The Bearded one

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Central America Caribbean » Barbados » Bridgetown
December 13th 2012
Published: June 22nd 2017
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Geo: 13.11, -59.61

A lovely sunny day with a light breeze greeted us when we docked at Bridgetown, Barbados. The island was named after the bearded fig, a type of tree which has hanging threads on it which look like beards. Our first visit was to Gun Hill Point. This is a restored lookout tower high on a hill. Several of these were built following the slave riots on the sugar plantations. Communication between them was by signals by flags during the day and beacons at night. If there was a problem the cannon would be fired before the flag messages went up. Only this one tower now remains. After this we drove through several parishes all named after Saints and noted the different type of housing – rich, poor and middle class all mixed up in each parish. Every parish has its church and close by to the church is a Rum shop, so the women could go to church while the men go for a drink of rum! The poorest housing is called a Chattell house. These are wooden constructions standing on stones and were owned by the workers on plantations. If the owner didn't like the people he could throw them off the land at any time, so they would dismantle the house and move elsewhere. The next stop was at the Orchid Farm. We had heard that this would be a spectacular display but many of the orchids were not in bloom so it was a bit disappointing, but we did see some lovely flowers and the visit was completed by a glass of rum punch. Finally we visited Sunbury Plantation house, which was built over 300 years ago when riches were to be made by owning a sugar plantation worked by slaves. The house later became a museum and is looked after by the Barbados National Trust. It contains some beautiful furniture and numerous antiques. The cellars contain the largest collection of antique carriages in the Caribbean. At the end of this visit we were again treated to various types of rum punch as well as some battered salt cod which was very tasty. We passed through the centre of Bridgetown on the way back to the ship. Many roads are named after famous cricketers, the greatest one being Gary Sobers, cricket being the national sport. This was our second visit to Barbados and we both think it is the best of the Caribbean islands we have visited so far.

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