The first part of our voyage was actually a weeklong move back to where we are from. We spent a week catching up and saying goodbye to our families and some friends. It did not really feel as goodbye because we had already left The Netherlands almost two years ago and because we actually expect to see some or a lot of people somewhere in the world along the way. It's a small world after all. But this was a truly wonderful week, both warm with feelings and literally freezing because of the winter weather.The second first step was flying out from Amsterdam to Aruba, with our best friend Monique accompanying us as our flight attendant, bringing us a glass of bubbly right after takeoff. Even after the flight our special treatment continued as we had drinks with Monique and the whole KLM crew in the Renaissance Hotel in Oranjestad, the most luxurious breakfast we will probably have for a long time the next day and a special trip to the Renaissance private beach island worldwide known (apparently) for the flamingos on the beach. What
a wonderful time we had and again it was hard to say goodbye but we rest assured that we will meet somewhere soon.And then it was just the two of us. Slowly the realization happened that we are on our way, we have left, we have started our trip, our voyage of thousands of miles.We have spent 5 nights on Aruba, one of the Dutch Antilles, a very Caribbean island, with a strong Dutch influence and also a strong American influence. The Arubans are the most friendly people, in a nice way curious and interested and chatty and we loved to be able to speak Dutch with them. It's fun to read the Dutch street signs and names. Aruba was the perfect place to start to unwind and gear down. The high temperature and the slow speed of life on the island were welcoming and made us feel like on a holiday
before the traveling would start. Or maybe the traveling had started and this is our new life, our new pace.We have spent our days on the beaches, just being lazy, reading, sitting in the shadow and enjoying the Caribbean lifestyle sipping cocktails and Amstel Bright. Done a bit of kitesurfing one day and some snorkeling the other day in the amazingly clear blue waters. We had the most intimate and beautiful (and warm and sunny) Valentine's Day, with Champagne on the beach and cocktails afterwards at Moomba beach bar.Aruba is the smallest but also the most touristy of the Dutch Antilles. I have no clue why but the island is apparently a favorite of the somewhat elderly and, forgive me saying, the somewhat fatter American stereotype cruise ship tourist. A giant cruise ship (or more than one) arrives every day, spitting out thousands of meaty chubby loud voices. Luckily almost all thousands of them do the same day trips and it's rather easy to avoid meeting too much
of them. We were invited to one of the cruise ships one night, albeit a rather small one and with a special extremely nice crew and clientele. And so we ended up enjoying a concert of the ship band with special guest the locally world famous Reinier from Curacoa. This man made it a hell of a show!Then another night, as things go if you don't have a plan, we heard loud drumming while walking back after diner to our hostel. A massive pre-carnival warm up festival called "hebe hebe 2017" was getting ready. Sponsored by Budweiser, well organised with huge numbers of staff, security, light&sound and a lot of Budweiser this attracted a lot of people from the island, all dressed to kill, Caribbean party style, meaning a lot of cleavage with the girls and very macho for the boys.And so after five days of laziness at the different beautiful beaches
of Aruba we can conclude we are ready to get the traveling started, we are so ready for Latin America, Colombia here we come!
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