We met Joop the first time we tried to clear in to Curaçao and he saved the day. A few days ago we met Jill and Joop at a nearby bar. There are people you just enjoy being with from the first minute and these two definitely fit in that category. It felt like we had only been talking for an hour when we were asked to pay and go home as the bar was shutting.
The next day we cycled the long way round to their house via Willemstad and Fort Nassau (which is of course on top of a hill). We were met with cold beers to be drunk in the swimming pool. This was followed by a fantastic Thai meal and a few more drinks. Jill runs a great restaurant for the select few guests. A few more drinks and it was agreed that we would stay the night and see if we could sleep on land or remember how to use a shower.
The following morning we were fed up on coffee, muesli and home made smoothies before being sent off for a bike ride with Joop.
As a job Joop used to fly out to ships off Rotterdam by helicopter once the wind reached force 9 and then get dropped by rope on to the containers below. He also tried to stop tugs tipping over in hundred foot waves by hiding up Norwegian Fjords. Nowadays he “just” leaps from pilot boats on to cruise ships or cargo ships. His hobbies are snowboarding, skiing, surfing, mountain biking, road biking and kite surfing. He once cycled up Teidi three times in one day! We should have guessed this wasn’t going to be a gentle wander round the island.
The speed was “fast” but the route was fantastic. We crossed desert, volcanic coastline, cactus forests, salt flats and beaches. We passed blow holes, wind generators, kite surfers and dead goats. A truly amazing cycle ride. A few times we were allowed a quick pause before being reminded “we aren’t tourists” and encouraged to set off again. At a beach we were allowed a stop long enough to eat an apple. If we do this every day we may be as fit as Joop once we reach his age.
Back at the house Jill had prepared another dream meal. We barely had time for the cold beer that was pressed in our hands before plates of mushroom, noodle, prawn taste bud explosion were set before us. This is the way to live!
Thank you Jill and Joop for all your time and a brilliant Curaçao experience.
The route back to the boat is here.