Here is a quick synopsis of my trip 12/28/13 – 1/5/14
Had the 11am flight out of Newark, hopefully I never have to fly the later flight -- I much rather get to the Island before dark. Since we had multiple families coming down with us - I rented an extra car from Budget so we wouldnt all be stuck together of we decided to do different things. They were out of Toyota Corolla's as I had reserved and I wound up with a brand new Jeep Wrangler less than 2000km on the odometer. We got to our condo at Gold Coast around 7pm or so. My sis-in-law (Megan) and her boyfriend (Freddie) had arrived a day earlier and had done some shopping. We had a couple drinks and unpacked. Freddie and I decided to go pick up some Casa Tua for dinner. We took a ride down to Casa Tua and ordered a few pies. It was extremely busy. I waited in the car, and for some reason they decided to let Freddie wait for his pizzas in the kitchen while they gave him free beers. My wife(Karen) and our 2 year old daughter (Mia) went to bed early while, Freddie, Megan and myself hung out drinking some beers planning the upcoming days.
Started the day with a quick trip over to Ling and Sons to pick up any additional items we might need for the week. Ran a few other errands including picking up my fireworks for new year’s eve, and was back at the Condo by 10. We then had a very relaxing day by the pool. Being the last Sunday of football season I decided to run over to the Marriott casino to place a few sports wagers. On the way out of the casino there was a slot machine that was speaking to me. I put a $20 bill in and hit a small $800 jackpot… I was ecstatic. I actually was starting my week up!!! Had dinner at Aqua Grill which was our first time there and it was excellent. I accidently tipped an additional 20% on top of the 15% surcharge so it wound up being the most expensive dinner of the trip. Fresh seafood and fantastic drinks though – I wonder why I never visited her on our previous trips.
This day started very early for me when I heard the power go out around 2am. I am not sure how much of the Island was out – but I did go outside and get a spectacular view of the stars. I had trouble sleeping because the AC was out and it was very warm. And all I kept thinking was, that the power wasn’t going to return and our $300 in groceries was going to go bad. At around 8:30am the power came back on. Just in time for us to cook some breakfast and take the trip down to Baby Beach. Arrived just in time to score one of the large huts on Baby Beach. We relaxed for a couple hours and enjoyed the warm sun. Around 12:30 we decided we had enough sun for the moment and headed back towards home. We stopped at Zeerovers for a wonderful fish and shrimp lunch. Zeerovers is always a great stop. Fresh fish and shrimp fried to perfection. We had a few beers and headed back to the condo and spent the afternoon at the pool. Dinner was at Chalet Suisse which I think is my current favorite restaurant on the Island. I always leave there with a smile on my face. Mia was sleeping after dinner so we took Megan and Freddie over to the Alhambra Casino for a glass of wine and a little gambling.
Fresh fish and shrimp fried to perfection. We had a few beers and headed back to the condo and spent the afternoon at the pool. Dinner was at Chalet Suisse which I think is my current favorite restaurant on the Island. I always leave their with a smile on my face. Mia was sleeping after dinner so we took Megan and Freddie over to the Alhambra Casino for a glass of wine and a little gambling.
Day 4 – New Year’s Eve
This was Megan and Freddie’s last full day in Aruba. The morning was for Karen and Megan. I had purchased them a spa package at Spa Del Sol at Manchebo beach. Freddie and I were two helpless men with a 2 year old girl. We had breakfast with Mia at Linda’s Dutch Pancakes and then went downtown to look at wristwatches (I had the casino money burning a hole in my pocket). We didn’t find a watch but did pick up a few souvenirs.
I had always wanted to visit the Palmeira Rum factory store but when we pulled up we found out the factory store had moved. We found where the store moved to and had a nice rum tasting and picked up a bottle of coconut rum. We then headed over to meet the girls at Manchebo Beach. Being that it was New Year’s Eve – people were starting to do Pagara’s everywhere and it was starting to get loud already at only 11:30am.
We mostly spent the rest of the day by the pool having a few drinks and hanging out. Mia’s swimming ability was improving daily. She can now get around the pool with her floaties and no one pushing or pulling her. We went up to the lighthouse for sunset and had a nice toast. We had dinner at Taste of Belgium which never disappoints. I love the beer selection and the dessert waffles. I tried the escargot / smoked salmon on a flatbread which was very different then how I have eaten escargot in the past. It was excellent. We returned back to the condo for the evening and spent the night in front of the condo setting off our Pagara and a bunch of fireworks. Mia woke up around 11:45 and celebrated the New Year with us. We proceeded to go for a midnite swim. Nothing beats ringing in the New Year in 80 degree weather!
We started with an early trip to Arashi beach. The beach was pretty busy being that it was New Year’s day. Exploded fireworks lined the parking lot. We rented a few chairs and grabbed a palapa. We only spent an hour or so on the beach and had to get back so Megan and Freddie could finish their packing. I cooked some lunch and we ate and said our goodbyes. They headed to the airport. Karen, Mia and I spent the remainder of the day by the pool / relaxing in the house. For dinner we decided on Bingo! Being that we had eaten pretty heavily on the trip so far we decided to have salads. I love Bingo!, it is a great little spot that is never very touristy and the staff there is always super friendly.
We headed out early to pick up a few items at the supermarket but the main supermarkets were still closed due to the holidays. We found a small bakery that was open and picked up some rolls and apple strudels. We found a smaller supermarket on one of the back roads and picked up the essentials (beer and orange juice). We spent some time at the pool and BBQ’d lunch. This was another lazy afternoon at the pool. It was raining on an off all day. So we spent a lot of the day hiding from the rain. We had dinner down by the Renaissance at Hung Paradise. For Aruba Chinese food it was OK – but I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat it again. It was an inexpensive dinner and it left us full. I went into the Seaport casino to use the men’s room and left $100 richer! I went out later that evening to the Marriott casino and won another $150 on the same machine I had won $800 earlier in the week.
This may have been the laziest day of the trip. I don’t remember going anywhere! Just hanging by the pool etc. We made reservations at Azzuro at the Playa Linda which was OK. We had eaten there in June and I remembered it being much better. But it could be that we were with a large group the last time and we were having a blast and I wasn’t focusing on the food. We stopped at one of the malls after dinner and had frozen yogurt.
Stopped in at Super Food and picked up a couple small items and a few food type items I wanted to bring home. We stopped by the new Ritz Carlton to check it out and place a few sports bets in the casino. I was very underwhelmed by the Ritz. The lobby is nicely lit with a great view, but it feels small and under decorated. I think maybe it just needs some time and a decorator. Relaxed by the pool and talked with the neighbors. I took another ride downtown to buy the watch I had picked out at Little Switzerland. Our dinner was at Pincho’s which on each of our 11(?) trips to Aruba we have eaten at EVERY time. Dinner was good. I like Pincho’s because the food is good but not heavy and you can’t beat the sunset from their dock. We got back to the condo and Karen and Mia went to bed. I went to Moomba Beach and the Marriott to watch the football games.
Time to pack up and head home. We squeezed a few more hours of pool time in and then cleaned up the condo and gathered our stuff. We got to the airport at 1 for a 4:30 flight and got through security and everything else in record time. Our flight was delayed a few minutes and we were back on our way to the Polar Vortex in NJ!
Great trip--- never lasts long enough. We did a few new things and lots of things that we had done previously and we knew we loved. Aruba is always fun and I can’t wait to get back in 6 months!