Another fabulous day was ahead as we continued on our Caribbean cruise in February 2015 and visited the beautiful island of Barbados. I feel like most people go to the Caribbean to lay in the sun and drink umbrella drinks. Jim and I love to check out the history and scenery when we visit a new location, so laying on the beach seems somewhat like a waste of time to us. I know… crazy huh? We’ll be able to test that theory next February, since we booked two weeks in Aruba. I will let you know how the relaxing works out for us. I’m sure we’ll be fine – probably more than fine and we won’t want to go home, especially to February in Wisconsin.

Today we visited Gun Hill Signal Station, Orchid World and ended at the fabulous Sunbury Plantation House for a great tour, some snacks and free Bajan rum punch! It was a great day. I skim the history and take the pictures. Jim reads everything there is available to read – and I do mean everything!

“Barbados, in the eastern Caribbean, is an independent island nation within the British Commonwealth. Bridgetown, the capital, is a cruise-ship stop with shopping, colonial buildings and one of the Western Hemisphere’s oldest synagogues. Barbadian traditions range from afternoon tea and cricket (the national sport) to pursuits such as scuba diving at Dottins Reef and golfing on designer oceanside courses.” – READ MORE about Barbados

We left from the capital city of Bridgetown on an air-conditioned bus for a scenic drive through the natural beauty of this exotic coral island. The photos above and below start us out at Gun Hill Signal Station. This is a great stop and offers beautifully landscaped gardens with tropical flowers leading you up a winding path to incredible – nearly 360-degree – views of the island of Barbados.

“Gun Hill is the finest of a series of signal stations built in 1818. These stations sighted ships approaching Barbados and signaled to each other, advising of the type of vessel and whether if was a friend or foe! In case of attack, the forts and soldiers could be quickly readied to defend the island. In the signal tower a chart shows just what detailed information could be relayed with the use of a few flags. The signal stations were also used to warn of slave rebellions on the island.

The signal station is maintained by the Barbados National Trust and houses a collection of military memorabilia. There is a small restaurant where you can enjoy a refreshing drink and snack.

At the foot of signal station is a magnificent lion statue which was carved out of a single piece of rock in 1868 by an officer at the signal station.” – READ MORE about Gun Hill Signal Station

We had a great time checking out the views and history of this beautiful place. Click on the link just above to see photos of the lion statue, which were much better than mine taken out the window of our moving bus.

Next stop is Orchid World, which is located on six acres in the heart of the Barbados countryside. Surrounded by fields of swaying sugarcane, this location is ideal for growing and showing off more than 5,000 Orchids. A photographer’s dream, Orchids are truly one of nature’s wonders and this fabulous place had lots of varieties, even a few that grow without soil. Below are just a few of the gorgeous ones we saw. We walked in on a meandering path lined with lush vegetation. The sounds of several water-features and many birds made this place both relaxing and beautiful.

After a pleasant drive through the rolling hills of the countryside, we stepped back in time to visit the Sunbury Plantation House – our last stop the day. Over 300 years old, this place is steeped in history and situated on beautifully landscaped grounds. All room in the fabulous old house are available for viewing and chock-full of mahogany antiques, old prints and other relics from days past. The root cellar – originally used for storing yams and other root vegetables – now features the largest collection of antique carriages in the Caribbean. For more photos, click on the link just above.

After our tour of the house and grounds, we gathered outside under some wonderful old trees for a demonstration and some fun. The super-friendly staff showed us how to make cod fish cakes – a delicious local delicacy. We also tried their version of jerk chicken and got a taste of plantains, which are a starchy, lower sugar variety of a banana that needs to be cooked before serving. It is used somewhat like a potato would be used.

Then they started mixing up pitchers of old-fashioned Bajan rum punch, which was a lot of rum and a splash of fruit punch. The pitchers kept coming around, and since we are quick learners (while on a cruise, drink cheap or free liquor whenever you can get it) we took them up on it and had a blast!!

We went back to the ship with our rum buzz for more ballroom dancing (said with rolling eyes) and we certainly didn’t need any more expensive cocktails that evening!

Up Next: Saint Lucia

Happy trails,

Barbara Olson

Barbara Olson

Road Trip!

Saint Kitts

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