Looking for something different to do on your Barbados holiday? If you want to meet the locals and share the delight of an adventure on an old time, local bus, then a Barbados Heritage Tour is not to be missed. What an experience, nothing was what I expected and full of pleasant surprises. The passengers joining me were all local but wanted to enjoy the heritage journey and visit long lost places they hadn’t seen in a while, funny because it’s such a small island, but then some locals in Barbados don’t travel far.
The yellow bus is old from the 1950s, kept in good shape with a bit of love (and lots of oil !). There are bench open seats which means that the person on the end poses the risk of falling out (well there’s a rope but I didn’t fancy testing it !) especially if you’re wedged in with lots of large bottom ladies and gentlemen – not meaning to be rude but you know who you are!
The bus driver is a local and his dull set toned accent is warm and happy. I vaguely understood some of what he said on the tour, but everyone was laughing and joking backwards and forwards with him, it didn’t matter! The atmosphere was exciting and jovial. I felt warm and contented on the bus with these friendly people.
The start of the tour was of local historical buildings the museum, the Garrison, the barracks, the commissioners office all centred in Bridgetown the capital of Barbados. Lots of historic architecture and quite beautiful in the green and tropical environment.
We then ventured into the centre of the island to view amazing sugar and banana plantations. We didn’t stop; this was just a observed as we passed by but still amazing to be sat on this old bus from the 50s, easy to imagine what it was like back then. Everyone was reminiscing about the past about going to school on the bus similar to this and all the bus stops, I loved to hear the other passengers share their experiences. As I got chatting to a few ladies I was fortunate to have first hand experience of their heritage on this bus trip it was amazing.
We stopped at Harrison point to admire the view and to spare a thought for a poor man who took his own life there years ago, a sad story and added to the moving coastline view, what a place to go. The coastline view was spectacular apparently you can see all the way from the North to the South, a lovely point from which to get your bearings.
We made our way to Bathsheba a rather steep descent that opens up to a surreal beach front, where we stopped to have lunch. We ate and walked on the beach where l listened to more experiences of growing up in Bathsheba, some of the ladies I spoke to said they come here on holiday, to which I replied “but you only live a few miles away ! I’ve travelled thousands for my Barbados holiday!”
They laughed and said “we know!”. I found it all very endearing.
The beach at Bathsheba is absolutely beautiful, apparently Brooke Shields made a film there about living in a house on a rock? Not sure I haven’t seen it.
The whole place reminded me of a Bond film set; approaching it from the cliff it looked very majestic. St Aidens church was the focal point on the beach front. The chattel houses, huge rocks planted out at sea, the palm trees on the beach all too perfect to be real ! The weather was perfect warm sun and a cool breeze.
After lunch we set off up to the top again to visit St Johns Church where the prime minister who recently died is buried, a huge tomb stone over his grave, and fresh flowers.
There is also a Greek prince buried there I can’t remember his name. All fascinating history. The women who I had tagged along with showed me the pulpit that their great, great Grandfather had carved many years ago. They were so proud to show this to me; I was thrilled to have them share it with me.
The day was a delight full of history, culture and experiences you could never plan in a million years. I would recommend this to anyone wanting to know more about the Barbadian heritage it’s steeped in history especially with Europe. However, take lots of food and water there’s no shopping involved – which is quite a relief for some people who don’t want to spend their Barbados holiday in retail therapy !
Article By: Linda Harrington
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