In memoriam 'San Fernando'

Soto - Curacao Travel Blog

 › entry 609 of 1090 › view all entries
Soto uses the Dutch village markers

I have written so many weblogs about ghost towns, abandoned structures and other locations that once were the middle of something and now falling apart. Recent examples: The Ghost Lighthouse on Klein Curaçao, the Cinelandia Cinema and the Scharloo Mansions. It always fascinates me and I often wonder how it must have been to be inside the structure in the past when it knew better times. Who would have thought that this would change today. Today I visited a ghost location in which I lived and slept in the past, while it is abandoned and decaying today.

San Fernando anno 2011

In 1989 I visited Curaçao for the first time in my life. I visited it with the Arnhem Interscholastic Youth Orchestra (Arnhems Interscholair Orkest (AIO)). The orchestra was lodged in the "San Fernando boarding school for boys" in the little village of Soto, in the northern part of the island. The students were on vacation so the AIO could use the premises of San Fernando. The institution consisted of four similar L-shaped pavilions. Each with a huge patio, a dormitory, showers, rest rooms, a classroom (used by us as a rehearsal room) and a small kitchen. The pavilions were located between the lush vegetation of the northern part of the island. Goats and all kind of animals roamed the area.

San Fernando anno 2011
It was one of the most perfect rehearsal locations the orchestra ever had during its rehearsal camps. San Fernando must have been a pleasant place for the students as well. Until around about 1994, when financial drawbacks forced San Fernando to close.

I had visited the site back in 1992 when it was still operating. Today Sana and I followed the western route back from Westpunt back to the south, through the beautiful hilly and green landscape of the northern island. When we arrived in Soto we both were very curious to see how San Fernando was doing. Luckily Soto is a real small village so, after some back and forth driving we managed to locate the entrance of the premises. An asphalt road lead away from the main road to the first of the four pavilions. Everything looked normal. The only thing that seemed odd to us was the fact that the vegetation was really abundant, the road seemed smaller.

San Fernando anno 2011
In other words the plants were growing on the road.

When we reached the first pavilion we were both painfully shocked. The beautiful pavilions were covered in vegetation, windows were broken, doors were half opened and rotten, the roof had been blown away on many places and the ceiling plates hung loose. The kitchen units were completely empty, the dorms were messy. Some of them contained some rusty beds, other contained rusty printers and other office material. A kid's racetrack was found in one of the storage rooms. The only part that still looked a bit normal was the showers and toilet area.

In my memory I clearly saw the tables on the porch where the orchestra ate its meals, and I recalled the specific penetrating smell of the disinfectant soap used to sweep the floors of the dorms with.

San Fernando in better times (1989)
Now there was only rubble, dirt, and broken glass. The only positive thing I could think of was that despite sixteen years of desolation and decay nobody had disgraced the ruins by applying gratify.

The vegetation around the buildings was so lush that at a certain point we were more or less lost and had to use the GPS to head back to our car. We both felt extremely sad. Sad for the good place this used to be, sad for the students that lost their school and sad for the future of this place.

More pictures below. Deze fake-tekst heb ik toegevoegd om net iets meer regels te genereren zodat deze rare website toestaat dat de bijgesloten foto ook vertoond wordt. Deze fake

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Soto uses the Dutch village markers
Soto uses the Dutch village markers
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando in better times (1989)
San Fernando in better times (1989)
On our way to Soto. The beautiful …
On our way to Soto. The beautiful…
On our way to Soto. The beautiful …
On our way to Soto. The beautiful…
Another Landhuis on our way
Another Landhuis on our way
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando anno 2011
San Fernando in better times (1989)
San Fernando in better times (1989)
Soto - Curacao
photo by: mdalamers