Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Disney Fantasy - Day 5

July 2, 2017

Today is my son's birthday but it will have to wait until we get back to Florida for me to wish him Happy Birthday. Today we put into port in Willemstad, Curaçao. Once again, this is the first time the Fantasy has docked on this island.

From my verandah I watch us pull up to the dock, and then once we are cleared, the first passengers get off the ship.

Unlike yesterday's excursion in Aruba, today we don't have to meet (in D Lounge) until almost noon. Much better. Also unlike yesterday, all 5 of us will be going on this excursion.

At the appointed time we check in and then head off the ship to meet our bus. It's Flag Day here in Curaçao and flags are seen everywhere. In fact, a big celebration will be held right on the route we have to take to get out of the port area - but that will be later in the day so we are okay to get out towards our first destination.

As we head towards the Curaçao Museum, we see houses and shops along the water which are reminiscent of those in The Netherlands, which makes sense as Curaçao is indeed another Dutch island.

As we pass through the city of Willemstad we are heading towards the Curaçao Museum which, is both a look at Curaçao's military hospital during WWI and a small art museum featuring Dutch artists. We arrive and get off the nice air conditioned bus into what turns out to be a hot and humid day. The museum itself is not air conditioned, so while the museum is interesting, it becomes quite uncomfortable.

This was used as a military hospital during WWI and we see some of the beds set up which the recovering soldiers would have used.

The kitchen, it is explained to us, is red with large white polka dots, as it is said that the spots will so confuse the compound eyes of the flies that they will not stay in the kitchen as leave quickly.

On the art gallery side, I found this piece interesting ...

Tour over, most people couldn't wait to get outside (which was better if you were in the shade) or back on the bus with it's (rather inadequate, but still better than outside) air conditioning. Brooke was no exception.

On our way we had this view of our ship.

Our next stop was the Senior Company distillery, the only company in the world that is allowed to call their Blue Curaçao (or other varieties) "Genuine". When they won recognition for their product, other companies around the world started copying it. They sued but lost. They do have the right to call their product "Genuine" on the label and were successful in protecting the shape of their bottle. They don't distill a great deal of product, and the US is not on the list of countries they export to.

I was pleased to find out that the Senior family is a Jewish family and that the product is certified kosher. I was also interested to fin out that there was a significant Jewish community on Curaçao.

They provided taste samples of three different varieties, Orange, Chocolate and Tamarind. I bought a bottle of each to bring home with me.

Speaking of the Jewish community, as we left the factory, we passed a Jewish cemetery. Unlike the island's tradition of burying above ground, according to Jewish law, we bury our deceased below ground, hence the very different look of this cemetery.

Our next - and final - actual stop on this tour is Hato Caves.

This was the one part of the excursion that gave me some trepidation. We were informed ahead of time that there would be 50 steps that we would have to climb to get into the caves - since they are above ground and not the traditional underground type. (Another surprise ... since they were not underground where such caves are usually a standard 56°, these were even more hot and humid than it was outside!)

Well, I didn't come all this way NOT to go in, so I bit the bullet (as it were) and forced myself - bad foot and all - up the steps. (I only counted 48 both going and and when I came down, BTW.) Pleased with myself, I soon discovered that there would be steep ramps and more up and down steps once inside. However, with more fortitude than good sense, I managed (barely) to make it there and back!

After a stop at the Cave's bar/snack shop to get a Gatorade (or two or three!) we head back to the bus. We pass through gated communities that Shell Oil had built when the built an oil refinery on the island. (It's only about 20 miles off the coast of Venezuela.) The refinery is still in operation, but now belongs to Curaçao and is leased to another company. Unlike what we see on most Caribbean islands, these were built for oil company executives and now are owned by relatively well to do families.

We also pass a lake where many flamingoes have been born and call home.

Then it is back to the pier to re-board the ship.

Tonight, Iris is going to allow herself to have a relaxing dinner, and Brooke will have her dinner and spend some time in the nursery.

Tonight we are back in Animator's Palette for the third time this cruise, but this night we have one of the two shows that happen in the restaurant. If you are familiar with Turtle Talk in The Seas with Nemo and Friends at EPCOT, the evening is pretty much like that, with many of Crush's friends joining in.

The sky at sunset that night was quite spectacular. This was the view from my verandah.

Brooke enjoys being out on the (connected) verandah, but the look of heat and exhaustion on her face holds true for all of us!

Tomorrow will be a day at sea as we steam towards Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. A chance to relax and recharge!

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