Touring the Island (Memories)

Our breakfast visitor
Friday (just one week ago today!) dawned with a beautiful view streaming through the glass doors in front of the sofa bed I was sleeping on.  Sue and Jane shared the king sized bedroom - but I got the VIEW.  Being the first one up (I'm used to getting kids up for school - a habit that is hard to break), I sat out on the balcony and enjoyed the early morning for a while before coming back in to fix coffee.  The smell of coffee brought Sue out and we shared a cup back out on the balcony.  Leaving Jane to sleep, we went down to the outdoor dining area to partake of the breakfast buffet.  Fresh fruit, Eggs Benedict, pastries, breads, potatoes, oatmeal, and a host of other items were in plentiful supply.  The hostess placed us at a table near the edge of the "dining room" next to the waist high sea grape hedges that separated us from the grounds and then the beach/pool area.  Birds started flying through and landing on any table that had food on it and no people to shoo them off.  We were able to identify some, but not all.  There was a lovely little black and yellow bird that for lack of knowledge we named "yellow belly" (not very original I know).  The biggest surprise though was as the sun got brighter and hotter, we soon had other visitors - iguanas! Bright green, gray, various sizes, and obviously quite at ease in the dining room.  Sue and I watched with great delight as we ate our breakfast. Reluctantly we left our nature show.

Alto Vista Chapel
A stop at the concierge desk the night before had left us with few options for a tour of the island.  No tours are offered on Sunday and the tours for Friday and Saturday had filled up quickly.  Because we didn't want one early Friday morning, we missed out on the others. The three of us discussed the idea of renting a car and touring ourselves (which several sites I had read recommended), but I wasn't too keen on doing that.  Sue talked to a taxi driver though, Juan, and we soon had a good deal worked out.  Into the taxi we went (Sue in front with Juan and Jane and I in the back) for our own private tour. Juan was delightful and took us everywhere we wanted to go, with the exception of the Natural Bridge because the roads had been too badly damaged by the rainy season.  We stopped at Eagle Beach, drove through Palm Beach, stopped at the California Lighthouse, went to the Alto Vista Chapel (which was my personal favorite), where I bought a bracelet rosary (I am not Catholic but have been contemplating this for awhile - that's for another post) made by a couple on the island. Then we went to several other places and eventually wound up back in Oranjestad around 3pm where we finally had lunch at Iguana Joe's.  We shared a couple of entrees and an appetizer, and then shared their famous dessert - fried Oreo's.  Yum yum!

A bit of walking around some shops and then we headed back to the hotel for some much needed rest.  Later that night we went over to Casa Tua (again in the Renaissance Marketplace) for a very light supper.  It was fun to sit outside to eat and watch people around us while listening to live music.

A very good first full day in Aruba was had by all of us.

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