40th (Ruby) Wedding Anniversary Cruise
Barbados - Caribbean
DAY 11 - 15/2/2018 Landed in BRIDGETOWN , BARBADOS, Windward Islands, West Indies
" Woah, I'm going to Barbados, back to the palm trees, in the sunny Caribbean sea "
It was our 40th Wedding Anniversary treat, what you might call our Ruby cruise! We landed in Bridgetown and went on the Coast to Coast excursion which was a great way to get a look and feel of the diversity of the island.We especially liked the flowers and the lovely beach town of Bathsheba. On the trip we drove through Bridgetown, originaly known as Indian Bridge, named after the old bridge which crosses the Constituition River. On the trip we visited the highest point, St Johns church with great views over the Caribbean sea. There are quite a few pictures taken there. Here is an extract from plaque on the church wall " This beautiful church is on the site of the earliest wooden church of 1645.The first stone church was built in 1660, for 110,000 pounds of sugar. It was badly damaged in the 1675 hurricane and rebuilt in 1676-7. This church was badly damaged in the 1780 hurricane, restored and destroyed in the 1831 hurricane. The present fourth church was completed in 1836 and the chancel added in 1876. Its pure
Gothic design was influenced by Bishop William Hart Coleridge, first Anglican Bishop.The Vestry Hall above was the meeting place of the Parish Vestry, comprising elected landowners, which ran the affairs of the Parish until 1939. It is named for church patriarchs Mr. Eustace Gill and Mr.Thorne Gollop.". After the trip we took a walk through the craft market listening to the rap music in the sun, had a look at the fish market , flying fish is a local delicacy, and a stroll back along the waterfront gardens in Bridgetown. It was a very hot day. Keef especially liked adding to his collection of photos of world cricket venues with a snap of the Kensington Oval. If you would like to read the detailed BLOG of the trip including the Captains log please CLICK HERE Now remind me who was Captain Tobias Willcox?
Your guide to Barbados
Beautiful beaches, warm blue sea and sun-drenched days, Barbados offers all the features of a tropical island. Its people are especially warm and welcoming and there is still an inescapable colonial ‘feel’ that adds to the island’s unique atmosphere and special style.
Barbados is the most easterly island in the West Indies, out of the chain of Leeward and Windward Islands. The island stands in splendid isolation with the powerful Atlantic Ocean on its east coast and the clear, calm waters of the Caribbean Sea on the south and west coasts. Measuring 21 miles long and 14 miles at its widest point (and with an overall area of only 166 square miles), the island is scarcely larger than the Isle of Wight. Mount Hillaby, in the northern centre is the highest point at 1,115 feet. The climate is a holiday-maker’s dream - tropical, but tempered by the sea breeze from the north-east. The temperature hardly varies from 24 - 27°C (75 - 80°F) and humidity is pleasantly low.
From its founding in 1627 to its independence in 1966, the island was a British colony and, unlike the rest of its Caribbean neighbours, was never taken by force. It has an endearing blend of British and West Indian cultures, which allied to the Bajan’s reputation as the friendliest people in the Caribbean, weaves a potent spell.
Bridgetown - the Capital
Cruise ships berth just outside of Bridgetown, and almost at once you realise why Barbados is known throughout the Caribbean as ‘Little England’. The market town atmosphere, Georgian houses, Parliament Square, neo-Gothic public buildings, and cricket ground, to say nothing of the signposts to Hastings and Worthing, all contribute to the impression. Of the total population of nearly 300,000 people, more than a third of them live in the capital, Bridgetown.
An inlet of the sea, which cuts right into the heart of the town and its wharf is a fascinating melee of colour and energy. Merchant and navy sailing ships used to lie aground here at low tide for hull repairs.
It is now a pleasant marina where small yachts and pleasure craft moor. Larger yachts, of which there is no shortage in the Caribbean, anchor just south of the town in Carlisle Bay.
