Ah, Barbados. Heaven on earth … So many great things about this cozy little island near the equator. The people, the salt in the air, the food, the sun, the sand, the ocean… it is just incredible. My family has been going to the island long since before I was born, in fact my mom and dad used to go there quite a bit after they got married. I joke with my mother because she should have bought a place down there decades ago when she first started going, we would’ve had a place to call our own by now. Heck, my mom is practically native – she attends functions at the Prime Minister’s residence because she travels just so frequently to Barbados!
I had my first taste of the island back when I was about 12 or 13. We had gone on a Caribbean cruise that hit St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Dominica, Martinique and of course, Barbados. Since then, I’ve been back about 8 times now and it is my favorite island in the Caribbean. We usually head down every year or two, but my mother is fortunate enough to travel to Barbados maybe two to four times annually, which isn’t too shabby at all if you ask me. I’m still trying to find a way to fit into her luggage without going over the weight restrictions, just so I can tag along with her on every trip, but I digress, I am not less than 50 lbs.
So let’s get to it: If you’re just joining me, I published the first part of my Barbados 2016 series here. This second part in the series covers days 4 and 5 of our trip in July.
You may enjoy reading about my travels to Barbados, or perhaps you may not. Ultimately this is for me and for my memories and if you enjoy what I’m going to share with you, great, please stick around. If this is not your cup of tea, please feel free to click X on the top right hand corner and I will not be offended I promise you.
Saturday – Day 4
My mom asked us a couple of months out from our trip if we were interested in going to the horse track with her while we were away. I’ve been, but to one locally and we didn’t watch any of the horses race, in fact both Jeff and I don’t like the style of horse racing (carts) they do there because there are often many injuries, both on the horse and jockey side. We were open to it. My mom was in Barbados in May with her sister and while my aunt didn’t want to accompany her, my mom being the independent gal that she is went off to spend an afternoon at the track all by herself and she had the greatest time, met some people, talked to some of the trainers and just really enjoyed herself. So hearing all this, how could we not be open to an afternoon watching some horses?
As mentioned in my Part 1 of this series, we did only the one dive on the previous day, the Friday and we were resuming our diving adventures on the Monday, so as to allow our friend and Divemaster, David, a weekend to himself. No problem at all, everyone has the right to downtown and relaxation.
In the past, we had driven by the horse track so many times but never stopped. I also don’t think there ever has been races on while we’ve been there, but there must have been. While we were there, at least in the summer months, it seems that there are horse races every two weeks on the Saturday and everyone goes out and has a blast.
On this morning, we spent the morning at the pool and heading down to the ocean to frolic around and then I think it was around 1 p.m. that we headed down to The Garrison Savannah, the place where the horse track was located, just down from the military grounds and St. Ann’s Fort, The Garrison Historic Area is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for those interested. Races were scheduled to start at 1:30 and they are televised throughout the island – it’s some serious business! It didn’t start on time, it was delayed until after 2 p.m. if I recall correctly and damn was it a hot one. Thank goodness for the shade in the grand stands, it saved us.
Frolicking in the blue water before heading out to see some horses! I’m already sporting a nice burn* hence the rash guard.
So on this day, we took my mom’s lead and let her show us what she had learned and saw back in May. She explained the program and how to look at the odds (I had no friggin clue and even still, I need time to figure out all the numbers and what they all mean), she took us to the stables where trainers parade around horses that are racing that day and we even met a nice family (the Walcott’s if I recall correctly) that were big into horses the man’s son was a trainer for one of the top jockeys on the island, so it was interesting to hear things from their perspective.
It was such a fun day and I’d definitely go out again!
Despite the fun we had, there was one jockey that got thrown off his horse and was mildly injured but was able to walk off of the field. Another jockey, one of the best and more famous in Barbados was thrown from his horse when it veered and he was dragged under the horse and had his abdomen/ribs trampled. The jockey was (obviously) taken to the hospital, meanwhile the horse had gone AWOL and bolted from the track breaking one set of gates and the second gate was what stopped the horse from careening into people/injuring itself. I for sure thought the horse would’ve broken a limb but he didn’t, just a massive wound that took its skin off and would take about a year to heal. I obviously cared about the wellbeing of the jockey, of course, but am I bad person because I think I might have been a bit more concerned about the horse and if it was going to be okay. Hey — I’ve said it before, I like animals more than most people, so that’s why I say what I do….
After leaving the track around 6:30, we headed back to our hotel for some dinner. An uneventful evening but a full day and a fun day.
Sunday – Day 5 – A day of Adventures around the Island
Today we visited Duke’s Plantation in the St. Thomas parish and it is an old plantation house whose picture my mom saw in a Barbados tourism magazine and she had been on the hunt for the location forever. We emailed the photographer, who then referred us to the magazine editor and that person didn’t email us back so we’re left to our own devices in finding this lovely piece of land and lo and behold, we did.
Part of the fun when we travel to Barbados with my mom and step dad involves many trips around the island, adventuring to places that tour buses won’t take you. And of all the times I’ve been to Barbados, we always find new sights and little hidden gems. So when we finally came upon Duke’s Plantation, we saw a lady outside one of the buildings and asked if she could tell us a bit about the property and she said better yet, “Have a walk around the place and make yourself at home.” And so we did. We walked around, took pictures (even re-created the photo from the magazine that my mom was obsessing over and just took it all in. It was beautiful.
Just down the road where I was taking these photos, it was full of lush vegetation and trees, you felt like you were in the jungle and I guess, really, we were.
Once we were satisfied with what we saw and taken plenty of pictures to prove we were there, we were off to Holetown on the west coast, a spot that is known to have water like glass – no waves or current like the south and east coasts. Given that it was a Sunday and it being a religious island, many of the shops were closed or were closing early, something that we’re used to when we are in Barbados. You just have to be more mindful of the hours stores open and close, particularly on Sundays. It isn’t like North America where we have everything at our fingertips and everything is open 24 hours a day.
We ended up having lunch on the beach (just behind where these photos were taken) and then did a geocache on the way to Bert’s Bar where we watched the Euro Cup.
Incredible views while out geocaching (fyi geocaching is like hide and seek for adults and there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of geocaches worldwide- check out www.geocaching.com for more info)
We (my mom and I) initially wanted to go stand up paddle boarding (SUP) on this afternoon but when I called to confirm that we were still coming, Sarah, one of the owner’s that I had been corresponding with prior to our trip, told me that it was just too windy in Carlisle Bay and never having been SUPing before, it wouldn’t be ideal. I was totally looking forward to it on that afternoon and to be honest I was a little bummed, but it was for the best. If you’re curious, and I’ll repeat this later on in the post, we did our SUP with Jason and Sarah, owners of Paddle Barbados, and we couldn’t have been more happy with them and their services. Jason is a local and Sarah is Canadian and moved down to Barbados permanently a few years back when she fell in love with her surf instructor, Jason.
The only photo from our outing to Bert’s Bar to watch the Euro Cup final was this one:
That should be indicative right there on how the rest of the afternoon/evening went. Let’s just say that my mom was sufficiently inebriated for the rest of the day. lol! We had steak and potatoes for dinner, courtesy of Jeff and it was delicious! We headed to bed early, why? Because the very next day we commenced our 10 dives that we scheduled for the week.
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