Willemstad, Curaçao

The Multicultural Heart of Curaçao

Handelskade and Queen Emma Bridge
The handelskade waterfront beyond the Queen Emma mobile bridge.
Dr. Efrain Jonckeer statue
Statue of Efrain Jonckeer in Otrobanda overlooks the Punda district.
Otrobanda Mansion
Majestic building converted into a hotel, in the vicinity of the Kurá Hulanda museum.
Queen Emma Bridge
Pedestrians await the complete connection of the Queen Emma mobile bridge.
Eccentric Architecture
Disparate and eccentric buildings in Punda.
Handelskade I
Handelskade's "Dutch" architectural lines.
Museum Kurá Hulanda
Facade of the Kurá Hulanda slavery museum, located in Otrobanda.
Sunset over the Queen Emma Bridge
Pedestrians on the Queen Emma Bridge, with the sun setting west of Curaçao.
Government's palace
The Government Palace protected by the old city walls.
Otrobanda Street
Less imposing "Dutch" architecture on an Otrobanda road.
Queen statue
Monument to Queen Emma in the Pietermaai area.
Rua Arte
Mural with relief in a corner of Punda.
Penha Building
The headquarters of Penha, a perfume and related company that has operated since 1708.
Synagogue atrium
Visitor in a courtyard surrounded by tombstones of the Curaçao synagogue
The Curaçao Synagogue
Visitor photographs the interior of the Curaçao synagogue, the oldest in the Americas.
Roofs and Facades
Architectural Ensemble of Pietermaai.
Market Wall
Quote and figure of an illustrious Curaçao character.
roots in africa
Sculpture of Africa inside the museum Kurá Hulanda.
Slavery and Torture
Guia displays an instrument used in the slavery era of Curaçao.
Punda wall
One of the many street artworks that grace Punda and other Willemstad neighborhoods
A Dutch colony in the Caribbean became a major slave hub. It welcomed Sephardic Jews who had taken refuge from the Iberia Inquisition in Amsterdam and Recife. And it assimilated influences from the Portuguese and Spanish villages with which it traded. At the heart of this secular cultural fusion has always been its old capital: Willemstad.

The feeling of intimacy with the new scale of the Caribbean tour that we had inaugurated almost four months earlier was proved almost immediately.

We had landed, half an hour ago, from Port of Spain, Trinidad. On the way between the airport and the center of Willemstad, we get into a Hiace-style van, one of those very popular and economical, which welcomes passengers on the way.

Sitting in front seats, we listened to the dialogues between everyday passengers and the driver, who knew them from a cherry tree. From casual conversation, the interaction evolved into chatter. Without expecting it, the more we listened to them, the more we seemed to identify sounds and words.

We avoid being hasty. However, among so many other expressions and terms of the local Creole, “okay” and “uncle” continued to be repeated, these, much more than some others.

When we arrived at the final destination of Otrobanda, we were convinced to double the influence of Portuguese in Papiamento, the official dialect of Curaçao and Aruba, also spoken in Bonaire, island B” of the famous ABC trio of the Dutch Caribbean.

Otroband. on the way to Punda

We got off at the last stop of OtroBanda. We had booked accommodation in one of Punda's streets, but with the map studied, we knew that the distance between them was short.

We're on our way. Shortly thereafter, we came across the Sint Annabaai channel that separated us from Punda.

To the southeast, as around, the sky remained clear and blue, in keeping with the dry and windy atmosphere that was felt. Only speeding caravans of small white clouds roamed it.

This deep firmament reinforced the architectural elegance and, at that distance, mostly chromatic, from the Handelskade, the waterfront enclosed by a line of exuberant historic buildings.

Willemstad, Curacao, Punda, Handelskade

We entered the Rainha Emma mobile bridge, which, in the following days, we would cross over and over again. We felt, for the first time, its strange wiggle.

The bridge leaves us facing what seemed to us the most intricate of the buildings in the complex.

Penha is the headquarters of one of the Caribbean's pioneering beauty products merchants, with open doors since 1708.

Willemstad, Curacao, Punda, Penha

It appears at the entrance to the kind of historic shopping center located along the Breedestraat, the route we continue our walk.

We enter the rooms at about four in the afternoon. With “office-type” work to be completed and the days in Curaçao still open, we didn't go out.

The next day dawns the same. We made the most of it, with long, strenuous walks through practically all the streets and alleys, to start with, the ones in the Punda around.

Willemstad, Curacao, Punda Wall

Holland's Leading Slave Depot in the Atlantic

Time and history dictated that Willemstad unfolded into well-marked areas. This diversity of yours only interests him.

