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Enjoy some pictures of the worldrecordtour taken in Barbados

 

 
Barbados Map

 

 

 

Map of the Caribbean

click a picture to see details

 

 

 

 

 

Impressive Parliament Building
in Bridgetown
A little rest in front of the supermarket
Deep-sea fishing boats anchor
at the Careenage in Bridgetown
 

Barbados - "Little England of the Caribbean"

Darkness is melting into the twilight and roosters shrill the approach of a new morning, as on September 30th, 2003, our old banana boat "MV Admiral Bay" sets anchor in the port of Bridgetown/Barbados. There is no life yet in the harbor, so we try to find some sleep again on the hard banana boxes on deck, which were our "beds" at the fresh air during the last 12 hour-sea-journey from St. Vincent to the 141st country. Two hours later, our LandCruiser is untied and the white tarp removed, which protected it against the many showers of seawater. Already knowing about the enormous harbor bureaucracy in the Anglophone countries of the Caribbean, we normally are quite nervous entering a new island. But this time we are completely relaxed as seldom before - for a good reason: Roger Hill, Managing Director of the local Toyota Distributor Nassco, and Winston Carter, representative of the Ministry of Tourism, have taken good care of all the necessary bureaucracy. Their guidance through customs is miraculous. The severe looking officer who checks us at the exit gate just looks very superficially into our car and we are given green light to enter the island. What a wonderful feeling! Thus, Barbados - the most Easterly of the Caribbean Island chain - is under a lucky star from the very beginning.

 

Admiral Nelson is
watching over the city
Broad Street is the most important
shopping street of Bridgetown
Grandmother with grandson
on a shopping tour
 

We feel very comfortable and very relaxed just from the first day on. People have a pleasant charm, are warmhearted, hospitable, interested and courteous (regarding traffic), and patient (regarding waiting lines). 268'000 people share the 431 km2. It is said that Barbados belongs to the most intense populated countries in the world. 90% are of African origin, the remaining 10% from England, Scotland and East India. With a gross domestic product of US$ 12'200 a year, life is good, thus crime rate is very low and Barbados is rated as one of the safest country in the whole Caribbean. Therefore, it is also a magnet for many Europeans who prefer to spend their retirement in this warm climate under a daily blue sky instead of their native country, where it is often foggy, cold and humid. We cannot blame them at all: Being able to experience every day the sunrise and admire the red ball of the sun diving into the calm sea, makes our life happy too.

 

The picturesque "Bottom Bay"
at the Southwest coast
Roaring waves at Archer Bay
at the Northwest coast
Ragged Point on the East
coast reminds us of Scotland
 

Compared to their Southerly neighbors St. Vincent and Grenada, which are in a way still laid back and sleepy, Barbados is totally another world. Tourism is booming with cruise ships calling in regularly, loaded with up to 3000 passengers each - and this often several on the same day. The infrastructure is very modern and can easily be compared with the United States or Europe. We find everything visitors might wish: Security, wonderful beaches, luxury, tax free shops and all kind of water sports, sailing trips, sightseeing - everything organized excellently, but not particularly cheap. Barbados is not a low cost holiday destination. If prices in St. Vincent and Grenada were already the double compared with Trinidad, here they are at least three times higher, especially the gasoline. But also vegetables and fruits can cost up to US$ 4 a pound, cyber cafés US$10 an hour what is four times higher than on the previous destinations. Eating in restaurants is also expensive. Luckily, this does not affect us, as we are self-contained. And there is nothing we enjoy more than cooking each day a specialty with our little gas stove, and enjoying it with a beer in the sea breeze under a shady palm tree on a beautiful beach.

