A bit of the tropics in February– Barbados

It was so nice to get away from the cold February and spend some time in the south Caribbean this year. I love exploring the Caribbean when I can– there’s so much history there. Albeit, that history cannot be discussed without acknowledging the horrendous institution of slavery. You can’t talk about the those islands without recognizing that– something that lots of people tend to forget once they see they picture blue water and feel the cool breezes. I always think it’s a good idea to know your history. But, even knowing that, theses islands are always an amazing places to visit. I’m sure I’ll be back one day…

My first trip to the Caribbean took place when I was maybe 12 years old– it was to the Bahamas with my family on a cruise (I literally haven’t been on a cruise since. I can’t stand them). I remember loving the clear water, snorkeling with fish, and just getting to play on the beach. I distinctly recall being dragged to a local church as well (my parents always attended Sunday mass, no matter where on earth we were. Much to the dismay of myself and sister!) I loved hearing their island accents, and even as a child, could tell that their ways were friendly and genuine.

View of Barbados from above.

The next time I graced the shores of an island– other than Ireland– was in 2012 when myself and boyfriend (now husband!) decided to take a trip to Jamaica. This was the first time I was going to experience an all inclusive resort as well. We stayed in Negril and would have had a great time– if I didn’t get food poisoning/drank the water when I wasn’t supposed to sickness. It was awful except for maybe 2 days. Since Negril is about an hour from Montego Bay where we flew into, we ended up seeing a bit of the country. I was struck by how poor it was– and dilapidated. I was embarrassed to be a part of a group of all white tourists just gawking out the window of the van.

The next time in the Caribbean was to Antigua and Barbuda— it also happens to be where we got engaged. We did an all inclusive again– and this time I did not drink anything but bottled water and stayed away from fresh fruit/veggies because of possible contamination. I had an amazing time. The history there is incredible and rich. The people were so warm and helpful– I’ll never forget that! The standard of living was definitely higher on this island as well.

Finally, this past February I was in Barbados for the honeymoon. It was the furthest south yet we’ve ventured, so hat and sunblock went everywhere with me. I loved the island and the people– I even got to taste rum at the place where rum was born at the Mt. Gay Distillery. It was quite cool. It’s funny, but all the islands I’ve visited are all former British colonies– the Bahamas, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, and Barbados. I honestly never set out to do that, it just happened that way!

Original rum distillery kettle from the 18th century!

The British history in the Caribbean kind of fascinates me– perhaps it’s related to swashbuckling pirates and such– but the real history is what really gets my imagination running in all sorts of directions, and makes me question why haven’t I written a book yet! Knowing that Antigua had one of the largest forts (Fort James) with accompanying giant canons because it was the furthest eastern point before the trip back to the Old World just blows my mind. Imagine being a rum runner trying to sneak past, or even an enemy Spanish frigate (the ship, not the bird— which breeds in one of two places in the world, and one of them is Barbuda!) attempting to evade capture by the British. You had to get by this one fort– easier said than done– before it was open waters. Sorry, my imagination gets away from me…

Regardless, highly recommend if you can get to the Caribbean to do so. I think we’re going to take a break from that area of the world for awhile, and concentrate on Europe and spots in the U.S. neither of us have seen yet. Happy travels!

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