Did you know if you speak with a British accent while driving your right hand drive car on the left side of the road it helps you concentrate? No? Well, it might, and it’s worth a try, because for the first couple of days its pretty trippy, so to speak. But the less you think about it, and the more you chat or think about where you’re going, the more you hit the windshield wiper switch instead of the turn signal. Then as you try to put the car into reverse because you missed your turn, you put right your arm down into the… window-down-switch causing even more distraction. You finally find the gear shift on the left side of you, and look up to the right to find your rear view and its not there. Huh.
So, you look back to the road in panic because its taking so long to do this illegal U-turn in the middle of a curvy narrow road with no shoulder, recall your mistake, re-focus on the left center where the mirror actually resides, and have difficulty backing up using your said mirror because the image is not how you thought it should appear. You then spin your head through the middle of the car and forget about using them to help you altogether. Repeat wrong arm usage for finding gear shift, look both ways and pull back into traffic. Sigh. Let’s get on with that tour.
So, this second week on Barbados, the waves haven’t been cooperating, so we decided to see the lay of the land here on the island. It took the better part of 3 days in total to see all we saw. I strongly recommend renting a car, if you don’t mind having the experience as above. It gives you way more flexibility and adventure, rather than being a tour-group tag along. Below are some thoughts on the sights we saw:
The Concord Exhibit: I blogged about this already, so for more information go to that blog. But if you’re wondering if this attraction is for you… I actually found it pretty interesting, as an educational experience. If you can sit and watch Discovery Channel and enjoy it, have some time to kill outside of your beach time, this could be something you should see.
Crane Village: This was a newer development with Condo’s, restaurants and shops over on the east coast, with a lovely beach down at the bottom of a large cliff, a few restaurants, one with a great view and pretty tasty and reasonably priced food. They also have a little “village” of shops that looks strikingly like Disney’s Main Street. Come here for a couple of hours if you want some different scenery that that of our current hotel.
The Sunbury Plantation: This old home was neat to see. With all the rooms fully decorated and stacked full of treasures from centuries past, and beautiful grounds to wander, its definitely worth checking out if you enjoy historical items and facts.
A drive up the West Coast: We started in the town of Oistins, near our current hotel and drove all the way up the coast into the Parish of St Lucy. We got lost a couple of times but made it to our desired destinations without too much trouble (with the help of our Barbados map). We took brief stops in Speightstown (cruised the small mainstreet-browsed a few small cafe’s and an antique shop but quieter than we had expected), and Holetown (stopped at the touristy and colorful arts-and-crafts buildings for a coffee and snack. There were some high end shops here too if that interests you).
I was a bit disappointed with the lack of places to stop and check out the beaches, or parking to do so, and more often than not, the road was not right near on the water and so it was tough to see where you were. We were also looking to have a peek at some of the fancy hotels on the West coast, but it was difficult to see what was what, and we didn’t end up really finding or seeing any of them.
The animal caves: We did have a little adventure finding this one, as the signage isn’t awesome. Just when you think you’ve lost your way completely a sign jumps out of nowhere and you realize you’re on the right path. These are few and far between. A nice view of the sea here, a cute little hut with some snack food, some cozy shops with quality junk, and a “tour” guide to show you around the cave. I would consider them more like escort than guide, but you go down inside the cave and take some photos, and you might see some living creatures in the water if you’re lucky (depending on season and tides apparently). We have seen more exciting things for $10 US in our history.
St Nicholas Abbey: This was close to worth the $35 US we paid for this. A fully furnished home built in the 1700’s, an informative tour guide if you like, lovely gardens to wander through, a coffee shop, a short video with actual footage of the plantation workers and the family that owned the property back in the 1940’s, rum punch bevvie, and some rum testing if you wish.
Batscheba/Soup Bowl: This was a bit of a disappointment. A curvy and bumpy road that lead you on a goose chase, through small towns and herds of goats to get to a narrow road with a dozen little tour buses that have all unloaded their passengers to take photos of a giant rock sitting near the shore. The waves weren’t great, there were no surfers and the town was really really sleepy. We expected a bit more action in the name of a surfer town with shops, places to eat, etc, not of the tourist trap junk collection type.
Flower Forest: Although this place was relaxing, quiet, and smelled lovely. The name is a bit misleading. It was more like a forest with a few flowers. Another $10 US for a little stroll through nature. I recommend it if you like that sort of thing. The tuna sandwiches were tasty when we stopped for a bite to eat afterwards.
Harrison Cave: This was one of the cooler things we’d done in a while, but pricey at $30 US each. Following a short video, a cute little tram (with a guide) takes you around the tunnels/caves and lets you gawk and take some photos.