The February half-moon lingers above a horizon gently lit by distant hotels. Colored lights shimmer beneath the gently rippling surface of the swimming pool. We sit at a small round table with the ever-present Aruba breeze tousling our hair and moving the fronds of tall palm trees scattered throughout the expansive patio. Two-and-three story time-share apartment buildings, elegantly finished in pink stucco with curved arches and white columns, create a circle of beauty around the pool. We could find this setting in Europe or California or Florida, but this is Aruba. Every day the sky is brilliant blue and the temperature 82*, evening temperature 79*.
We are skipping ahead from a year ago and our first date. Date’s #2-5 were beautiful and unforgettable but we’ll fill you in on those another day. This is Date #6 and too exciting not to share now.
Jan loves vacationing at tropical locations to escape dreary Dutch winters. Aruba is one of three islands in the Caribbean claimed by the Dutch several hundred years ago. Although it is independent, it is still deeply associated with Dutch government and people. Its main economy in the 20th century was oil refineries that served Venezuela. After that collapsed, they turned their attention to tourism. Aruba has a very consistent climate, some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and a social structure which makes it a safe and inviting place to visit.
Dutch and Papiamento are the official languages but English and Spanish are spoken by everyone. More than ninety nationalities are represented in the population. The feeling is very international.
Aruba has amazing grocery stores with every possible food from the Netherlands, the US as well as Indonesian, Hispanic and other ethnic tastes. Happily, Jan loves to cook and was inspired by the selection. Every night he creates delicious dinners for us.
Through a contact of Jan’s we were able to stay at the beautiful Caribbean Palm Village Resort. It has all the amenities one wants on a tropical holiday and is a perfect starting and ending point for exploring the island.
Our biggest physical challenge was climbing the Hooiberg for sunrise. Nicknamed the Haystack it is like a big mountain hill in the center for the island; all rock left from earthquakes that formed the island millions of years ago. There are 670 steps going straight up it’s 541 foot height. We didn’t ask advice about it before we set out in the dark last Wednesday morning. Just as well. We are surprised how many regular tourists and locals have never climbed it. They think it is too challenging. It took three days for our calf muscles to recover but we did it! We got to the top just in time for sunrise!
We met some nice women from New Jersey by the pool one Happy Hour. We explained that we flew in from different countries for a three-week date, our Date #6, and that Jan cooks all the meals. Contemplating this one of the women looked at Maggie exclaiming, “You’re living a Fairy Tale life!”
Then we added that Jan is a licensed massage therapist also so Maggie gets massages along the way and Maggie does excellent foot massages for him with her Young Living Essential Oils. One of the other women threw her hands up and shaking her head with a laugh added, ‘NO! that’s TOO much! Really! A Fairy Tale Life!”
We agree. A Fairy Tale Life. We have more moments to share with you. Right now, however, we are sitting here in the soft evening breeze wishing this will never end and you were here with us for this magical moment.