This is the civic heart of the town, and its focal point is the statue of Nelson, erected in 1813 on the site of ‘The Green’ where hansom cabs once waited for fares. The Admiral spent some time here during his command of the naval station at English Harbour, Antigua. In the square stand the Renaissance-style Public Buildings of coral rock and the island’s chief administrative offices (opened in 1874). Here the Barbados Parliament meets and conducts its work. The open arcades have Gothic instead of the usual rounded arches, and the windows are stained glass portraits of all the monarchs of Great Britain from James I. In the neighbouring streets there are a number of elegant Georgian houses, now used mainly as shops or offices, though some are still privately occupied.
This Mansion, in Bay Street, is one of the great houses of the past, with parts dating back to 1750.
St Michael’s Cathedral, off St Michael’s Row, originally 17th century, was rebuilt in coral rock in 1780 after being destroyed in a hurricane. The font dates from 1680 and has inscribed round the top in capital letters a Greek palindrome of which the translation is ‘Wash the sin, not merely the skin’.
A serene white mansion with flower-filled gardens, lies to the east of the Cathedral on the edge of the town. This is the official office and residence of the Governor general of Barbados.
On the Garrison, 1 1 /2 miles south of the town is a block of red brick buildings, once the quarters of British officers and NCOs. Since 1905, it’s been occupied by government and public officials. Also note the Main Guard House with Clock Tower.
The Garrison Savannah
The Garrison Savannah was formerly the parade ground for Britain’s largest overseas garrison. Today it’s a lovely expanse of 50 acres devoted to walking, recreation and sport and it’s ringed by a horse racing track. The building with the clock tower, once the guard room, also used to house the famous Savannah Club. Queen’s Park
When the garrison left Barbados in 1905, Queen’s House, the official residence of the officer commanding the troops, was purchased by the Government. The grounds, now known as Queen’s Park, were laid out with a lake, terrace and parterres and were opened to the public in 1909. Look out for the Baobab tree that’s over 1000 years old.
Nearby is the Barbados Museum, housed in a former British military prison. The Museum takes you on a fascinating journey from the pre-Columbian period, through Barbados’ history to modern times. On display is some fine furniture imported from England in the 18th century to grace the mansions of the rich plantation owners.
The reference library documents the history of the island, exhibiting old newspapers, books and records of interest. There are also displays of geology and natural history. Art and other exhibitions are regularly arranged. The Museum is open Monday to Saturday from 9.00am - 5.00pm. (except public holidays - when it closes) and from 2.00pm - 6.00pm on Sundays.
George Washington’s House
This house stands on Bush Hill, a mile from the town centre. It was acquired by the Barbados National Trust and is a popular historical tourist attraction. The great American statesman visited Barbados in 1751 when he was a 19-year-old major in the British army. With his brother he stayed seven weeks and is reported to have rented the house for £15 a month ‘exclusive of liquor and washing’. Open from Monday - Friday from 9.00am -4.30pm.
The Jewish Synagogue dates back to the 1650s, making it one of the two oldest synagogues in the western hemisphere. It is a Barbados National Trust protected building and is a must for anyone interested in cultural and archaeological history.
Not only has the structure been preserved, but the Synagogue has been restored to its original purpose as a house of prayer. The Synagogue is located on Synagogue Lane and is open Monday - Friday 9.00am -12.00 noon and 1.00pm -4.00pm.
Kensington Oval Cricket Ground
Sports lovers may stretch their legs with the short stroll from the centre of Bridgetown to the Kensington Oval Cricket Ground where the West Indies have so often demonstrated their flair and brilliance at the game which is not only a national passion, but also the most concrete bond between the countries of the Caribbean. On any beach or clear patch of ground in Barbados you may see a game of cricket being played, and perhaps catch a glimpse of a youngster with enough talent to follow in the footsteps of the hero of the island, the great Sir Garfield Sobers.
At only 21 miles from north to south, and 14 miles east to west, no part of Barbados is far from reach. With the exception of the Scotland district in the north-east, the island is of coral formation and is almost surrounded (except at its one harbour and the open roadstead of Carlisle Bay) by coral reefs - extending in some parts three miles out to sea. The soil, though fertile, has little depth and due to its porous nature there are no rivers or streams worthy of mention. The principal industry is tourism, closely followed by sugar and its byproducts. More than three-fifths of the island is under the cultivation of sugar cane. The island also produces around 40% of its oil requirements.
