docked in Curaçao, I went out for a run around town. After two days on ship (two wonderful days, I might add), it was nice to get out and stretch my legs. It was a great way to see the town and figure out where everything was.
On a moving pedestrian bridge, Curaçao
There's a floating pedestrian pontoon bridge across the bay in Willemstad for pedestrians to get from one side to the other. But boats need to traverse the bay as well, so every hour or so the bridge swivels aside to let ships pass. The picture at left shows the bridge starting to open.
Pedestrian bridge in Curaçao
In the picture at right, you can see the bridge across the bay with lots of pedestrians on it.
Willemstad was the nicest of the cities we visited in the Caribbean—it had a very European flavour to it, and we enjoyed having lunch in a café along the bay.
Colourful shop, Willemstad, Curaçao
I didn't get out of the city of Willemstad though, as I didn't choose any excursions in Curaçao. To get out of town, you'll have to wait till my next trip report, which will be coming from the island of Grenada.