Doors of Otrobanda

Although it only contains a few blocks, Otrobanda, one of the historically significant quarters of Willemstad, Curacao is packed with a crazy variety of doors.

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From grand entrances…..

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…. to more modest portals.

 

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Some had very interesting architectural features……. (love those posts!)…

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and some funky business doorways.

IMG_5098From tiny abodes…….

IMG_5111to ornate estates.  Here is the Colombian Consulate.

It was so much fun to wander around this district. It was very, very hot and that might explain why it was so quiet.  But with so many interesting buildings, we were pulled along to discover what was around the next corner.

These Caribbean doors are linked to Norm’s Thursday Doors.

An Admirable Restoration Project

Okay.  So I admit we didn’t do all the research we probably should have done before heading off on a short holiday in Curacao a couple of weeks ago.  And, yes, we regret that lack of research. No doubt, we’d have seen some things, or taken in some events that would have even further enhanced our visit.

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Instead we just arrived on the island and followed our noses as tourists.  And that has some value, too.    One unexpected, unresearched surprise happened while we were wondering around the Otrobanda quarter of Willemsted.  We turned a corner and discovered the Kura Hulanda Museum complex.

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This complex is an exquisitely resorted group of 15 buildings and their accompanying streets, alleys and public squares.  It now houses a “village spa and hotel” (complete with the casino which almost seems to be a required feature in the major hotels of Curacao), coffee shops, restaurants, and a significant museum.

IMG_5131The credit for this interesting development goes Dutch businessman, Jacob Gelt Dekker.  If I have the story right, he acquired an abandoned, old building and set to renovating/restoring it.  In the process, he discovered it’s connection to the early Caribbean slave trade. It was the site of a former slave yard and merchant’s home. He was so moved, that he changed his plans and made turned the building into a museum: which now houses the largest African collection in the Caribbean. Unfortunately for us, the museum had closed just 5 minutes (!!!) before we discovered it. This is where a little prior research would have served us well.

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After just 10 months of construction, the museum opened in April 1999. He then worked to acquire the surrounding buildings to create the complex which now span more than 16,000 square feet of neighbourhood. The name Kura Hulanda translates from Papiamentu (the local dialect) to mean Dutch Courtyard.

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It was absolutely delightful to walk through the lanes and discover museum displays, murals and admire the beautiful architecture and imagine life in this area back during the colonial days of Curacao.  That said, I daresay what we experienced was a cleaner, even brighter version of the original.

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The mission of the Museum Kura Hulanda is to acquire and exhibit collections related to the cultural identity of the people of Curacao, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Rim. I was impressed by this excellent example of urban restoration which perfectly marries form with function. What a way to preserve built heritage! Admirable!!

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WPC – Admiration

 

A Door in Pietermaai

  Cross this threshold to enter a law office.  It’s one of many popping up in the Pietermaai District of Willemstad, Curaçao.  

  

This neighbourhood is in transition. Beautifully restored buildings, like this one, stand side by side with badly neglected derilict structures.  

Small shops, bars, restaurants & boutique hotels have found their home in Pietermaai.  And, so have loads and loads of law offices and financial institutions. 
This one caught my eye.  

It always makes me happy to see grand, old, beautiful buildings restored. Stay tuned for more postings on our visit to Curaçao. 

In the meantime, if you like doors, check out Norm’s Thursday Doors.

Dinnertime in Blue Bay, Curaçao


It’s one of those bucket list things. Dinner on a beach. I’m not talking fish n chips, here (although that can be pretty perfect, too) I’m talking dressing up, fine dining, cocktails, and all with toes in the sand.  So when we discovered that our holiday rental had access to this pretty beach – a beach with three (3!!) restaurants … We couldn’t resist.  We treated ourselves tonight.


It was just an added bonus to practically have the place to ourselves.  This must be a shoulder season, or something.


I opted for fish – red snapper and lobster risotto.  How’s this for presentation?

Looks great, but to be honest it wasn’t the best meal I’ve ever had. Or, for that matter, the best meal I’ve had in this island.  It was fine – I’m not complaining.  But the blackened goat with rice and beans from a food truck was amazing.  (Sadly, no picture … Too busy eating).


I guess my tastes lean to simpler things.  Like last nights supper. Cheese, bread and avacado with a cold beer.  THAT hit the spot after a very hot day spent exploring.

When it comes to venues, however,  tonight’s dinner on the beach is difficult to top.

WPC – Dinnertime