Punda was the first zone to appear, from 1634, the year in which the Dutch conquered Curaçao from the Spanish. Its name derived from Dutch of punt, the Tip.

Jealous that Spain – or any other colonial rival – might aspire to the island, the new owners rushed to erect walls.

Willemstad, Curaçao, Punda, Government House

Three decades later, until the Dutch abolition of slavery, Willemstad remained the main hub for the trade of slaves in the Netherlands, captured or acquired on the west coast of Africa, sold to the remaining colonial territories of the Caribbean and the Americas, not just the Dutchmen.

Willemstad, Curaçao, Otrobanda, Kurá HulandaThis trade has increased Punda's population at a great rate. The colony's potential attracted new traders.

XNUMXth century: the arrival of Sephardic Jews still on the run from the Inquisition

At the end of the 1497th century, King Manuel decreed the expulsion of all Jews who did not convert to Catholicism. In XNUMX, about twenty thousand Jews gathered in the port of Lisbon, determined to leave.

Many headed to northern Europe, especially Germany and the Netherlands. A part of the Netherlands, a part, crossed the Atlantic and settled in Nova Holanda, the territory of the north of Brazil occupied and explored by the Dutch West India Company.

In the complex context of dispute in the north of the Brazil between Portugal, Holland and Spain, Portugal prevailed. As a result, the Portuguese Court of the Holy Office dedicated itself to identifying and punishing the Jews who had fled from its action in Europe.

Willemstad, Curaçao, Punda, Tombstones of the Synagogue

Thousands of Sephardic newly arrived in Nova Holanda again fled. Many headed for New Amsterdam (later New York). Others dispersed to Caribbean and West Indian colonies. Starting with Curaçao.

The Portuguese and Portuguese-Creole component of the Papiamento dialect comes from the language introduced by the Sephardic Jews, from the dialects spoken by slaves arriving from Portuguese territories, from the present-day Guinea-Bissau of Cape Verde and even São Tomé and Principe.

Jews settled and their prolific businesses in Punda.

Expansion out of the Walled Domain of Punda

With them, the number of homes and commercial buildings increased enormously.

In such a way that the authorities were forced to approve the expansion of the colony outside the walls, at a distance of about 500 meters that would allow the cannons of Fort Amsterdam to target ships offshore, with no buildings in between.

This new settlement, Pietermaai, extended to the south-east of Punda and the Waaigat inlet that delimits it to the north.

Willemstad, Curaçao, Roofs and facadesDay after day, we wander through both.

We confirm in Punda, the most urban profile of Willemstad, full of four and five-story buildings of corsage, culminating in attic waters with a jagged facade, in an obvious transposition of the architecture of Amsterdam and from other parts of the Dutch metropolis.

And, emerging from the complex, the synagogue of Curaçao, built by Sephardic Jews who arrived from Holland and Brazil, is today the oldest synagogue in the Americas, with a sand floor, as has become customary in the Caribbean.

Willemstad, Curaçao, Punda, Synagogue of Curaçao

There we sat and followed the dissertation of an American rabbi who unwound it tim-tim by tim-tim with each new group of visitors.

The Secular Villas of Pietermaai and the “Dutch” Buildings of Punda

In Pietermaai, aging houses predominate, ladies of a dazzling colonial decadence. Some have been transformed into bars and restaurants that combine old but elegant furniture with murals, paintings and other creative decorations.

Willemstad is, throughout, a dazzling street art gallery filled with three-dimensional murals that take advantage of the shapes of water meters and other inspiring creative features.

Willemstad, Curaçao, Punda, street art

Due to hyperinflated prices, its marginal is reserved for cruise passengers.

Further in, the inevitable multinational franchises are also present. Despite the successive tides of disembarked tourists, Willemstad preserves some old and genuine nooks and crannies.

The tavern that advertises snacks from krioyo kuminda that we identified without much effort: the pasty, Serbes i refreshment, pan ku krokèt, ku frikandel ou ku hotdog.

Elsewhere, the eccentric traditional iguana soup is also served at Plasa Bieu!, the gastronomic extension of the Old Market.

Willemstad, Curaçao, Punda, Market Wall

The Influx of Venezuelan Migrants and their Culture

A few years ago, this market had a floating fruit and vegetable wing over the waters of Waigaat that depended on the arrival of products and vendors from neighboring Venezuela.

It ceased to function when President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closing of the borders with the ABC islands. Condemned by the poverty that is spreading in their nation, Venezuelans continue to arrive, many of them (almost all) by illegal means.

