Monday 29th November 2010
Friday 3rd December – Sunday 5th December 2010
We had three days in Barbados, two of which were spent on taking trips and the middle one on walking into Bridgetown and back.
The island is coral, and measures 21 miles by 14 miles. The population is 280,000 - 93% of whom are of African descent. Most work in the service industries with the greatest number being involved in tourism.
Clearly Barbados is more prosperous than some of the countries we have visited, although there are poorer areas. There is a marked contrast between the larger, expensive houses on the West Coast (some owned by celebrities including Tony Blair, Cliff Richard and Cilla Black) and some of the poorer housing. Traditionally, workers on the plantations would build wooden structures on bases built of stones. They would then dismantle them if they moved to work on another plantation. These chattel houses are evident throughout the country. Many have been extended. Some have been demolished when a more permanent structure has been built on adjoining land.
On the Friday we travelled by minibus and on the Sunday morning in a 4 x 4. Both trips included a visit to the east coast. The sea is far rougher here and there are beautiful views of surf crashing on beaches. Particularly idyllic is Bathsheba. Here the coral of which the island is composed, stands in mushroomed shaped rocks where the bases have been eroded by the sea.
We also visited St. John’s Church, first used for worship in 1645, which has beautiful views over the coast. Prior to that we had been through Welchman Hall, Hole Town and Bell Plain.
The island had been heavily dependent on sugar but now relies largely upon tourism. There had been 400 plantation houses and many windmills and factories for processing the cane. Now there are just two – one of which we passed, namely Andrews Sugar Factory.
In Bridgetown a statue of Nelson stands in National Heroes Square (formerly Trafalgar Square). This was erected in 1813 (prior to the one in London) and is close to the Parliament Buildings.
We found the people did not pester to sell us things and that they were generally very friendly and welcoming.