So today on our second full day on the beautiful island of Barbados we managed to see pretty much everything this place has to offer.
Up at the crack of dawn and onto our tour we went. The four of us were taken around the island for the day by a very friendly local German guide, who seemed to have a story for every shop, restaurant or bar we passed.
The tour we took today gave us a full lap of the island, not a huge distance, but on Barbadian roads it took us all day. Starting from our base in Bridgetown we wound our way into the city centre and saw the splendid colonial buildings including the Barbadian parliament, the third oldest in the world don’t you know…
As we swung past the famous Kensignton Oval we made our way out towards the famous west coast. Here the homes of the rich and famous, including Simon Cowell, Rihanna and Roman Abramovich, sat side by side with what I can only describe as shanty style houses. The visible difference between the wealth in very enclosed areas is truly very surprising.
We then rolled up the west coast to the exclusive ‘Sandy Lane’ resort and were treated to views of both opulent mansions and also an immaculate golf course, whose previous residents have included Tiger Woods. The celebrities that chose to set up base in Barbados fascinate me, on the one hand their wealth seems embarrassingly brash in comparison to the locals, but then they also bring so much money into the island, be it through tourism or the very heavy tax they pay on imported goods.
We took a break at St Nicholas Abbey in the inland northern area of the island. The Abbey dates back to the 17th century, and is still producing the world famous St Nicholas Abbey rum to this day. After a quick tour of the old colonial house, where the former owners include a couple of Cumberbatch’s, we headed for the grinding house where the locals were still grinding the sugar can through their steam mangle.
Lunch was full of surprises, in a variety of ways. Firstly the location itself was breath taking, high on the cliffs of North Point, the views across the Atlantic were unparalleled. Our tour guide had told us that she had heard that whales had been spotted off the north coast in recent weeks, but she had only ever seen them once in the 20 years she has lived here. But as we took our table for lunch, lo and behold we saw away in he distance, the funnel of water rising, and fin splashing, as a whale swam across the ocean. It was entirely unexpected and a memory I will forever remember of my time in Barbados.
If that wasn’t enough, we were then ‘treated’ to the sight of a celebrity within our midst. Looking very tanned, a little dishevelled and in a union jack T-shirt Cliff Richard entered the restaurant with some friends and tucked into his lunch. If you told me that my time in Barbados would be spent whale watching with Cliff Richard I wouldn’t believe you, but that is how I spent my lunchtime today.
After lunch we took in the more rugged and windswept east coast, where the island is much more covered in vegetation and there are many cotton fields and banana plantations. The weather on this side of the island was also more wild and it was certainly a few degrees colder, although it was hardly cold compared to home.
We finished our day by bouncing along the southern beaches of Bottom Bay Carlisle Bay, before finishing up back at our hotel. At the end of our 9-hour trip, we were left educated, happy and extremely exhausted. This evening there was just time for a quick dip in the pool and a bit to eat at the local Bajan restaurant before crashing into bed.
Tomorrow, I’m hoping to get a chance to have a proper look at the Kensington Oval, as well as a chance to spend more time on the west coast, sampling some of the great restaurants over there.