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.
Rhinoceros, PN Kaziranga, Assam, India
PN Kaziranga, India

The Indian Monoceros Stronghold

Situated in the state of Assam, south of the great Brahmaputra river, PN Kaziranga occupies a vast area of ​​alluvial swamp. Two-thirds of the rhinocerus unicornis around the world, there are around 100 tigers, 1200 elephants and many other animals. Pressured by human proximity and the inevitable poaching, this precious park has not been able to protect itself from the hyperbolic floods of the monsoons and from some controversies.
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 5th - Ngawal a BragaNepal

Towards the Nepalese Braga

We spent another morning of glorious weather discovering Ngawal. There is a short journey towards Manang, the main town on the way to the zenith of the Annapurna circuit. We stayed for Braga (Braka). The hamlet would soon prove to be one of its most unforgettable places.
A Lost and Found City
Architecture & Design
Machu Picchu, Peru

The City Lost in the Mystery of the Incas

As we wander around Machu Picchu, we find meaning in the most accepted explanations for its foundation and abandonment. But whenever the complex is closed, the ruins are left to their enigmas.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.
drinks entre reis, cavalhadas de pirenopolis, crusades, brazil
Ceremonies and Festivities
Pirenópolis, Brazil

Brazilian Crusades

Christian armies expelled Muslim forces from the Iberian Peninsula in the XNUMXth century. XV but, in Pirenópolis, in the Brazilian state of Goiás, the South American subjects of Carlos Magno continue to triumph.
Hiroshima, city surrendered to peace, Japan
Hiroshima, Japan

Hiroshima: a City Yielded to Peace

On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima succumbed to the explosion of the first atomic bomb used in war. 70 years later, the city fights for the memory of the tragedy and for nuclear weapons to be eradicated by 2020.
Margilan, Uzbekistan

An Uzbekistan's Breadwinner

In one of the many bakeries in Margilan, worn out by the intense heat of the tandyr oven, the baker Maruf'Jon works half-baked like the distinctive traditional breads sold throughout Uzbekistan
Tombola, street bingo-Campeche, Mexico
Campeche, Mexico

200 Years of Playing with Luck

At the end of the XNUMXth century, the peasants surrendered to a game introduced to cool the fever of cash cards. Today, played almost only for Abuelites, lottery little more than a fun place.
4th of July Fireworks-Seward, Alaska, United States
Seward, Alaska

The Longest 4th of July

The independence of the United States is celebrated, in Seward, Alaska, in a modest way. Even so, the 4th of July and its celebration seem to have no end.
Kayaking on Lake Sinclair, Cradle Mountain - Lake Sinclair National Park, Tasmania, Australia
Discovering tassie, Part 4 - Devonport to Strahan, Australia

Through the Tasmanian Wild West

If the almost antipode tazzie is already a australian world apart, what about its inhospitable western region. Between Devonport and Strahan, dense forests, elusive rivers and a rugged coastline beaten by an almost Antarctic Indian ocean generate enigma and respect.
Gizo, Solomon Islands

A Saeraghi Young Singers Gala

In Gizo, the damage caused by the tsunami that hit the Solomon Islands is still very visible. On the coast of Saeraghi, children's bathing happiness contrasts with their heritage of desolation.
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

life outside

Heroes Acre Monument, Zimbabwe
Harare, Zimbabwewe

The Last Rales of Surreal Mugabué

In 2015, Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe said the 91-year-old president would rule until the age of 100 in a special wheelchair. Shortly thereafter, it began to insinuate itself into his succession. But in recent days, the generals have finally precipitated the removal of Robert Mugabe, who has replaced him with former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Blue Hole, Gozo Island, Malta
Gozo, Malta

Mediterranean Days of Utter Joy

The island of Gozo is a third the size of Malta but only thirty of the small nation's three hundred thousand inhabitants. In duo with Comino's beach recreation, it houses a more down-to-earth and serene version of the always peculiar Maltese life.
Boats on ice, Hailuoto Island, Finland.
Winter White
Hailuoto, Finland

