More fun things to do with your guests….

Are you entertaining friends and family members over the holidays? I had four fun ideas for you, two yesterday, two today….

Walking Tours Oranjestad:  We recently went walking in Oranjestad, I took 6,500 steps, a distance of just under 4.5K, with Mark Benson, who started Aruba Walking Tours, having semi-retired his journalism career. info@arubawalkingtours.com

We met at Cosecha, on Plaza Padu, and took off from there to visit the Bay of Horses, Paardenbaai. First stop, the blue horses next to the Parliament building. We then went on to visit the J.H.A. Eman bust, in front of the governor’s office. Mark gave us a short lesson in history; it was the first time I actually took my eyes off the pavement, to look at the bust, and appreciate the continuous political activism of the Emans.

We continued to Wilhelmina Park, visited the statue of Ann Frank and Nos Reina Stima, right next to her on the square. Mark told some stories along the way, and joked we were walking on water, on terrain reclaimed from the ocean. We paid homage to the 18th of March monument across the park, and continued to Fort Zoutman, peeked into the courtyard, kitchen and holding cells, then climbed 8 flights of stairs to the top of the clock tower for a 360 degrees spectacular panorama.

From the Willem III tower we went to Wilhelminastraat and listened to some more stories about Hotel Colombia and the City Hall complex. We liked the Eloy Arends’ and Maria Lacle, love story which inspired a beautiful home. From there we swung by the Protestant Church – as you know it is alas, not open to the public, via Plaza Daniel Leo to Lolita’s kiosk, for award-winning pastechi. Really delicious!

A stop at the archeological museum revealed the air-conditioning in that place isn’t working, Norwin Maria, pls help! The heat in Museo Arqueologico Aruba is unbearable. What good is a museum if you can’t keep it up?!

We strolled down Schelpstraat into the main street, said Bon Dia at La Linda Department Store to the dandy doorman, then continued our stroll past shops and shoppers to Coco Plum Tropical Terrace. I remember the place from decades ago, it belonged to the Arends family, but it still looks the same under new management. We sampled some fresh Pan Bati, made exhibition style.

On the return via Wilhelminastraat, we wondered why the tourists on the trolley never get off to shop, but remain seated on the benches for the duration of the trip; we heard more stories about historic building, where shop-keepers lived above their stores.

Recommended. Mark gives a good tour; his narrative includes Aruba’s history, traditions, besides the museums and the monuments. The walk is easy! For groups of 10 and more you also get street performers. Starts at 9am at Wilhelminastraat 2.

Aruba Wine & Dine Tour: Starting at Moomba Beach Bar for an appetizer and wine pairing, this is a new attraction offered every Tuesday from 6pm to 8pm, and reservations are required. The tour guide is a professional sommelier, from Mendoza, Argentina. Her name is Fernanda, and she is charming and very knowledgeable.  Guests are then walked across to Hadicurari restaurant for their second appetizer, in our case, we had delicious fresh and plump shrimp over pasta. Fernanda kept pouring the wine, and pointing the subtleties of pairing, out. The main course, at Tango Argentine Restaurant featured a yummy skirt steak. How did we get from Hadicurari to Tango? By bus. Apparently Aruba Wine and Dine operates little tour buses so we were shuttled in style.  After dinner, we were invited to Soprano’s Piano Bar for a liquid dessert, some decadent  chocolate martini with chocolate truffles.  I walked back, and that is how I worked some of the calories I ingested, off. Very fun evening, progressive dinner, four spots in just one soiree…$75.- p.p. www.arubawineanddine.com