They settle in and enrich Curaçao's centuries-old ethnic and cultural melting pot.

Willemstad, Curaçao, Punda, Sunset behind Queen Emma Bridge

At dusk, sitting on one of Handelskade's terraces, we heard some of them chattering in the soft Castilian of the southern Caribbean.

And, shortly thereafter, captivate customers with generous singing of rumba, reggaeton and other Latin American hits.

At that time, due to some navigational need, the port authorities kept the mobile bridge retracted. To replace it, they made available a small ferry with a high deck.

Pleased with the variant, we complete the journey on top of it.

One and another time. To and fro, until we get fed up.

Crossing to the Discovery of Otrobanda and Scharloo

Finally, we will disembark to discover Otrobanda, the neighborhood opposite Punda, its rival almost mirrored, although without the same architectural fascination on the other side of Sint Anna Bay, referred to as the “Hispanic side”, due to the profile of its inhabitants .

There we visited the Kurá Hulanda anthropological museum, which exhibits and explains the history of the slave trade in the Atlantic. Yflen Florentina, herself, a descendant of slaves living in Curaçao, guides us.

Willemstad, Curaçao, Otrobanda, Kurá HulandaWe ascend to higher levels of Otrobanda, among airy houses, here and there, chatting with its residents, at times, with strenuous attempts to employ one or another expression of Papiamento.

Until it gets dark. We descend back to Sint Anna Bay. From its edge, we admire the artificial lighting of Handelskade's front rising out of the twilight.

Willemstad, Curaçao, Punda, Queen Emma Mobile Bridge

We went back to the bridge, which is operational again. We return to the banks of Waigaat.

We venture into Scharloo, the fourth district of Willemstad, in its genesis, an abandoned plantation where, later, wealthy Jewish merchants raised their villas.

It evolved, thus, to become the city's graffiti sector, until, around 1960, it entered another one of the delicious declines of the island.

There we sat on a popular terrace. There we enjoy cold Brion beers. We had the time on our own. Willemstad and Curaçao deserved so much more.

Willemstad, Curaçao, Punda, Handelskade at dusk

Maho Beach, Sint Maarten

The Jet-powered Caribbean Beach

At first glance, Princess Juliana International Airport appears to be just another one in the vast Caribbean. Successive landings skimming Maho beach that precedes its runway, jet take-offs that distort the faces of bathers and project them into the sea, make it a special case.
Saba, The Netherlands

The Mysterious Dutch Queen of Saba

With a mere 13km2, Saba goes unnoticed even by the most traveled. Little by little, above and below its countless slopes, we unveil this luxuriant Little Antille, tropical border, mountainous and volcanic roof of the shallowest european nation.
Soufriere, Saint Lucia

The Great Pyramids of the Antilles

Perched above a lush coastline, the twin peaks Pitons are the hallmark of Saint Lucia. They have become so iconic that they have a place in the highest notes of East Caribbean Dollars. Right next door, residents of the former capital Soufrière know how precious their sight is.
Pueblos del Sur, Venezuela

Behind the Venezuela Andes. Fiesta Time.

In 1619, the authorities of Mérida dictated the settlement of the surrounding territory. The order resulted in 19 remote villages that we found dedicated to commemorations with caretos and local pauliteiros.
Mérida, Venezuela

Merida to Los Nevados: in the Andean Ends of Venezuela

In the 40s and 50s, Venezuela attracted 400 Portuguese but only half stayed in Caracas. In Mérida, we find places more similar to the origins and the eccentric ice cream parlor of an immigrant portista.
Margarita Island ao Mochima NP, Venezuela

Margarita Island to Mochima National Park: a very Caribbean Caribe

The exploration of the Venezuelan coast justifies a wild nautical party. But, these stops also reveal life in cactus forests and waters as green as the tropical jungle of Mochima.
Henri Pittier NP, Venezuela

PN Henri Pittier: between the Caribbean Sea and the Cordillera da Costa

In 1917, botanist Henri Pittier became fond of the jungle of Venezuela's sea mountains. Visitors to the national park that this Swiss created there are, today, more than they ever wanted
Martinique, French Antilles

The Armpit Baguette Caribbean

We move around Martinique as freely as the Euro and the tricolor flags fly supreme. But this piece of France is volcanic and lush. Lies in the insular heart of the Americas and has a delicious taste of Africa.
Little Havana, USA

Little Havana of the Nonconformists

Over the decades and until today, thousands of Cubans have crossed the Florida Straits in search of the land of freedom and opportunity. With the US a mere 145 km away, many have gone no further. His Little Havana in Miami is today the most emblematic neighborhood of the Cuban diaspora.
Saint-Pierre, Martinique

