Going for broke in our trusty moke
01.10.2006 30 °C
Saturday 30 September - Monday 2 October
As we've already said, Barbados buses are a great experience but for that little extra freedom you can hire your very own set of wheels fairly cheaply.
"Go Greased Lightning, burning up the quarter-mile..."
In our nippy Moke, we headed from the south coast to the north-east end of Barbados; the 'Scotland' district, so called because of its rugged (mountainous?) coastline.
Two of our favourite Barbados attractions lie in this region, the first being Flower Forest. This is a lush botanical garden teeming with tropical plants and flowers, and criss-crossed by numerous paths and shortcuts.
No matter when you visit, the displays of Flower Forest are never less than spectacular...
...but for sheer variety, colour and beauty among flowers, nothing on the island can top Orchid World in the parish of St George.
This six acre garden, surrounded by fields of sugar cane, is home to around 20,000 orchids, laid out along carefully tended paths and in dedicated greenhouses. Time for more pics.
Engrossed in the beauty of these gardens, time passes quickly and although we could happily have spent all day perusing plants and flowers we wanted to fit in another favourite activity; a long afternoon walk along the rugged and unspoilt east coast of Barbados.
Appetites duly aroused, we drove into Holetown back on the west coast where some terrific restaurants are located.
Sunday 1 October
Barbados caters for all of our favourite pursuits, including wildlife spotting. There is a Wildlife Reserve here, at which you can see native Green Monkeys in the wild, along with various other animals, many of which are free to roam the same paths as the visitors. This morning though we stayed closer to home, choosing to visit the Grahame Hall Nature Sanctuary; a mangrove swamp and the last naturally occurring wetland on the island.
Now sympathetically landscaped, the sanctuary provides a resting place for many migratory birds and a home to local species. Rarer inhabitants can be viewed in two huge walk-through aviaries.
For Sunday evening, we'd booked a sunset cruise. What could be more romantic than quaffing cocktails and scoffing canapes on board a luxury catamaran whilst observing a glorious Caribbean sunset and taking the opportunity to swim with turtles? A pity then, that as we arrived at the harbour the heavens opened.
Thankfully, the shower was short lived and the evening was every bit as excellent as we'd hoped.
Monday 2 October
As anticipated, our week in Barbados had hurtled by - an unintended but necessary rest-stop squeezed in between our recent journey through South America and our forthcoming whirlwind tour of Central America.
We ended our week pretty much as we started it; the morning was spent on a return to Bridgetown, revisiting some of our favourite haunts. Then it was back to Dover Beach for lunch - a traditional dish of Souse - specially prepared for us by Gillian, a new-found friend who runs a bar by the beach. The remainder of our last afternoon was spent soaking up as much of that Bajan sunshine as possible...
...and then, once more, our beach clothes were packed away and our sandals consigned to the bottom of our rucksacks. Would we get to wear them again this year? Who could tell?