If England can prolong their first Test with the West Indies into a final day, this will have been my only full non-cricket day on the island of Antigua.
After my day out and about the island, I can firmly say that I prefer it to Barbados. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed Barbados, this island has far more natural beauty and the villages appear more picturesque at first sight.
We embarked on a full island tour today, starting out from our resort straight after breakfast this morning, and arriving back just before dinner. We saw some of the most staggering natural sights it has even been my pleasure to set eyes on.
Devil’s Bridge offered sweeping views of the violent and swirling Atlantic Ocean, and a clear sight of the eastern coastline of this island. The contrast between the eastern Atlantic coast, and the western Caribbean coast could not have been more marked; the ferociousness of the Atlantic was a match for the tranquillity of the Caribbean Sea.
We also had the pleasure of spending some time at the impossibly beautiful Valley Church Beach. For years I had believed that the ocean was only a clear turquoise in picture postcards, and hugely misleading holiday brochures. Thankfully, today that notion was entirely dispelled. The water at the Valley Church Beach was of the most impeccable clarity, and easily the most beautiful place it’s ever been my good fortune to set foot upon. The quietness of the beach only added to the tranquillity of the visit, few people were wandering the shores, and it felt as if I was an entire world away from home – and I suppose I am. Forgive me if I’m being a bit gushing, but this was truly the most beautiful place I’ve ever laid eyes on.
Aside from the staggering natural beauties that Antigua has to offer, we were also treated to visits to two Test match venues. Firstly, we checked in on the Sir Viv Richards Stadium where England and the West Indies will start their Test series tomorrow. The ease with which we were able to drive through the gates and take a look at the West Indies netting was surprising but brilliant. The ground itself looked immaculate, and I can’t wait to get there in the morning and see the place ready for business. There are hundreds of English over here, but also tomorrow has been declared a Bank holiday here on Antigua, so I’m hopeful of a large local following too.
We also visited the famous old Antigua Recreation Ground in central St Johns. The ground itself is in some disrepair now, but it still retains a certain charm. The ground is now regularly used for Football and school sports as opposed to Test matches, but the charm remains. The old ground exudes a certain atmosphere that the modern Test venues I have visited have failed to live up to. It was simply an honour to be at the same ground where the magician Brian Lara broke the world Test run record twice in a decade.
This island really does appear to be a Caribbean paradise The trip so far has been entirely spectacular and relaxing, here’s hoping that the England side can keep their side of the deal over the next 5 days.