Friday, January 27, 2012

Palm Beach, Aruba {Marriott Resort + Beach}


p.s.  we were in Aruba during an uncharacteristically overcast/rainy week.  It was still amazing.  Amazing, I tell you.  We already have a return trip planned with our children.  We can't wait!  These pictures were taken over the course of our stay.  Looking back, I wish I'd taken more of the fantastic food we ate, as well as some of us relaxing on the beach.  Let's just say, I was too lazy to take my camera, because I knew if I did I wouldn't be able to get into the water.  Or relax, because I'd be too busy thinking about sand getting into my camera.  Ugh. 

p.p.s.  If you ever find yourself in Aruba, you must eat at Simply Fish at the Marriott Resort.  It is right on the beach, and you are encouraged to eat shoeless with the sand between your toes.  It's perfect for a special occasion. Most people would categorize it as "expensive" unless they are from NYC.  Then it goes in the "normal" category.

p.p.p.s.  Did I mention that this is one of the most kid-friendly places I've ever vacationed?  The water is calm, the weather is lovely, the pools are amazing, and at the Marriott resort there are playgrounds, kids rooms, kids activities all day, movie screenings in the evening, and even an incredible lazy river. It's amazing!  Definitely a great spot for east coasters wishing they were a bit closer to Hawaii. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Oranjestad, Aruba {Historic City Center + Harbor}

Aruba is a hard place to describe.  I didn't know what to expect when we arrived because we didn't really do  any research about Aruba.  That made it even more fun to discover.  As you will see, it is an intriguing place, full of bright colors and beautiful, unassuming architecture.  For the most part.  Aruba is unique because it's not in the hurricane belt, and due to its location and the fact that it's essentially a desert, the weather is amazing year-round.  There's virtually no off-season, and it's only a 3.5 hour flight from NYC.  Perfect.   

Perhaps one might say that Aruba has a bit of an identity crisis.  You would have one too if you were a country located in the Carribean islands, but part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in close proximity to South America, and with two official languages: Dutch and Papiamento (which is a creole language that combines Portuguese, West African languages, Dutch, and Spanish- wikipedia taught me that). Most natives speak at least three languages, and many speak up to five fluently. Signs are in Dutch, Spanish, Papiamento, and English.

Oranjestad is charming indeed. The people are warm and welcoming, and seem to be perpetually happy in spite of the perpetual traffic.  I still don't understand quite why there's traffic, but again, it adds to the charm of island hopping from Manhattan to Aruba. What a contrast. 

We breezed through this part of town on our way to the Marriott Resort (on a cab ride where the driver suddenly realized he was nearly out of gas. So we stopped to fill up.  Such is the pace of island life), and with all that we saw in a few eye blinks, we just had to go back and explore. And explore we did.

Kyle aptly said that it reminded him of places we'd traveled, but it was unlike anywhere we'd ever been. 










Next up?  Palm Beach, Aruba.  You're going to love it. 

p.s.  This was one of the most difficult blog posts I've ever made because of all the contrasting, clashing color.  You wouldn't believe how long it took me to put this together.  It's kind of embarrassing, actually.  For those of you who blog with a lot of pictures, like I do, you'll know how much time blog posts take anyway, but when nearly every image clashes with the next... sheesh!