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Published: January 11th 2016
For two consecutive summers, our family of 5 has travelled to Barbados for our summer fortnight. A one our flight from our hometown to London Gatwick, then an 8+ hour flight to Grantley Adams Airport on the beautiful island of Barbados.
Barbados lies at the bottom of the Caribbean islands, out on a limb to the east sharing it's coasts with both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It is a tiny, diverse, limestone island surrounded by coral reefs. Barbados has one of the Caribbean's most prosperous economies - tourism, sugar cane and rum production being their main and most crucial revenue.
We travel as a family of five and stayed both times on the beautiful West Coast of the island, or 'Platinum Coast' on a long stretch of beach at the Fairmont Royal Pavillion Hotel. Jet lag has it's privelleges, the main one when traveling from East to West is being wide awake in time for sunrise. The colours reflected between that sea and sky are forever embedded in my mind.
In the four weeks we have spent on the island, we have visited many of the attractions. Well worth squashing the 5 of us in
to a too-small hire car to have a look at each coast and travel across the countryside. Our unanimous favourite would be Bathsheba on the rugged, rough sea East Coast, which is battered by the Atlantic Ocean. Follow on from that a drive up Cherry Tree Hill in St Andrew and a trip round St Nicholas' Abbey in St Peter, a small family rum producer with the most beautiful house and working steam mill - which is in fact one of only 3 remaining genuine Jacobean mansions in the western hemisphere. The Animal Flower Cave in St Lucy at the north of the Island was a top pick for our children, again battered by some very rough seas and the island's only accessible sea cave...well, when the tide is on your side! Mount Gay Rum Distillery offer a very comprehensive tour of their Distillery located just outside Bridgetown, my highlight was enjoying a white rum mojito poured by one of their crafty mixologists at the end of the tour. Although it's a beautiful island to explore on land, it is even more beautiful when viewed from the sea, the calm waters of the caribbean lending themselves to numerous Catamaran trips
up and down the West Coast. We were advised by our hotel on which boat and crew would be the best for our needs, and the good ship 'Good Times' most definitely lived up to it's appropriate name, both times! We were provided with snorkelling gear and enjoyed diving from the catamaran to investigate a shipwreck literally teaming with every colour of tropical fish imaginable. Another dive off the boat further up the coast and we were immersed amongst the giant turtles that live harmoniously along the coastline. They thoroughly enjoy the daily feeding times. We were never timely enough, but in July it is possible to watch them emerge from the sea at night time to lay their eggs on the beach. The locals and hoteliers alike are very protective of the turtles and their eggs, always watching over them and protecting them. A trip to Harrisons Cave, a crystalized limestone cavern which you go deep into and take a solar powered tram tour around was a highlight for the children. The constant little drips of water from the stalagtites can leave you fairly wet, it really is a stunning Bajan wonder.
Food is another part of Bajan
culture which really struck a chord with us. Their cooking and use of local ingredients is simple yet effective and tastes amazing! There are a host of fabulous restaurants on the island, to say we eat like Kings in Barbados would be an understatement. However, I think it always comes back to the ever so simple Flying Fish Cutter, a local delicacy, if you were to ask what we liked best....
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