The Hilton is located a few miles out of the main part of Willemstad, the capital of Curaçao, and on a Sunday evening there was no way to get there other than taking a taxi – so we had the Hilton call one, and managed to make it to the downtown area in 15 minutes or so. We had the driver drop us on the Otrobanda side of the city so we could walk into the main area across one of the two big bridges.
There are two main bridges crossing the St Anna Bay which divides the two main districts of the historical town centre: Otrobanda (where we were dropped off) and Punda on the other side. The pedestrian bridge is known as the Queen Emma Bridge, and is nicknamed “The Swinging Old Lady” because when boats pass the bridge actually swings sideways to open up! The other bridge is the Queen Juliana Bridge, which is the highest bridge in the Caribbean and is vehicle traffic only.
We walked across the Queen Emma Bridge to Punda, stopping to take a few pictures along the way. Shortly after we crossed, the bridge closed and started swinging open. Bit of a bummer, because people already on the bridge were allowed to stay on and ride it as it opened. That would have been very cool!
It was still early, so we strolled the historical part of Punda for a bit before dinner, taking in all the colourful houses and historic buildings.
Unfortunately, it was Sunday evening so all the shops and museums were closed, but it was still fun walking around and seeing them from the outside. The main attraction was Fort Amsterdam, which was the seat of the Curaçao government and an old church.
After a bit we headed to the outdoors Pleincafe Wilhemina to grab some dinner. We had heard service was notoriously slow, but honestly we really didn’t notice. It was a nice evening, and it was nice just sitting outside and enjoying dinner. We started with a couple of beers and some dutch munchies – Polar beers and some bitterballen. One thing that was noticeable is that the crowd was almost entirely Dutch, making it almost feel like a warmer version of a cafe somewhere in Holland.
I ended up getting the Princess Juliana, which was a local caribbean stew known as Stoba. It was quite tasty, and I need to look up the recipe and try making it when I get home. A new Ben and Jerry’s had opened up right next to the cafe, so after dinner we couldn’t resist getting a scoop before grabbing a taxi back to the hotel. On the way back, we had to wait a bit because the bridge was open again (our bad timing!) but on the way across I snapped a cool shot of the colourful shops by night.