The City that Arose from the Ashes

In 1900, the economic capital of the Antilles was envied for its Parisian sophistication, until the Pelée volcano charred and buried it. More than a century later, Saint-Pierre is still regenerating.
Fort-de-France, Martinique

Freedom, Bipolarity and Tropicality

The capital of Martinique confirms a fascinating Caribbean extension of French territory. There, the relations between the colonists and the natives descended from slaves still give rise to small revolutions.
Guadalupe, French Antilles

Guadeloupe: a Delicious Caribbean, in a Counter Butterfly-Effect

Guadeloupe is shaped like a moth. A trip around this Antille is enough to understand why the population is governed by the motto Pas Ni Problem and raises the minimum of waves, despite the many setbacks.
savuti, botswana, elephant-eating lions
Savuti, Botswana

Savuti's Elephant-Eating Lions

A patch of the Kalahari Desert dries up or is irrigated depending on the region's tectonic whims. In Savuti, lions have become used to depending on themselves and prey on the largest animals in the savannah.
Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Yaks
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit 11th: yak karkha a Thorong Phedi, Nepal

Arrival to the Foot of the Canyon

In just over 6km, we climbed from 4018m to 4450m, at the base of Thorong La canyon. Along the way, we questioned if what we felt were the first problems of Altitude Evil. It was never more than a false alarm.
Colonial Church of San Francisco de Assis, Taos, New Mexico, USA
Architecture & Design
Taos, USA

North America Ancestor of Taos

Traveling through New Mexico, we were dazzled by the two versions of Taos, that of the indigenous adobe hamlet of Taos Pueblo, one of the towns of the USA inhabited for longer and continuously. And that of Taos city that the Spanish conquerors bequeathed to the Mexico: Mexico gave in to United States and that a creative community of native descendants and migrated artists enhance and continue to praise.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.
Ceremonies and Festivities
Look-alikes, Actors and Extras

Make-believe stars

They are the protagonists of events or are street entrepreneurs. They embody unavoidable characters, represent social classes or epochs. Even miles from Hollywood, without them, the world would be more dull.
Rostov Veliky Kremlin, Russia
Rostov Veliky, Russia

Under the Domes of the Russian Soul

It is one of the oldest and most important medieval cities, founded during the still pagan origins of the nation of the tsars. At the end of the XNUMXth century, incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Moscow, it became an imposing center of orthodox religiosity. Today, only the splendor of kremlin Muscovite trumps the citadel of tranquil and picturesque Rostov Veliky.
young saleswoman, nation, bread, uzbekistan
Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, The Nation That Does Not Lack Bread

Few countries employ cereals like Uzbekistan. In this republic of Central Asia, bread plays a vital and social role. The Uzbeks produce it and consume it with devotion and in abundance.
Busy intersection of Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan

The Endless Night of the Rising Sun Capital

Say that Tokyo do not sleep is an understatement. In one of the largest and most sophisticated cities on the face of the Earth, twilight marks only the renewal of the frenetic daily life. And there are millions of souls that either find no place in the sun, or make more sense in the “dark” and obscure turns that follow.
Spectator, Melbourne Cricket Ground-Rules footbal, Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia

The Football the Australians Rule

Although played since 1841, Australian Football has only conquered part of the big island. Internationalization has never gone beyond paper, held back by competition from rugby and classical football.
Moçamedes to PN Iona, Namibe, Angola

Grand entrance to the Angola of the Dunes

Still with Moçâmedes as a starting point, we traveled in search of the sands of Namibe and Iona National Park. The cacimbo meteorology prevents the continuation between the Atlantic and the dunes to the stunning south of Baía dos Tigres. It will only be a matter of time.
Resident of Dali, Yunnan, China
Dali, China

The Surrealist China of Dali

Embedded in a magical lakeside setting, the ancient capital of the Bai people has remained, until some time ago, a refuge for the backpacker community of travelers. The social and economic changes of China they fomented the invasion of Chinese to discover the southwest corner of the nation.
Rainbow in the Grand Canyon, an example of prodigious photographic light
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 1)

And Light was made on Earth. Know how to use it.

The theme of light in photography is inexhaustible. In this article, we give you some basic notions about your behavior, to start with, just and only in terms of geolocation, the time of day and the time of year.
on this side of the Atlantic

Island of Goreia, Senegal

A Slave Island of Slavery

Were several millions or just thousands of slaves passing through Goreia on their way to the Americas? Whatever the truth, this small Senegalese island will never be freed from the yoke of its symbolism.”

