• Keef Hellinger

Blog 125 Ruby Wedding Anniversary Cruise 🌠

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

By keef and annie hellinger, Mar 14 2018 08:26AM

Not the Motorhome Trip No.6 5th Feb - 12 Mar 2018 This was our 40th Wedding Anniversary Cruise to the Azores, Caribbean & Lower US States including Louisiana, Florida & South Carolina. We encountered Storm Riley on the way back meaning we had 10 days at sea instead of stopping at our 2nd Azores island on the way back.

#cruise #weddinganniversary


This Blog is like a website on its own, we were away for a month and a half so it resembles some of our much longer trips in Wendy House or hired vans in either Canada, New Zealand or Australia.

mugshots on the intrepid explorers, crossing the atlantic, tick
mugshots on the intrepid explorers, crossing the atlantic, tick

Proof we crossed the Atlantic We had a fun time despite being ill for quite a while and loved our Atul Kutcher meal on the 25th in the Benares offshoot on board called Sindhu. We sailed 12,865 land miles across the Atlantic on our journey.


Booking Reference: WLHK2R


ANNE HELLINGER No Loyalty Tier: POFP78085Y


Number: N803 Ship: Ventura Duration: 35 Nights

Cabin Number: A517 Category: Inside Cabin Deck: A

Bed Configuration: Queen

Dress: Dress Codes for your Cruise: 10 Black Tie Nights, 25 Evening Casual Nights POSH or WHAT


05 February Day 1 Southampton Dining:Freedom

Embark Ventura

06 February Day 2 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

07 February Day 3 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

08 February Day 4 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

To see At Sea slideshows , click HERE

09 February Day 5 Ponta Delgada Dining:Freedom

Arrive early morning

Depart early evening

Fire Lakes and Mountains Excursion 09:00

To see Azores slideshows , click HERE

10 February Day 6 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

11 February Day 7 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

12 February Day 8 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

13 February Day 9 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

14 February Day 10 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

15 February Day 11

Barbados Dining:Freedom

Arrive early morning

Depart early evening

Coast to Coast Excursion 09:00

To see Barbados slideshows , click HERE

16 February Day 12 Guadeloupe Dining:Freedom

Arrive early morning

Depart early evening

Botanical Garden & Paradise Excursion 08:30

To see Guadeloupe's slideshows , click HERE

17 February Day 13 Antigua Dining:Freedom

Arrive early morning

Depart afternoon

Antigua Island Sights Excursion 08:45

To see Antigua's slideshows , click HERE

18 February Day 14 At Sea Dining:Freedom

19 February Day 15 Ocho Rios Dining:Freedom

Arrive early afternoon

Depart early evening

Bob Marley by Zion Bus Excursion 12:30

20 February Day 16 Montego Bay Dining:Freedom

Arrive early morning

Depart early evening

To see Jamaica's slideshows, click HERE

21 February Day 17 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

22 February Day 18 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

23 February Day 19 New Orleans Dining:Freedom

Arrive early morning

Overnight In Port

24 February Day 20 New Orleans Dining:Freedom

Depart afternoon To see New Orleans' slideshows, click HERE

25 February Day 21 Sea Day

Table For 2 in Sindhu at 19:00, See HERE, our 40th Wedding Anniversary meal and cards

26 February Day 22 Key West Dining:Freedom

Arrive morning

Depart afternoon Possible Tender - No Harbourside

To see Key West's slideshows, click HERE

27 February Day 23 Port Everglades Dining:Freedom

Arrive early morning

Depart early evening

Snapshot of Miami Excursion 09:45

28 February Day 24 Port Canaveral Dining:Freedom

Arrive early morning

Depart afternoon

See Blog 125 Part 2 continued from now on, this blog has reached its WIX size limit (c 77 mins)

