February is as cold this year as a home freezer that has gone too long without defrosting. Frost and ice cycles cover the northern plains. Snow is stacked in piles around homes and buildings, roads ditches are full, and roadways blow shut again with every wind. Fields, sky, trees are all shades of grey and white. Roads are treacherous to drive. We stay at home if we can. Everyone I talk with is ready for spring.
In comparison, the colors of the Caribbean are brilliant blues, pinks, yellows, and lavender. I decided to vacation on an island this year for a change from this Nebraska winter. A friend and I traveled to Curacao, an island in the Caribbean, that I learned about from former students. It’s a beautiful island with wonderful eighty-five degree sunny days, balmy evenings and fabulous beaches.
Although the Spanish explored this area early in the 1600s, Dutch warships pushed them out. The religiously tolerant Dutch welcomed Jewish refugees from Europe. Together these diverse groups developed the island’s natural deep-water port into a pivotal shipping mecca.
In the 1800s, the USA donated a floating bridge across the bay that opens to admit huge container ships, oil tankers, and other commercial ships. The bridge connects two sections of the capital city, Willemstad.
The photo above shows the floating bridge lit up at night to allow commercial boat traffic to enter the bay. People could stay on the bridge when it opened and ride along. We rode along several times.
This photo shows one of the tug boats that came through the bridge. The tug is heading out to sea to escort a larger ship back to port. The buildings were designed after those in Holland. All the house are brightly colored and picturesque. For example, the Postal Museum was located in a house constructed in 1690.
Cruise ships (as shown in the featured image), visit the island regularly. There were two cruise ships docked nearly every day during the week we spent on the island. These tourist visits are vital to the country’s economy.
More about island tours in future blogs.