Barbados does not have the striking heights and lush tropical forests of some other West Indian islands, but there is plenty of variety. The highest point is Mt Hillaby (1115 feet) and the steeply descending east coast on the Atlantic is not unlike Cornwall, with its long stretches of superb and surprisingly undercrowded surf beaches interrupted by dramatic rocks. The Atlantic rollers come crashing in, accompanied by the constant breeze of the north-east trade winds that make the climate of Barbados so pleasant.
In the flatter parts of the island, hamlets and villages appear in the seemingly endless forest of whispering sugar cane, which grows to a height of 8 to 10 feet before it is reaped. At harvest time, the quiet back roads of the countryside are filled with trailer after trailer of cane, and soon the rich sweet smell of sugar being processed hangs in the air. Even the most dietconscious will be tempted by the aroma and taste of fresh sticky brown sugar. Sugar cane, introduced from Brazil in 1640, has become the island’s principal export and for many years now an average of 65,000 tons of sugar has been produced per year. The cane is generally harvested between January and July, but it has an 18 month cycle so you may see it in various stages of development.
Flora and Fauna
Although the gently undulating roads of the island have been likened to southern England, the scenery is truly West Indian. Hedges of pink and purple bougainvillea, oleander and hibiscus are dwarfed by rows of royal palms raising their plumed heads high against a bright blue sky.
The numerous villages of chattel houses, standing among banana and breadfruit trees, are built on coral piles high off the ground, and on the steps of these little cabins, people ‘chill out’ - which means doing nothing in particular - simply chatting and watching the world go by.
Among the bushes, the yellow-breasted finch and the comicai blackbird-like grackle squabble continuously, while, darting from one flower-head to another, the tiny dark green, black-winged humming bird can be seen in its shimmering display of aerobatics. There are also two kinds of dove - the pinky-brown turtle dove, whose inconsolable call sounds softly in the trees, and the small ground dove.
A stroll in the cool of the evening may reward you with the sight of whole trees illuminated by fireflies. The visitor is unlikely to meet anything more threatening than toads, ants, and the endearing green lizard (much respected because he keeps down The population of flies!). In the country, you might see a mongoose scuttling across the lane - these are furry creatures with squirrel like tails that were brought from India in the late 1800’s to combat the problem of rats, which threatened the sugar industry. You may also see the green monkey which originated from Africa and was originally considered a pest by farmers. The Sabin Polio Vaccine comes from the green monkey and one green monkey can provide up to 2.5 million doses of polio vaccine. The Primate Research Centre and Wildlife Reserve (Farley Hill, St Peter) is responsible for up to 70% of the world’s Polio vaccines.
• It is illegal to wear clothing that is of camouflage design in Barbados
• The people of Barbados are encouraging visitors to the island to ‘think green' and help them preserve their island’s beautiful environment. They believe that many of the solutions to environmental problems lie with individuals themselves. We would ask our passengers to support the islanders in their eco-drive. Here are a few ways in which you can help:
• Protect the coral reef - do not stand on it or touch it. Coral or coral jewellery should not be purchased as a souvenir.
• Buy local produce and support stores trying to preserve the environment.
• Keep the island tidy - do not drop litter.
• Never damage trees, plants or wildlife.
• Support the National Trust, botanical gardens and wildlife reserves. Remember - take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints
This town is 12 miles north of Bridgetown and is the second largest town on the island. It was once an important shipping centre and is known as ‘Little Bristol’ from its considerable trade with that English port. St. Peter’s Church is located here and this is one of the oldest churches in Barbados. As a result of countless tragedies and re-building programmes, no records have suvived. Today's church and grounds offer a lovely insight to the past though so it’s well worth a visit.
A monument, raised in 1905, which commemorates the first landing of the English in 1525 can be seen in Holetown. Barbados’ first settlement was originally called Jamestown in honour of James I, but its name was changed to reflect the very small channel that allowed the off loading and cleaning of visiting ships. The Barbados National Trust owns Welchman Hall Gully, just east of Holetown. This wooded ravine has been developed as a garden of tropica! trees, fruit trees, shrubs and flowering plants, and has several caves that can be explored.