A Refuge in the Gulf of Bothnia

During winter, the island of Hailuoto is connected to the rest of Finland by the country's longest ice road. Most of its 986 inhabitants esteem, above all, the distance that the island grants them.
Lake Manyara, National Park, Ernest Hemingway, Giraffes
Lake Manyara NP, Tanzania

Hemingway's Favorite Africa

Situated on the western edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park is one of the smallest but charming and richest in Europe. wild life of Tanzania. In 1933, between hunting and literary discussions, Ernest Hemingway dedicated a month of his troubled life to him. He narrated those adventurous safari days in “The Green Hills of Africa".
Young people walk the main street in Chame, Nepal
Annapurna Circuit: 1th - Pokhara a ChameNepal

Finally, on the way

After several days of preparation in Pokhara, we left towards the Himalayas. The walking route only starts in Chame, at 2670 meters of altitude, with the snowy peaks of the Annapurna mountain range already in sight. Until then, we complete a painful but necessary road preamble to its subtropical base.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Alcatraz Island, California, United States
Natural Parks
Alcatraz, San Francisco, USA

Back to the Rock

Forty years after his sentence ended, the former Alcatraz prison receives more visitors than ever. A few minutes of his seclusion explain why The Rock's imagination made the worst criminals shiver.
Zanzibar, African islands, spices, Tanzania, dhow
UNESCO World Heritage
Zanzibar, Tanzania

The African Spice Islands

Vasco da Gama opened the Indian Ocean to the Portuguese empire. In the XNUMXth century, the Zanzibar archipelago became the largest producer of cloves and the available spices diversified, as did the people who disputed them.
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.
Boat and helmsman, Cayo Los Pájaros, Los Haitises, Dominican Republic
Samaná PeninsulaLos Haitises National Park Dominican Republic

From the Samaná Peninsula to the Dominican Haitises

In the northeast corner of the Dominican Republic, where Caribbean nature still triumphs, we face an Atlantic much more vigorous than expected in these parts. There we ride on a communal basis to the famous Limón waterfall, cross the bay of Samaná and penetrate the remote and exuberant “land of the mountains” that encloses it.
Glamor vs Faith
Goa, India

The Last Gasp of the Goan Portugality

The prominent city of Goa already justified the title of “rome of the east” when, in the middle of the XNUMXth century, epidemics of malaria and cholera led to its abandonment. The New Goa (Pangim) for which it was exchanged became the administrative seat of Portuguese India but was annexed by the Indian Union of post-independence. In both, time and neglect are ailments that now make the Portuguese colonial legacy wither.
Chepe Express, Chihuahua Al Pacifico Railway
On Rails
Creel to Los Mochis, Mexico

The Barrancas del Cobre & the CHEPE Iron Horse

The Sierra Madre Occidental's relief turned the dream into a construction nightmare that lasted six decades. In 1961, at last, the prodigious Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad was opened. Its 643km cross some of the most dramatic scenery in Mexico.
Mahu, Third Sex Polynesia, Papeete, Tahiti
Papeete, French Polynesia

The Third Sex of Tahiti

Heirs of Polynesian ancestral culture, the Mahu they preserve an unusual role in society. Lost somewhere between the two genders, these men-women continue to fight for the meaning of their lives.
Fruit sellers, Swarm, Mozambique
Daily life
Enxame Mozambique

Mozambican Fashion Service Area

It is repeated at almost all stops in towns of Mozambique worthy of appearing on maps. The machimbombo (bus) stops and is surrounded by a crowd of eager "businessmen". The products offered can be universal such as water or biscuits or typical of the area. In this region, a few kilometers from Nampula, fruit sales suceeded, in each and every case, quite intense.
Tombolo and Punta Catedral, Manuel António National Park, Costa Rica
PN Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Costa Rica's Little-Big National Park

The reasons for the under 28 are well known national parks Costa Ricans have become the most popular. The fauna and flora of PN Manuel António proliferate in a tiny and eccentric patch of jungle. As if that wasn't enough, it is limited to four of the best typical beaches.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Aeronautical Conquest of the Southern Alps

In 1955, pilot Harry Wigley created a system for taking off and landing on asphalt or snow. Since then, his company has unveiled, from the air, some of the greatest scenery in Oceania.