Things have been a bit topsy-turvy since we’ve been back (more on that later), but now it’s finally time to dish out some Barbados recommendations.
As I mentioned previously, Barbados is a friendly, laid back place. We stayed in St James, on the West coast of the island, where things are significantly quieter than on the south coast (so I’m told; honestly, I didn’t go see for myself). I probably wouldn’t recommend the west coast if you’re travelling on your own, but if you are, the chatty and amiable taxi drivers on the island will be your best source for recommendations. They are kind of like the guardian angels of the island – they see everything and everyone.
On that subject, there are pretty much only two ways to move around the island: by taxi, and by the speeding yellow buses which one calls public transportation (hilariously, some of them have a “How’s my driving?” sign on the back). It’s something worth trying – but if you have a heart condition and/or have an aversion to Caribbean rap/dub music and/or rather indiscreet mobile phone conversations (“You want me, baby, you call me!!!”), you might want to stick to taxis.
St James offers a lot where beauty and food are concerned. For one, if you’re a fan of sunsets, some of the one’s we were treated to were unforgettable. But where gastronomy is concerned, ask the locals. Ditch the glitzy recommendations for the rich and famous, and ask a local where they’re from and what the best restaurant is in their area. Only with this approach will you come across places such as the quirky Angry Annie’s (try the lobster – it’s phenomenal, and, no, Annie is not angry at all by all accounts), The Fish Pot (have the salmon as a starter and the catch of the day) and Cariba (try everything – trust me, you’ll thank me). I wouldn’t bother with wine too much (we tried at first, but there were more disappointments than startling surprises); but if you like your digestif after a heavy meal, try the aged rum on its own – it will give any cognac and any whiskey a run for its money.
We tried to do a little bit of everything; we visited Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados, just to walk around and see the city. It was busy (we were told there’s an average of 7,000 visitors getting off cruise ships per week on high season), and we clearly underestimated how hot it was going to be. We ended up visiting the Barbados museum, eating some local food at Brown Sugar, and heading back to the hotel for a drink and a walk on the beach.
We also visited Speightstown, which is much smaller than Bridgetown, and very different. We went in the morning on a weekday, so it was very quiet, and the streets were quite empty. We were approached by a gentleman who asked us if we were hungry. We said sure and followed him through a narrow path between two houses, and ended up at this tiny restaurant, Bo’s Plaice, where we had a spicy local dish, chicken roti (pronounced: cheek-en roe-tee) and washed it down with 10 Saints, a local micro brewed beer that is aged in rum casks.
Barbados is also known for its rum – so visiting a distillery is a must, even if you don’t drink alcohol. We decided to go to a small one, St Nicholas Abbey, in the northeastern part of the island.
When we were waiting for a cab to go visit the distillery, the valet at the hotel asked us where we were going, and when we told him, he suggested we stop at The Spout, a cliff from where you have a beautiful view and get to see, firsthand, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea. It was literally breathtaking as the contrast in colours and textures is a sight to behold.
Now that we’re back, reality is slowly sinking in. Today was my first day back at work, after a lightning trip to London yesterday (again: more on that later), and now all that remains of Barbados is the delicious rum I’m sipping as I write this.
Evil Boss was right: this was a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Thank you for reading, and good night!