Thursday, August 14, 2014

Barbados Break (Repost)

Like everywhere else in the world, Barbados is what you make of it. But what is particularly special about this little Island is the amazing range of choices. And at most, it only takes about an hour to drive from top to bottom. Most pictures will enlarge or get clearer when you click on them. Orange means a link.
West Coast = Resort-ville. (Though quite lovely, Sweetie Darling)
East Coast = wild and woolly - a windsurfer’s delight but don’t even think about swimming.  
North coast? Dunno. Saw it from a distance - If you can drive to it - good luck.
We stayed on the South coast. Near Oistins.
One of my very favorite people is Jimbo. After traveling pretty well everywhere – and certainly to all points in the Caribbean (he flew himself around), he decided that Barbados would be a good place to spend the worst of the Ontario winter. So he got himself a new condo at the Barbados Golf Club. We got to stay there for two weeks.
Now I will try to keep this post as just an overview of our trip – because the alternative may well outdo Tolstoy, in length only of course – but this next little detail is important because it will give you an insight into Jimbo, especially if you are into golf.
The 3-bedroom. 3- bathroom Condo he chose, provides a view of the 9th & 18th. Fairways and Greens as well as the Par-3 10th.Tee box to Green. You don’t find many of those around. (Kind of like Jimbo). Here’s some pics from his front deck: (click to enlarge, remember)
9th. & 18th. Fairways

9th. Green
18th Green & Clubhouse

Jimbo (blue) heading to the 10th. Tee
Now the really important choices, as you might have gathered from previous posts, involved places to eat and drink. In Barbados, there is a marked contrast of choices. Take one of our most popular menu items: 'Grilled catch of the day', for example. It's about 15 bucks at a great local eatery like ‘Shakers’, for the freshest grilled fish you will ever eat, with all
the trimmings including your Beer or Rum Punch – or you can do it at places up the west coast for about 80 bucks, or more. The beer will be twice as much or you can stump up another hundred or so for a bottle of Prosecco to wash it down. Maybe a few hundred more for champers. Up to you.
Or, there's the renowned old rum shop called 'Chicken Rita's'.
'Rita' sits in the back near the deep fryer and coats all the chicken and hand cuts the chips. That's the specialty - actually that's all they do! There were lots more tables when we went - all full. You can get your booze there, or take your own, they don't care. We took wine. It was fun.
We did a couple of different types of Beach restaurants for lunch as well:
The Beach House, in Holetown. Chilled soup, Shellfish salad and crisp Sauvignon Blanc, type of place. It was indeed delightful and for us, a 'treat'.
Then there was The Carib. More laid back. Sit around here all afternoon sipping cold ones and munching on their excellent fried fish Baguettes and chips:
Most beaches had a Food & Beer Shack: (We got a breakfast of fried egg sandwiches at this one)
One of my favorite munches to have on the beach, though was the ‘Chicken Roti’. A succulent Caribbean curried chicken wrap. Mouth watering stuff!
Julia favored the ‘Cutter’, which is a breaded, fresh - caught Flying Fish in a bun with lettuce.
We both agreed on our favorite to wash all these taste treats down: BANKS - The Beer of Barbados. Truly a lovely lager!
There was more to drink than beer, by the way..... One morning, we stopped to take in the 'ambiance' at our local coffee shop: (Eat your heart out, Starbucks :-)   Grande is lovely -Right?
We did 'Fine Dine'  one evening. Just down the road from us and right by our usual beach, was the Cafe Luna at the Little Arches Hotel.
On our way back from the beach, we visited in the afternoon and had a few on the deck with one of the guests we had met at an earlier beach party. All went 'swimmingly' and we were able to wangle a reservation for later that evening. (No easy task, by all accounts).
Accordingly, we returned, showered and freshly liveried, sat in the moonlight and proceeded to indulge in melt-in-the-mouth lobster, crab, shrimp, perfect pasta, crisp salads, fresh warm rolls and such. They even had Mersault, one of my all time fave Burgundy whites. The nectar flowed all the way through to the "Rum Broulee" we finished with. (Well it just slides down, as my old mum used to say).
Then we invited our new friend over for Bajan Coffees afterward. That's coffee with Rum and Molasses in it. Oh Boy!
Sitting outside, under the stars and over the ocean, with the balmy breezes blowing, sated with the delights of cuisine, service and favorite beverages, we knew this was one of those 'special meals' we would always remember.
Our favorite 'Go To' place for an evening meal was situated a short drive away in a beachfront area, well known for the nightlife, called the St. Lawrence Gap. (Click to enlarge)
Basically, it is a strip of various bars and restaurants - and even a British style pub. The whole area has a great feel, with the tourists and locals eating, drinking, laughing or just strolling along and enjoying the different music wafting along on the warm breeze. The place is about midway along the 'Gap' and it is called 'The Harlequin'.
Decently priced, a very comprehensive menu and great service. It is very popular and books up days in advance. Their Caesar salad was as good as I have had anywhere (I love garlic) and their fresh seafood selections were offered in starter or entree portions. I found the spicing in both their specialty and Caribbean chicken dishes went down extremely well with a tasty little Argentinian Malbec they had to offer. An all round delightful dining experience. We did a hat trick there.
Now of course, all these culinary capers require some serious lolling on the beach, with the occasional swim to work off the calories. Right. The most strenuous it got was holding a book or lifting a beer. The ocean was perfect. Body surf or float around, More choice. Deffo click on these four coming up..
Here's one of the 'livelier' surf beaches at the Crane Hotel.
and this is a lovely beach but a bit of a dodgy undertow at Bottom Bay
This next one was our fave. A few minutes from where we were staying, all the amenities and like the others pictured, VERY few people, though it did get a little busier during our second week. Had to wait an extra two minutes to get a cold one, sheesh! It was called Miami Beach 
So that's our overview. 
It was tough leaving out all the other stuff - the neat places we visited, the shopping, the great people we met, the parties we were invited to. Quiz Nights as honorary members of the team 'Dumb and Dumber'. (We done good). Have I mentioned there was Rum???
And oh yes - we have been invited back - Arrrr Matey :-)
But to put Barbados in a Nutshell, this is why we left our own island in February and took six flights to get there and back...........a final click and you may hear the ocean ;-)

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