Seixal, Madeira Island, pool
Seixal, Madeira, Portugal

The Island of Madeira at the Heart

Visitors to Madeira are enchanted by its almost tropical drama. In this case, the author must confess that it was the destination of his first three plane trips. That he has a friend from there, who made him be a bit from there. From the Madeira facing the endless North. From the fearless and welcoming Seixal.
coast, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland
Winter White
Seydisfjordur, Iceland

From the Art of Fishing to the Fishing of Art

When shipowners from Reykjavik bought the Seydisfjordur fishing fleet, the village had to adapt. Today, it captures Dieter Roth's art disciples and other bohemian and creative souls.
On the Crime and Punishment trail, St. Petersburg, Russia, Vladimirskaya
Saint Petersburg, Russia

On the Trail of "Crime and Punishment"

In St. Petersburg, we cannot resist investigating the inspiration for the base characters in Fyodor Dostoevsky's most famous novel: his own pities and the miseries of certain fellow citizens.
Asian buffalo herd, Maguri Beel, Assam, India
Maguri Bill, India

A Wetland in the Far East of India

The Maguri Bill occupies an amphibious area in the Assamese vicinity of the river Brahmaputra. It is praised as an incredible habitat especially for birds. When we navigate it in gondola mode, we are faced with much (but much) more life than just the asada.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Guides penetrate Cidade de Pedra, Pirenópolis
Natural Parks
Stone Town, Goiás, Brazil

A City of Stone. Precious.

A lithic vastness emerges from the cerrado around Pirenópolis and the heart of the Brazilian state of Goiás. With almost 600 hectares and even more millions of years old, it brings together countless capricious and labyrinthine ruiniform formations. Anyone who visits it will be lost in wonder.
Okavango Delta, Not all rivers reach the sea, Mokoros
UNESCO World Heritage
Okavango Delta, Botswana

Not all rivers reach the sea

Third longest river in southern Africa, the Okavango rises in the Angolan Bié plateau and runs 1600km to the southeast. It gets lost in the Kalahari Desert where it irrigates a dazzling wetland teeming with wildlife.
Correspondence verification
Rovaniemi, Finland

From the Finnish Lapland to the Arctic. A Visit to the Land of Santa

Fed up with waiting for the bearded old man to descend down the chimney, we reverse the story. We took advantage of a trip to Finnish Lapland and passed through its furtive home.
Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

Back to Danny Boyle's The Beach

It's been 15 years since the debut of the backpacker classic based on the novel by Alex Garland. The film popularized the places where it was shot. Shortly thereafter, the XNUMX tsunami literally washed some away off the map. Today, their controversial fame remains intact.
The Crucifixion in Helsinki
Helsinki, Finland

A Frigid-Scholarly Via Crucis

When Holy Week arrives, Helsinki shows its belief. Despite the freezing cold, little dressed actors star in a sophisticated re-enactment of Via Crucis through streets full of spectators.
Serra do Mar train, Paraná, airy view
On Rails
Curitiba a Morretes, Paraná, Brazil

Down Paraná, on Board the Train Serra do Mar

For more than two centuries, only a winding and narrow road connected Curitiba to the coast. Until, in 1885, a French company opened a 110 km railway. We walked along it to Morretes, the final station for passengers today. 40km from the original coastal terminus of Paranaguá.
city ​​hall, capital, oslo, norway
Oslo, Norway

A Overcapitalized Capital

One of Norway's problems has been deciding how to invest the billions of euros from its record-breaking sovereign wealth fund. But even immoderate resources don't save Oslo from its social inconsistencies.
Coin return
Daily life
Dawki, India

Dawki, Dawki, Bangladesh on sight

We descended from the high and mountainous lands of Meghalaya to the flats to the south and below. There, the translucent and green stream of the Dawki forms the border between India and Bangladesh. In a damp heat that we haven't felt for a long time, the river also attracts hundreds of Indians and Bangladeshis in a picturesque escape.
Maria Jacarés, Pantanal Brazil
Miranda, Brazil

Maria dos Jacarés: the Pantanal shelters such Creatures

Eurides Fátima de Barros was born in the interior of the Miranda region. 38 years ago, he settled in a small business on the side of BR262 that crosses the Pantanal and gained an affinity with the alligators that lived on his doorstep. Disgusted that once upon a time the creatures were being slaughtered there, she began to take care of them. Now known as Maria dos Jacarés, she named each of the animals after a soccer player or coach. It also makes sure they recognize your calls.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.