Gun Hill Signal Station
A patriotic Captain H J Wilkinson made his mark on the slopes below Gun Hill in 1868 when he caved a lion out of a single piece of rock which has been kept white ever since. Gun Hill, six miles east of Bridgetown, was the barracks and watchtower of the Colonial Troops. The signal station, which has a superb panoramic view, was completely restored by the Barbados National Trust and is open from Monday to Saturday 9.00am - 5.00pm. Note repairs are ongoing and unexpected closures may occur. Check with Tourist Information on the day.
Is a “paradise found" for lovers of orchids. Orchids are grown in beautiful surroundings with coral rock gardens, cool shady gullies and ponds and running water. It is situated on Highway 3B, between Cun Hill and St John’s Church. Open daily 9.00am - 4.00pm Closed Mondays from May 15- October 15. (admission charge)
St John’s Church
St John’s Church stands on Barbados' east coast near the edge of an 824 feet high cliff and commands an extensive view of the coral-fringed windward coast. The little church contains work by Sir Richard Westmacott who sculpted Bridgetown’s statue of Nelson. The pulpit is made from six different woods, four of them local - ebony, locust, oak, mahogany, pine and manchineel - and the galleries are supported by columns of cedar.
Codrington College, also in the parish of St John, is a place of great dignity and peace, approached through a glorious avenue of palms. The founder of the college, Christopher Codrington, a governor of the Leeward Islands, was born in the house, which he bequeathed to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in 1710. It now houses the Theological College of the West Indies. The east coast of the parish of St Joseph, this is one of the highest parts of the island at 997 feet. Here you can take in the attractive, panoramic views over the entire east coast. According to legend the cliff is named after a man who committed suicide by riding his horse over the cliff.
Hastings, Worthing and St Lawrence
These are seaside residential districts just south of Bridgetown with a number of first-class hotels and excellent bathing.
This is a seaside resort on the east coast. This area is known as the “soup bowl” and is considered to be the most scenic part of the island with rolling Atlantic waves and long stretches of golden sands set against a backdrop of hills.
The Andromeda Gardens
These gardens have an astonishing array of plants from all over the tropical world; and through them winds a babbling stream forming pools and waterfalls. The garden is internationally famous and represents what is perhaps the best collection of exotic tropical flowers and plants to be found in the Caribbean.
There are many rare species and hybrids and at all times of the year there are masses of brightly coloured blooms and foliage. Open 9.00am to 4.30pm (entrance fee).
Sunbury Plantation House
One of the last remaining sugar plantation houses open to visitors. Sunbury Plantation House is over 300 years old, and restored after a recent fire, boasts a great number of antiques, old prints and photographs and old machinery used in cultivation of crops, which are on display throughout the estate. Open daily from 9.00am to 5.00pm (last tour at 4.30pm).
Tyrol Cot House and Chattel Village
Tyrol Cot was the family residence of Barbados’ first premier Sir Grantley Adams and also his son Tom Adams (Barbados’ second Prime Minister),
It is considered to be the birthplace of Barbadian Democracy and is filled with collections of Adams’ antique furniture arid memorabilia. The adjacent Chattel Village contains a replica of an 1820’s Slave Hut, Blacksmith Shop and Bajan Rum Shop. Open daily from 8.00am - 4.30pm (last tour at 4.00pm).
The Mount Gay Experience
Is the home of the oldest rum in the world. Built in a traditional Barbadian “Chattle House" you will find a Visitors Centre where one can take a tour and experience the fascinating process of producing the world’s finest rum. Situated at Spring Garden Highway, St Michael. Open Monday - Friday 9.00am - 5.00pm and Saturday 10.00am - 4.00pm.
There is a distinctive Barbadian cuisine, although most hotels and restaurants - many of them with Swiss or French-trained chefs - offer a European-inspired menu, plus Californian-style barbecues. Occasionally you can find local specialities on offer. These could be black pudding (a highly-seasoned sausage stuffed with minced pork and sweet potatoes, souse (spiced pork made from pig’s head and tongue), cou-cou (a kind of cornmeal puree) and cassava pone (a baked concoction of cassavas and dried coconut). Flying fish - you may see their glittering acrobatics from the deck of the ship - provide the bulk of the fishermen’s catch and appear on menus in many different forms. Other seafoods are lobster, crabs, octopus (called sea-cat), jacks and sprats.
