Barbados

In 1998, Neil and I went to Barbados with our 8 year-old son, Philip. We spent a week in that country, and it was too short a break. We left London Gatwick on a scheduled Virgin Atlantic direct flight to the Grantley Adams International airport in the South of the Island. The flight took some time, I think it was 8 hours, but the individual movies and free Kids Pack kept Philip amused, and the time passed relatively quickly.

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Sugar Cane Club

On arrival at the airport we were ushered onto a bus, to take us to our hotel in the Northwest of the island, near Speightstown, but because it was dark by now we didn't see much of the countryside. We stayed at a small, friendly hotel called the Sugar Cane Club. The rooms were basic, but clean and had large folding French windows that you could open fully to have essentially one whole wall open to the elements. The hotel had a lovely pool that was open all hours, unlike most of the more modern hotels, which tend to shut their pools after dusk.

Mullins Beach

The hotel ran a courtesy bus to the beach, which was just South of Speightstown, called Mullins Beach. It was beautiful, with a beach bar and restaurant, which served very good food. Philip got hooked on flying fish for lunch. When you wanted to go back, the staff was only too willing to phone the hotel to have Donald, the driver, to bring the van to take you back.

Island tour

We hired a car for three days to see some of the island. On the first day we went to the North to see the wild Atlantic waves lashing the coastline. The place to visit there is the "Animal Flower Cave". The "animal flowers" are sea anemones and the cave is well worth a visit. From there we went down the East coast as far as Bathsheba. At Gay's Cove we saw some spectacular scenery with large numbers of "blow-holes" in the rocks and waves which continually pounded the shore. We then cut back across country to the hotel, stopping off along the way at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve, Farley Hill. Here we saw loads of animals, many of them, such as monkeys, deer and tortoises uncaged. We enjoyed it there too.

Flower Forest

On the second day we toured around the middle of the island and saw "Harrison's Caves" and the "Flower Forest". The latter was not easy to find and we spent some time going round in circles before we arrived, but the trip was well worth it. The landscaped grounds, plants, shrubs and trees were absolutely beautiful to see. You can walk around to your heart's content and every now and then you turn a corner to sweeping views of the coastline.

Crane Beach

On the last day of touring we visited the South of the island. The most spectacular beach on the South coast is Crane Beach. It is generally regarded as being one of the top ten beaches in the world, and this reputation is well deserved. The white sand is so fine that it resembles flour. The sea is so clean that you can see right through some of the large rolling waves that come into shore. Parts of the beach have gentle waves while other parts have six to ten foot waves breaking. You need to see it to appreciate its beauty. We could have spent days just on that beach. The only problem was in navigating around the capital, Bridgetown, on the way back, it wasn't easy.

Submarine

The next day we took a trip on a submarine called, yes you've guessed it, the "Atlantis", which is moored at the Wharf, Bridgetown Harbour. I was a bit apprehensive at first as I can tend to get claustrophobic, but all three of us loved it. We went onto the reef down to a depth of 145 feet, and saw the most amazing fish and coral. Philip was proud of being the first to identify a Barracuda on the reef. It was a magical trip and one not to be missed.

Catamaran

The following day we took a trip on a catamaran called "Cool Running". It was absolutely superb. The crew were so friendly, and your glass was never empty. Philip, whom we always have to nag to drink, was proud of the fact that he had downed 15 glasses of Sprite on that trip. We went to Folkestone Beach, where we jumped into the water with our snorkels on (Philip also had a life jacket) to swim with the turtles that come there to feed. The water was crystal clear and the turtles and fish were stupendous. We then went to another beach, just South of the capital, Bridgetown, to dive on a wreck. The day was perfect and we would have gone on the boat the next day, had it been running that day.

Folkestone Marine Park

On our final full day we took it easy and caught a bus to Folkestone Marine Park to laze in the sun and do some snorkelling. The next day we paid our last visit to Mullins Beach and had our last swim, sunbathe and lunch there, before getting Donald to bring us back to the hotel to catch the coach to the airport.

Summary

Barbados is a wonderful place. The people there are so friendly. You should always greet them when you go in the shops and they are almost always polite to you. It is strange to walk around a corner to see a game of cricket, that most civilized of sports, being played on a small village green. You could almost be back in England, apart from the weather. I haven't mentioned the golf out there, of which there are quite a few courses. We didn't play, as we feel that we can play golf at home and like to do other things while on holiday that we can't do back home. We will certainly go back, and I would advise anyone to go there.

Book

There is a very good book "Barbados" one of the " Insight Guides" by APA Publications.

Sue - December 1998

 
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