Friday, August 31, 2012

Girls' Day in Willemstad, Curacao

Claudia and Trish
At least once every couple of weeks, two or more of us cruiser women take the public bus from our summer anchorage in Spanish Waters, Curacao, and for 90 cents we ride the bus into Willemstad for Girls' Day.  The men enjoy it at least as much as we do, and have nicknamed it Womanless Wednesday, or Maedchenlos Mittwoch, depending on where you're from.  Claudia from SV Tika (German/Swiss) and I are founding femmes, and friends from the States and Canada also join us.  Here's what we do.

The first place we go from the bus station is the "new market",  a large and airy covered space filled with vendors of produce, fish and meats, handicrafts and jewelry, personal products, and all sorts of items of interest and curiosity.
From there,we wander through the colonial streets of Punda. Willemstad is divided by its wide, deep commercial channel into two sides, called Punda and Otrabanda. Punda was and is the upscale side of town. Three hundred year-old buildings now house businesses like Tommy Hilfiger, Guess, diamond and luxury jewelry and other high end shops, which cater to cruise ship passengers and other, mainly Dutch tourists with money to spend. 
I love the mix of colors and patterns.
Next  we walk on to the old fort, still housing government offices.

From there, the waterfront is only a few steps away, with quayside cafes and coffee houses where you can enjoy a capuccino and watch the people and boats go by.
The hundred-year old pontoon bridge. 
But we don't stop here.  We turn back toward the center of town to get something to eat.  Passing an art gallery, more "dushi" (meaning "sweet") local shops....
...and what would Girls' Day be without shoe shopping!
By now we are famished and ready for lunch. We head to the Plaza Bieu, the old market which has six kitchens inside, with cheap and cheerful local dishes favored by the people who work downtown. It's the best place to taste generous, inexpensive servings of local cuisine. If you leave hungry, you have only yourself to blame!
 (People who know me know I was an epidemiologist and food safety instructor and inspector for 32 years...the food is piping hot and prepared fresh while you watch,and the turnover is brisk. While conditions are rudimentary, it's a pretty safe place to eat!)
And here's what you get! Delicious beef stew, slow-cooked in a mildly seasoned tomato-based sauce, accompanied by rice and sweet fried plantains, and with a side of funchi, similar to a creamy polenta or cornmeal mush, and definitely a great comfort food!  Also available are goat stew (delicious), fried kingfish, grilled whole red snapper,whitefish filets, and chicken entrees, as well as Chinese food.  For dessert you can get a tasty pumpkin pancake, rather like carrot cake, with raisins and spice. Inexpensive, nutritious, and fast service too, which is unusual here in the Caribbean.  There's never a need to cook supper after a lunch like this.
Heading back to the bus station, we pass by the floating market, where we can pick up fresh and inexpensive seasonal produce from Venezuela before we head home.
With backpacks loaded, we head back to the bus stop and return to Fisherman's Harbor at Spanish Waters, there to find our men grinning because they also enjoyed their Womanless Wednesday as much as we did. 


  1. Interesujące. Pozdrawiam.

  2. Hey guys, you don't know me, but I am the grandson of the man you purchased Sinbad from. I spent many summers aboard the boat, and remember her fondly. I just wanted to say thanks for maintaining this blog. My grnadfather is 87, and not very computer savvy. However, every month or so he comes into my office and asks me to look up the old boat. He says its like seeing and old friend going on to do bigger and better things. He even gets a little misty once in a while. Also, we love to see the improvements you make to the boat. Awesome stuff! Anyway, congrats on you new lifestyle, and thanks again for taking good care of her, and giving us a chance to catch up with an "Old Friend". Happy New Year, Don Milosch Jr.

    1. Hello,
      It is good to hear from you. We think of Don often when we reflect back on how good of a boat we got. A well loved 30yr old great boat. She is still well loved and we are glad that you are following the blog. Drop me a email at and we can send more pics if you like.