01 March Day 25 Charleston Dining:Freedom

Arrive morning

Charming Charleston Panoramic Excursion 09:30 Overnight In Port

02 March Day 26 Charleston Dining:Freedom

Depart early afternoon

03 March Day 27 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

04 March Day 28 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

05 March Day 29 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

06 March Day 30 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

07 March Day 31 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

08 March Day 32 Sea Day (see below)

Praia DA Vitoria Dining:Freedom

Arrive morning

Depart afternoon

South Island Sights and Angra Excursion 09:45

Sadly NOT Possible due to Storm Riley so day at Sea

09 March Day 33 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

10 March Day 34 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

11 March Day 35 Sea Day Dining:Freedom

12 March Day 36 Southampton


It was our 40th Wedding Anniversary treat, what you might call our Ruby cruise! We had a wonderful time visiting some lovely places for the first time and revisiting some we had been to before , namely Key West, Everglades and Cocoa beach at Port Canaveral, all of which lived up to or exceeded our memories. We especially liked Charleston, Key West, Guadaloupe and New Orleans but loved the other places as well and Keef loved his Bob Marley pilgrimage (finally after Ivan in 2004). We had fun on the ship meeting some nice people, getting involved in Murder Mysteries and Cetacean watching (or not as the case was *smile*), swimming, sunbathing, reading, cribbage, qwirkle, music, photography, shows, Thornbridges Jaipur, sea swell, reggae with Serious Sounds from Barbados and, surely not, some very luxury food! We went to Atul Kochhar's restaurant (he owns 2* Michelin Benares in London, Indian/English fusion food) on board for our Ruby Wedding Anniversary meal which was lovely, so many courses we could not manage it all. Keef got 3 new Hard Rock Cafe shirts - New Orleans, Miami & Key West (I have an old one of those already) plus we had the usual HRC choc milk shakes and Local Legendries *smile*. Annie got some custom made jewellry, a lovely leather handbag from the covered town market in Charleston and some Mardi Gras fans. The things we didn't like were illness, end of row syndrome, rudeness of fellow passengers and total ignorance of most common decency etiquettes (i.e. lifts, sunbeds, respect for disabled, leaving performances early) but hey overall the good far outweighed the bad. Also we still feel a little young for cruising *smile*. Here are some formal pictures taken on the Ventura and some of our Ruby Anniversary meal, Love K&A x If you would like to read the detailed copy of the Captains Log Star date 11th March 2018 😉 here it is!

plus the very 1st days internal "newspaper"

plus the ships layout diagram

We were in room A517 on board the Ventura

landing in Antigua

plus the Medevac video on Day 34 , scary CLICK HERE Gallery of our best times, so happy!

At Sea

DAY 1-4 5th-8th Feb 2018 Southampton-Azores DAY 6-10 10th-14th Feb 2018 Azores-Barbados

It was our 40th Wedding Anniversary treat, what you might call our Ruby cruise! We stayed in the Premier Inn at West Quay , Southampton the night before and had a meal in the TGI Fridays over the road plus brekkie in the Premier, full English of course, start the way you mean to continue. The first 3 days were at sea, we left in the dark 1 hour late from Southampton. The next day was the Azores, then 5 further days sailing to Barbados our 1st port of call in the Carribean. Mostly calm seas apart from the Bay of Biscay and very sunny as the got to the Caribbean, so speedos, sunnies and ipod on between cooling dips in the Oasis pool

The Azores, Portugal, Sao Miguel


It was our 40th Wedding Anniversary treat, what you might call our Ruby cruise! We landed in Ponta Delgada and went along slightly early for our Fire Lakes and Mountains excursion and were sent away by our lovely Travel department, luckily we came back early as the coach left 15 minutes early. They failed us on so many occasions we just took no notice of them ever after #thebrokenpromisesbrigade. Anyhow we had a lovely trip to give us a feel of Sao Migual stopping at the Pineapple plantation, that and fresh milk (exported to Madiera etc) are the main produce. We stopped at Ribeira Grande where we were lucky enough to see the kids parading in the Carnival festival (there version of the one in Brazil). Our guide was wonderful. We then climbed up to the highest point on the island, such lush rainforest vegetation , but with low cloud could see naught. Returning to Ponta Delgada we walked along the sea front and into the main town, it was very sunny and we finished with carnival fave Malassada & coffee and good it was too.

Your guide to Ponta Delgada

Ponta Delgada is situated on Sao Miguel island in the Azores. The island’s rugged jutting out into the ocean, sheer cliffs dropping into the sea and sheltered coves, vegetation are reflected in beautiful lakes within the craters of extinct volcanoes.

The Azores are a remote Portuguese, volcanic archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, consisting of nine islands divided into three groups. They are on approximately the same latitude as Lisbon and Washington DC, and lie about 760 miles west of Portugal.

The date of the discovery of the Azores remains somewhat uncertain, although Arabian geographers in the 12th and 14th centuries made mention of several islands in the Western Ocean, other than the Canaries. They also noted that these islands appeared to be inhabited by a large number of birds of prey, and it is from this reference that the present name is derived. The Portuguese word for hawk is agor.

Gongalo Valho Cabral brought in the first Portuguese settlers in 1439, but from 1580 to 1640 the islands were subject, like the rest of the Portuguese kingdom, to Spain. During this time they became an important meeting place for Spanish treasure fleets homeward bound from the Indies, and they were a place of maritime warfare between the English and Peninsular powers. In 1591, just off the coast of Flores, a famous sea battle took place between the Revenge (commanded by Sir Richard Grenville) and a Spanish fleet of 53 ships.

The islands of the Azores are volcanic in origin and have been shaped into their present form by various geographical phenomena. Fortunately, earthquakes of major consequence are extremely rare, particularly in the Eastern Azores, and there have been no recorded volcanic eruptions since 1957.

The Azores have a temperate climate due to their location in relation to the Gulf Stream and there’s an annual mean temperature of 64°F (18°C). The coldest month is February and the warmest month is August, when the temperature rises into the 80s°F (approx 27°C). The best time of year to visit the Azores is April to October. During the winter, they are renowned for being rather damp and occasional southwesterly gales are known to blow in.

The vegetation is remarkably beautiful and varied, and practically anything which grows in temperate or subtropical zones absolutely flourishes. The Azores abound in wonderful woodlands, groves of camellia trees, cannas, and azaleas, forests of tree ferns, tea plantations, splendid pastures and hedgerows of blue hydrangeas. Land commands a high price owing to • the possibility of getting three to four crops from it every year.

