Willemstad waterfront in Curaçao.

The vividly painted architecture lining the Willemstad waterfront in Curaçao did not happen by design. The capital city developed after the Dutch claimed the island in 1634. The only materials available for construction, mismatched bricks scavenged from ship ballast, were finished with lime plaster made from crushed shells, which dried to a dazzling white facade in the intense Caribbean sun. Apparently a former governor of the island suffered from severe headaches and thought this was made worse by the sun’s brilliant reflections off the white buildings. He ordered that building exteriors be painted any color but white. Despite later discovery that the governor was a shareholder in the island’s only paint store, the tradition of painting in vivid colors has endured, making Willemstad’s Dutch and Spanish colonial style architecture a stunning Caribbean sight.

Willemstad, Curaçao, the last of the ABC islands to visit, was the final port of call on our Six week West Indies and American cruise. A cruise that had it’s ups and downs due to the start of Covid-19. Unfortunately although we could dock here, we didn’t get to go ashore. Another time, another cruise…!

The Reading Agency Hub

Lose yourself in a story

Concentrating on a full book at the moment can be difficult! Sample the first chapters of a huge range of new books and see what takes your fancy.

https://readingagency.org.uk/hub/?goal=0_ef82b5d6fa-2cad0dd703-79880161&mc_cid=2cad0dd703&mc_eid=bd5b0c6b2e

What with working from home, as well as everyone at home together,I am definitely having trouble concentrating on reading at the moment. Really annoying when to my mind I should have loads more reading time. So I love this idea from the Reading Agency Hub.

War of the Worlds by Jeff Wayne. (Progressive Rock)

Would normally spend Good Friday listening to the Jesus Christ Super Star album. Twenty/twenty Good Friday I listened to Jeff Wayne’s 1978 original War of the Worlds.

War of the Worlds Album Cover

This original version included Richard Burton as narrator (journalist). Also Justin Hayward, David Essex (artillery man), Phil Lynott (Parson Nathanial) Julie Covington (Beth).

Give it a go if you don’t know it. I was blown away!

Cuba Briefly.

The wonderful Cuban government gave the Braemar ship a safe haven and a flight passage home. I had been on the ship for five amazing weeks. The first two we island hopped the Eastern Caribbean The next two we island hopped the Western Caribbean and also visited Central and Southern America. We had a few issues and port refusal entries on the way due to Covid-19 on the ship but our real problems began trying to get flights home. No port would accept the ship to allow us to disembark and fly home. After nine days at sea Cuba came to our rescue and what an amazing country it is. We left under police escort, a barrage of press photographers and roads lined with police and curious locals filming our journey, waving- many with their faces covered.

Leaving the seaport. Coaches and police await departure.
Local people filming our departure.
Traffic stopped to allow us to pass.
Press at the port.
Planes ready to take us to the UK.

On our coach seats there was a touching gift from the Cuban Government that made me smile- so kind.

The drive to the airport revealed a rural and stunning country. I truly felt I had gone back in time. Cars were old and battered, looking like they were from the sixties or seventies. There were people on horseback and horse and carts, motorbikes and cycles. It was a privilege to visit. I had already planned to visit Cuba later in the year and this tantalising glimpse has made me more determined to return.

Roads cordoned off to allow our convoy to pass.

And look at this magnificent old plane: sitting on the side of a runway.

To conclude this post we arrived at the airport in convoy still. Security was a scanner in a camouflage tent. Then back in the coach to the plane. Again to a whole load of media attention.

Security.
Reporters covering our departure.

Finally into the air to a stunning Cuban Sunset.

Havana! I have fallen in love with you. I won’t be long returning once all this world madness has subsided.