Sunday, June 20, 2010
On the third day of our cruise, we hit the island paradise of Barbados. Of all the islands on our itinerary, Barbados was the one I had actually heard of. I've always pictured it as an island oasis for the wealthy and envisioned smooth white beaches and blue water. And guess what? I was right! But there's also a whole lot more going on there, as we discovered on our little tour.
Barbados was the one day where we didn't have anything planned. We didn't book any excursions, just figured we would wander off the boat, find our way to the beach, and have some fun. As exited the port, we saw a sign for a tour of the island that cost $20 and would end at the beach and we figured, why not? We piled in a 10 seater van with some fellow cruisers and set off.
The tour ended up not being as exciting as I had hoped, although I did pick up a few tidbits. For example, Barbados, unlike our previous stop of Dominica, is not a volcanic island but instead made up coral. So all the rocks? Little bits of coral. Also, for $25,000 a night you can get a suite at the ritzy hotel on the island. Yeah, $25, 000. YIKES.
We also saw St. James Church, which was the first church on the island. It was built by the English and stunning inside. The whole things looked to be made out of coral and wood and just seemed to glow.
We also drove through the first village founded by freed slaves on the island and got a gander at the Freedom Memorial. Very moving. Not that long ago, the entire island was covered with sugarcane and men and women performed the most backbreaking, difficult, dangerous work you can imagine: harvesting the sugarcane and turning it into rum.
Then we drove around the island up to a scenic overlook where you could see all the way to the Atlantic Ocean and then turn around and see all the way to Caribbean Sea. I was surprised by how much the landscape actually reminded my of England; green rolling hills, lots of trees, and of yeah, the occasional group of King Palms. They don't really have those in England, I suppose. At the scenic overlook there was also a monkey, but it made me sad how gross all the tourists were around it. Throwing things at it and basically taunting it. People really suck sometimes, you know?
But things got better. After a quick and pointless stop at a mahogany craftsman (???), we hit the beach at Carlyle Bay. This was probably the most gorgeous beach I have ever been to....it had the softest smoothest white sand and the water was so blue. I swam further out in the ocean than I ever have before (almost to the buoys) since you could see the bottom and it was just a smooth sandy ocean floor. Also, the water was unbelievably warm. I've never actually "swum" in the ocean before, it's always cold, and pebbly, and gross, and I am kind of scared of jellyfish--so I usually just go in up to my knees or so. But here it was just so easy and relaxing.
And I didn't get sunburned. Reapplication every 45 minutes, people!