 

White sea urchins, called also sea
eggs, are a delicacy in Barbados
Wild, deserted camping
spot at the Atlantic coast
The surfer paradise Bathsheba
at the Atlantic coast
 

And beaches are plentiful around and they are really beautiful. The sand is white and powdery, the sea crystal clear, varying from turquoise, green to dark blue. Our favorite places are Batts Rock Beach, Fitts Beach and Miami beach, not only because of the public picnic tables, changing rooms and clean showers and bathrooms, but mainly, because we can drive with our car directly to the beach under the shade of the trees. And we definitely need shade, the rainy season is approaching and the days are getting incredible hot and damp. With only a few interruptions, the whole Caribbean coast is a continuous stretch of sandy beaches. Around Bridgetown they are a bit touristy and crowded; but towards the North they get wilder and deserted. As we start to our first exploring tour of this coral stone island, there are many things we are attracted to: Firstly, the simple prefabricated wooden houses, which appear now and then in their shiny colors between modern buildings. They are called "Chattle Houses" and date back to the time of the first settlers. At that time, it was not allowed for workers to buy land. Therefore, these "mobile homes" enabled them to move around easily for working on different sugar cane fields, which still today cover many miles of this country. And when suddenly an old stone tower of an ancient sugar cane factory appears in the lush green of the fields, it is easy to feel being back to that time. Still today, the export of sugar - besides the locally distilled rum - plays an important source of income to Barbados. The island is relatively flat, interrupted only by some hills, the 336 meters high Mt. Hillaby being the highest point. This low altitude already allows lush tropical vegetation to grow - majestic breadfruit trees and blossoming bushes and flowers in intensive tropical colors. Then, as a full surprise, we find ourselves in a landscape looking like Scotland. We can hardly believe it. We see green meadows battered by the strong Atlantic wind with cows and sheep roaming around and grazing. Now and then a spotlessly white farmhouse appears which reflects the typically peaceful atmosphere of the North. Now we know why Barbados is also called "Little England of the Caribbean", and the North in particular the "Scottish District".

 

Fishermen cleaning
his catch at Foul Bay
A typical grocery store
in the countryside
Ghostly, knobby trunks of the
Mahogany Alley at Cherry Hill
 

If we expected we would be able to sail after four weeks to the next island of St. Lucia, we did not include the Caribbean surprises, which are always popping up! Everything seems to work out perfectly. The passage is paid and the outgoing papers are ready. But as we want to know the exact boarding time of our "MV Admiral Bay", which transported us already from St. Vincent to here, we get the message from the captain that he unfortunately got more load than expected and thus there is no more space left for our LandCruiser. The next possibility will be in two weeks time. Two weeks later we are informed that this time the ship is not calling the main entry port of Castries, but Soufrière in the South, where for custom reasons we would not be able to disembark. Thus, the next chance will be only in another two weeks time again. So it happens that we are celebrating our "19th anniversary on the road" still in Barbados. And exactly on that special day we discover in the bookshop of the Cave Shepard Department Store that in the new Guinness Book of World Records 2004 we are published the first time with a picture. What a wonderful coincidence, which of course has to be celebrated accordingly!

 

In 1658 St. Nicholas Abbey
was built as a plantation house
Rural charm: Drying maize
Beautifully restored
Morgan Lewis sugar mill
 

Due to all these delays, we are still in Barbados on November 1st, when Bridgetown changes into a fairytale city. Thousands of blue and yellow lights - the main colors of the National flag - decorate the capital Bridgetown. Barbados achieved its independence on November 30, 1966, reason enough for the "Bajans" to begin with the festivities already at the beginning of the month with the Illumination Day. Thousands of families gather in front of the Government house with its two huge towers to enjoy the daily performances of dancers, singers and theatre productions. Happy Caribbean music is all over. There are smells of exotic food everywhere and vendors selling all kind of goods. We could not have a nicer farewell from Barbados. On November 25th our departure day finally has arrived. The tame dove, which enjoyed us every morning with its presence, is again at our breakfast table, waiting for her breadcrumbs. We are sad to leave her behind, but also to leave this magnificent island with its warmhearted people.

 

Caribbean at its best!
On board of our banana boat,
the "MV Admiral Bay"
A beautiful sunset at Miami Beach
 
Articles in newspapers about us in Barbados:
Interview: "Around the world in 19 years",   The Nation - October 3, 2003
Article: "Swiss couple leave Barbados on Tuesday",    The Barbados Advocate - October 26, 2003
Article: "Around the world in a Toyota LandCruiser",    Motoring News - October 2003