Day 3 – Breakfast – Exploring Downtown and local shops
We started our day with a walk over to the Dutch Pancake house at around 8:00am local time. We arrived to the open air restaurant and a line of about 6-8 people. All the tables were full, and we had a brief wait of about 15 minutes. We were seated at a table for 2 right by the sidewalk – the breeze was cool and watching as people started their day was interesting and relaxing. We ordered breakfast of Dutch pancake with honey walnuts and a “Seaport Breakfast” which included Scrambled Eggs, bacon, Dutch proffertjes . Hubby thought that the Dutch pancake was only “OK” – but the Seaport breakfast was very good and generous portions. We thought if we decided to come back another day we would try the Dutch Baby – a puffy pancake filled with savory goodies. We were struck by the large amount of bacon that came with the Seaport Breakfast. As our week progressed we found out that in Aruba a “side” of bacon amounts to a pile of 8-10 slices all fried to crispy, delicious and perfect bacony delight.
After our large breakfast we decided to walk around the downtown area and explore the monuments and the old fort that was now a museum. All that we wanted to see was within about 6-8 blocks so we set off past the I ❤️ ARUBA sign – the statues of blue horses and over toward the Historic Fort that is now a museum noticeable because of the tall clock tower. There is a $5 per person admission fee and it includes a walk around the interior of the fort and the courtyard. The main rooms hold an art display and some examples of local that is a craft tradition on the island. There is some old machinery and a replica of the kitchen (cucina) that was used to feed the 16 soldiers that were the guardians at this small fort. The young man at the desk came out and asked us if we would want to hear some history of the fort and led us over to a model that had been crafted from plaster of paris. He explained that at one point in the early 1700’s the sea came directly to the edge of the fort – and what was now a main road through Oranjestad. He showed us some pictures from the early 1800’s and explained that a small building across the street was built more than 200 years ago and is still standing, now an Italian Restaurant. (
The final quest at the fort was up the narrow stairs that were more like a ladder you might pull down from access to an attic. There were 5 sets of these ladders that led to the top of the clock tower. It was a clear day and the view of Oranjestad was clear and it was interesting to see the marina, buildings and streets below. There is also one floor in the tower that housed the mechanism for the clock. Though it was not currently working, it was interesting to see it.
We moved from the this tour across the street to the house that was mentioned and then walked along the streets browsing the shops and taking in the scenery. We found a small grocery store where we bought some drinks and cheese to snack on. The store had a sparse selection and reminded us of a store on St Thomas called Mandahl Market – it had the basics and was not a modern supermarket. But there were locals shopping and I noticed the items they were checking out included what looked like a tamale – but it was a banana leaf wrapper tied with string. Wanting to ask what it was – but knowing there was a language barrier we paid for our things and continued on to our hotel to change to our beach wear and head over to the Renaissance Island to cool off and explore a bit more.