All that snow was getting us down (well, not really, but the season had drawn to a close), so for the first May bank holiday weekend (plus a couple of extra days) we decided to head to the warmth of the Caribbean for a few days in the sun.
So, what is there to know about Barbados?:
* No one heads there for 'just a few days'. Some people are there for 'only a week', but the majority for 12 - 14 days. They look with compassion on the inexperienced who book for a shorter time.
* Barbados means 'bearded' - although there are a number of opinions on how this name came about. Was it because of mosses hanging from trees which look like beards? Was it the beards of the locals? Was it that the froth caused by the waves on the coral around the island looks like a beard? Who knows...
* Although now independant of British rule, Queen Elizabeth II remains head of state..
* It is surprisingly close to South America.
* The island is primarily made from limestone coral.
* Sugar, rum and molasses are its major exports.
* Cricket is the national
sport and they are pretty proud that in 2007 they hosted the final of the Cricket World Cup (which Australia won!!)
* It has poisonous trees (no, really). Not only is the fruit poisonous, so is the sap - so much so that if you stand under the trees in the rain, your skin will be burned.
* It used to be called 'The land of the flying fish' - and the flying fish is the national fish of Barbados. Does Australia have a national fish? We saw some - they were way cool. They really do fly. We ate some (they are one of the traditional Barbadian foods), they were delicious.
* The national dish is Cou Cou (cornmeal and okra) and flying fish.
We did not really get up to much in Barbados. There was not time. I mean, after the buffet breakfast, it was time to lie on the beach. At 11, cold bottles of water in ice buckets were brought around. After a dip, it was time for lunch. Then, between 3 and 4, ice creams and mini fruit salad cups are brought to your lounge chair on the beach. 4.30pm is time for
afternoon tea and cakes, 6 pm is sunset. The, all of a sudden, it is time for dinner. When you factor in a couple more swims, some bookreading and, if feeling energetic, a walk on the beach, you can understand why there was not much time for sightseeing. And yes, it is fair to say that we spent most of our time eating. Nothing wrong with that is there? That is what happens when you stay somewhere posh.
We did manage to check out Bridgetown, the capital. While it has no fancy buildings, or notable sights, there was quite an interesting museum display about the history of Barbados, especially appropriate for a rainy day (luckily there was only one, and it only really rained for half the day).
The only other thing we did was spend a half day on a catameran so that we could snorkel on some shipwrecks (the more modern kind) and swim with the turtles. That was awesome. I love turtles. And yes, it is a tough life.
There was quite a funny episode with one of the tourists from another boat. Our captain had specifically warned us not to chase or try
and touch the turtles, or we would end up scaring them away and ruining it for everyone. This bloke kept swimming after the turtles,swimming really close to them and touching their shells. It appeared to make the turtles quite cross. One in particular eventually had had anough, and as the guy was surfacing, surfaced with him and snaped its mouth very close to his face. Gave the guy quite a (deserved) shock!!
The best bit was where I ended up swimming on my own with a turtle, as everyone was around the other side of the boat where the turtlew were being fed. There was also a load of other fish and a few stingrays, so the whole experience was pretty cool.
Only downside of Barbados is that the restaurant food is quite expensive. We did go to one posh restaurant called The Cliff, which was in a fab location, right on the beachside.
Oh yeah - here is a joke. Where do sheep go on holidays? Baaa-bados of course!!
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