My latest trip saw me return to an old favourite with a handful of my circle of trust. At the end of April, I flew to Grantley Adams airport to have two idyllic weeks in Barbados. Regular readers of my blog will have seen me mention my love of this beautiful Caribbean island before. This visit did nothing to dispel my affection for the isle's beaches, people or rum.
Our group of reprobates pitched up to the villa that we normally always stay at, West We Go, in dribs and drabs over a three day period. I was in the rear party and arrived to a gaggle of giggly adults who had spent the day in the throes of what every Caribbean holiday should entail: lounging around with a cocktail in hand. In fact, said giggly adults greeted me with a cold pink bubbly concoction which was a marvellous welcome. Within ten minutes, I was dressed in attire that I intended to spend the remaining 10 days of my trip in - a bikini accessorised with a glass in hand.
One of the great things about flying to the Caribbean from London is the jet lag. The four hour time difference means that you are awake at about 6 in the morning. Ordinarily I hate waking up so early. However, in Barbados, you are waking up in Barbados. You have nothing to lose but chill out time in the sun as it rises at about the same your jet lag will wake you. Plus the early morning rise means that you can take an idyllic walk along a deserted beach before the humidity and sun become too hot to do anything else, but lie down. Personally, I can't think of a better way to start my day than a leisurely stroll along soft white sand that borders bright turquoise sea.
More particularly, one of the great things about where I stay when I visit this island, is the breakfast I receive after my morning walk, and the person who made it. The cook at West We Go, a private villa rented out by a company called Blue Sky Luxury, is one of the main draws to this residence as well as its location on Sandy Lane beach. (The home of the hotel frequented by the rich and famous.). Her breakfasts are a wonderful way to start the day with fresh fruit, scrambled eggs and fried bananas or plaintains all on offer alongside fresh coffee and every so often mangoes straight from the tree in her garden.
The rest of the day in Barbados continues in a similar vein every time I go - moving like a sloth from meal to sunbed hopefully with a refreshing dip in the turquoise sea in between. Our gaggle of adults always discuss our next feed at our present one and much discussion is had about what restaurants to frequent on our holiday. This year we visited some old favourites that I have written about before, like The Tides and Zaccios (unfortunately under renovation but still managing to produce the world's most delicious Shrimp Caesar Salad). Most notably we had lunch at Mullins Beach Bar on a rare cloudy day, where much Blush was had the following photo occurred. My memory of the reggae bus home is a little foggy. Drinks aside the menu at Mullins has many a delectable delight on it served with a relaxed vibe and spectacular ocean front location.
We also returned to the little treasure of a restaurant called The Fish Pot . This northern eatery will always have a special place in my heart - not for the second to none food, or the fact that I saw Hayden Christensen and Rachel Bilson there once, but because last year one of best friends married her husband there. Our trip this year was therefore always going to have a tough time trying to beat my previous outing there (I mean, I had a bride encouraged rum sour in my hand whilst they said I do!) However, it came pretty close. Not only did I have some outstanding seafood for supper, we were also treated to seeing a turtle come ashore to look for a place to lay her eggs.
The last restaurant I have to mention is The Atlantis. This place quite simply took my breath away. Whilst I have been before, I have never been particularly lucky with the weather on those visits, but this time we had clear blue skies and a light breeze. As a consequence, the jaw dropping view of the Atlantic ocean crashing into the rugged Bajan East Coast meant that I could have been provided a MacDonald's happy meal and I would have been delighted. Happily, the food served matched the breath taking vista.
Our lunch at the Atlantis was the perfect way to finish our trip around the island that we had taken that day. We visited St Nicholas's Abbey with its rum distillery and the animal sanctuary nearby. Both are well worth going to if you happen to be in Barbados on vacation. The Abbey is beautiful, interesting and utterly charming. The staff are well informed and give a well balanced tour of the house and its grounds. Only in Barbados would one have a historical tour punctuated in the middle with a rum tasting. The animal sanctuary is awash with adorable creatures like tortoises and deer, well caged aligators and snakes, beautiful birds including stunning peacocks, and lastly cheeky monkeys. I am annoyed with myself that this year was my first visit to the sanctuary out of around ten trips to the island.
This was by far my most active day of my holiday, and perhaps any of my holidays to the Caribbean. Other members of the team played golf at the old nine at Sandy Lane and enjoyed rum sours at the club house afterwards. I managed to join them for that part and also take a picture of one of favourite trees I have ever seen. Other than kinky trees and rum sours, golf in Barbados has the added highlight of the opportunity of seeing more monkeys - who sometimes help move your ball closer to the hole.
When I wasn't visiting animal sanctuaries, bars or restaurants, I was either reading on a sunbed or swimming. The water's edge is on the border of West We Go's garden and so the Caribbean sea becomes my own outdoor pool for two weeks. It is difficult to describe how wonderful the sea is on the West Coast. It almost feels like silk on your skin and is crystal clear. I managed to make a friend on one of my swims and he posed for just long enough for me to take a picture with my new Go Pro.
All in all, my return to Barbados was everything I remembered it to be. Relaxing, lazy days mixed with delicious food and excellent company. I descend into a holiday nirvana whilst I'm there and often find myself just staring out into the sea thinking about absolutely nothing. It is one of the best compliments I can bestow a vacation. As ever, I cannot recommend this stunning island enough, and would love to hear anyone's thoughts on other places that help them reach a similar state of mind. Rum riddled or not.