Fruits include mangoes, paw-paws, bananas, guavas, and avocados, along with more exotic soursops and Barbados cherries.
Rum is, of course, an irresistible buy in Barbados, both white and dark. Favourite brands are Cockspur, Mount Gay, and Dooriy’s Macaw. Barbados is generally accepted as the birthplace of rum or “rumbullion” as it was called in the mid 1600’s. The name probably had something to do with “rumbustious” behaviour of seafarers at the Bridgetown waterfront! Take advantage of sampling the “liquid gold” in the land of sunshine where it is produced. Whisky and other spirits can be bought duty-free. The local beers, such as Banks Beer, are best enjoyed ice-cold in the shade beside one of the countless little roadside bars. A unique Barbadian drink you may wish to try is Mauby, brewed from bark, sugar and spices. Barbados, drinking water is rated as one of the purest in the world - rainwater is naturally filtered as it percolates through the coral rock.
The island has so many fine white sandy beaches you’ll be spoilt for choice. Those on the west coast offer lake-calm swimming, while the east coast provides excellent surfing at the Soup Bowl (this is where the professional surfers surf). Beaches going north from Bridgetown along the Platinum Coast are Payne’s Bay, Sandy Lane Bay, Gibb’s Bay, and Mullin’s Bay. The fine hotels along this coast have excellent bathing facilities. The nearest beaches are Carlisle Bay, Dover Beach and Accra Beach - all located to the south and east of Bridgetown.
Swimming on the east coast at Bathsheba/ Cattlewash is extremely dangerous due to the size of the waves and the strength of the currents.
These include waterskiing, windsurfing, snorkelling, parasailing, banana boats and surfing. For scuba diving consider wreck dives from Carlisle Bay and at Folkestone Marine Park.
There are 3 golf courses on Barbados; Sandy Lane championship Golf Club, St James, is 5 miles north of Bridgetown and has an 18-hole championship course.
Rockley Golf Club has a 9 hole course and is 6 miles from Bridgetown. Barbados Golf Club has an 18 hole course and is 9 miles from the capital.
Clubs and carts can be hired at all golf courses.
Shopping hours are from 8.30am - 4.30pm with early closing on Saturdays although some stores may stay open late while the ship is in port. Most shops in Bridgetown will be closed on public holidays, however those in the Cruise Terminal normally remain open. Please note that it is not customary to bargain when shopping in Barbados.
Many stores will display two prices. DF = Duty Free. Foreigners to Barbados will pay Duty Free prices wherever DF is printed on a price label. There are numerous stores and malls selling a wide range of local souvenirs.
Hand-made straw hats
Wood and ceramic items
Hand-embroidered Sea Island cotton
Local art work
Dependent on which cruise ship berth is used, minibuses may be arranged to take passengers from the berth to the Customs Hall. Passengers are allowed to walk, but it can take up to ten minutes. No public transport or cars are allowed into the dock area.
The major international car hire companies are not represented, but there are several local companies. You will be required to obtain a temporary drivers permit which can be obtained from your rental company at a cost of B’Dos $10.00 or any local police station on production of your UK drivers licence and is valid for one year.
Courtesy Rent-a-car: courtesyrentacar.com National Car Rentals Ltd: nationalcar.com Corbin’s Car Rentals: corbinscars.com Drive-A-Matic (Located in the Cruise Terminal): carhire.tv
The speed limit in Barbados is 37 miles per hour (60 km) - in keeping with the slow pace of life. Driving is on the left, reflecting the British influence on the island.
Taxis are plentiful and generally have set rates. It is always advisable to agree the price beforehand for longer journeys.
An island-wide service connects the eleven parishes with Bridgetown. Transport Board buses are blue with a yellow stripe and private minibuses are yellow with a blue stripe. Another option includes ZR vans which are painted white with a maroon stripe. These are known for their high speed, loud music and packing in as many passengers as possible.
The Bridgetown bus terminal is near the Pelican Craft Village. There is also another bus terminal in the centre of Bridgetown which is the called the Fairchild Bus Terminal and is located in Heroes Square.