When she was walking down the main road in Otrobanda, Nelly Rosa would always fantasize about the red building with its charming balcony. She initially went to look at another Monument Foundation home, but when she found out this upstairs apartment was available, she knew this is where she wanted to be.
Falling in love with Otrobanda
Nelly’s love affair with Otrobanda began when she came back to the island in 2010 and a friend of hers lived in the alleyways in a historical ‘kura’ with multiple units. “It was really my dream to live in a building like that – the atmosphere was just incredible.” The radio station she was working for was located on the Klipstraat and every afternoon Nelly ventured out onto the floating bridge to record a public opinion piece. The connection to the inner city stayed and about a year ago she moved to a privately owned home on the Curacaostraat.
“One of the things I really liked at that location was how close-knit the community was,” Nelly recalls. “Fundashon Ser’i Otrobanda was also active there, with social events and they also provided a platform for any possible issues in the area.” She reckons that one of the main advantages of living down-town is the contact with the neighbors. She would definitely recommend anyone to move to town. It is versatile and meets many needs. Willemstad is alive, even on the weekends.
Nelly moved to the Breedestraat early June. Her top floor apartment has three bedrooms, and a large balcony that adds to the living space. She removed a partition between one of the bedrooms and the living room to create a dining room and improve the flow between the living and the kitchen.
Nelly’s interior style is warm and a little retro. She feels her style shines here because of the high ceilings. Is she done furnishing her house? She starts laughing. “I’m mostly done, but don’t look into the second bedroom! I have a problem throwing things away, so now on the stairs coming up I have all my magazines.”
The pros and cons of down-town living
“Otrobanda is really like a village, everyone knows one-another.” For Nelly this really counts as an advantage. “For a family with small kids living on a busy street like Breedestraat is probably not ideal, but the alleys and ‘hofi’s on the other hand give kids a lot of freedom in playing on the street when growing up.” She also recommends it for young professionals and couples without kids or elderly people. There is always something happening and you are very centrally located. She feels very safe. She parks her car in one of the alleys and noticed that the neighborhood is always keeping an eye out. One disadvantage is parking, especially during the day. If getting a parking permit was possible she would do it.
Nelly says she is inspired by the amount of young people from Curacao are engaged in fixing and renting out heritage buildings to tourists. She hopes to be able to do the same some day. But for now she is happy where she is. “I don’t think I’ll ever regret moving to town… I don’t think anyone would. It’s just amazing!”
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