Our first port of call was Aruba. This Caribbean island first discovered by the Spanish in 1499 was controlled by Spain until the eighty year war with The Netherlands. The Netherlands took control of the island in 1636 and with only a short interruption controlled it until 1985, when it became an independent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
With this history, Anneke wanted to explore the capital city- Oranjestad. She wanted to see what remained of the Dutch influence. We docked within walking distance of downtown and spent a few hours exploring. The island has a little over 88,000 residents and encompasses over 70 nationality. There are several official languages, one of which was Dutch. The main industry is tourism which became dominate when decades ago, the airlines started heavily advertising Aruba as a wonderful get away vacation spot. Today most of the shoreline of the island is lined with resorts and assorted attractions. Then the cruise industry added their passenger volume to the mix and it is now basically one giant tourist attraction.
We were touring on our own and tried using the city map as a guide, but it turned out the streets do not have their names posted but only the direction back to the cruise terminal.
Anneke was able to find photos of the new King and queen of the Netherlands and enjoyed a brief photo op.
The city area has a few upscale shops for the cruise passengers, but the rest is in need of some repair. We searched for the traditional Dutch businesses, but only found empty structures. The people were friendly but the Dutch language was not dominate here.
We did find one archeology museum open and took a brief tour of island history and culture.