Sao Miguel (St Michael's) has been christened “The Green Island”, and the explosively fertile soil has earned the island this popular nickname.

The most important trade is that of dairy products and live cattle, both of which are exported to the island of Madeira and Portugal. Other exports include beet-sugar, alcohol, tea, tobacco, cereals and tinned fish.

The production and export of pineapples is also a trade of major importance to the Azores, and there are several pineapple establishments in the suburbs of Ponta Delgada and Vila Franca do Campo, on the south coast. Pineapples are only grown on Sao Miguel under glass, with no artificial heat being used and it takes around 24 months to obtain a fruit ready for the market. Exports from Ponta Delgada tota approximately one and a half million fruits a year. Owing to their exceptionally fine quality and careful selection, Sao Miguel pineapples fetch good prices in Lisbon and several other European markets.

There are many hot springs of great interest in the Azores, as a result of the volcanic origin of the archipelago. Of special note are the spas of Furnas on Sao Miguel, Varadouro on Faial and Carapacho on Graciosa. There are also many springs of mineral rich, medicinal waters; some of which are tapped commercially.

coastline is a mixture of headlands Mountains and valleys covered in lush


Sete Cidades

10 miles North West of Ponta Delgada, means Seven Cities. Whether these existed at one time or not no one knows, but visitors come to admire the ethereal beauty of the area’s two lakes that lay in a circumference of eight miles. Sete Cidades is one of the smallest parishes of Ponta Delgada by population and also the largest in area because it’s located in the centre of a massive volcanic crater (three miles across) that’s also referred to as Sete Cidades.

The natural setting of this part of the Island is enchanting and will appeal to any nature lover or budding photographer.

Fire Lake

15 miles east of Ponta Delgada, in the centre of the island, is Fire Lake; in the crater of another extinct volcano. For more than 400 years, the crater has been filled with fresh, clean water and it’s now a lake that reflects endless surrounding natural beauty. Fire Lake is one of Ponta Delgada’s top natural tourist attractions and people come from far and wide to bathe in the nearby mineral rich waters that are believed to have healing properties.

Furnas Valley

25 miles east of Ponta Delgada is an area that proves the Azores’ volcanic origin. Furnas Valley is Europe’s richest hydrological centre with more than 20 mineral springs that belch, bubble and spray hot water and mud into an atmosphere that’s laden with Sulphur.

Grey, hot slime covers part of the area, rock faces are hot to the touch, steam puffs out of any hole in the earth and yellow bubbles burst as they are released from the earth. For several hundred years, housewives have cooked their sweet potatoes in the hot ground here and visitors have come to take the healing waters. Pay a visit to the Terra Nostra Hotel if you’re in the area to explore the gardens and the lake which are both well worth seeing.


Sao Miguel

The largest and most important of the Azorean islands, is Sao Miguel which houses more than half of the archipelago’s population of 260,000. Sao Miguel (with its 140,000 residents) is roughly 39 miles long and 10 miles wide. Its capital, Ponta Delgada, lies on the south coast with an excellent harbour and a population of 70,000 people. Ponta Delgada has only been the island’s capital since 1546. Before then, Sao Miguel was governed from Vila Franca do Campo, further along the coast.

The main monuments of the Azores are the islands’ numerous churches built during many centuries of history from settlement times up to the present day. Their interiors of carved and gilded work, wood inlay and valuable azulejos (coloured, painted, glazed tiles) are veritable works of art. Besides the great number of churches and convents, some now housing museums, simple chapels and shrines of great charm are also scattered all over the island. There are also old forts, commemorative pillars, statues and busts that all mark famous dates and names in the history of the Azores.

Ponta Delgada

The largest city on Sao Miguel and the principal port of the eastern group of islands is Ponta Delgada; an old town of characteristic narrow roads and winding cobbled streets. The main avenues and highways are excellent and a day’s exploration could lead you from trodden tourist paths to undiscovered historical gems. Lovers of Madeira’s Funchal and Portugal’s Lisbon will feel at home in Ponta Delgada. The buildings are whitewashed with wooden balconies, the streets are paved with mosaics and ornate churches decorate almost every street. There’s a lovely, safe and friendly atmosphere in Ponta Delgada and when the jacaranda trees are in bloom, the bright purple blossom perfectly complements the black and white pavements and facades.

There are a few noteworthy buildings in the town:

The Igreja do Colegio is an 18th century church of late baroque architecture with a wonderfully carved high altar. This church formed part of a very rich convent founded by the Jesuits in the early 17th century.

Sao Sebastiao is the 16th century parish church with a southern fagade of Renaissance design. The main facade is influenced by the Manueline style which is most popular and commonly found in mainland Portugal. The choir stalls are carved cedar

wood and are decorated with other exotic woods like palisander. The statue of St. Sebastian on the high altar, pierced with arrows, bears an uncanny resemblance to Liberace. Valuable vestments embroidered in gold are on show, and the church is largely whitewashed like almost all the other buildings on the island.

Convento da boa Esperanga

Famous for the image of Christ, given by Pope Paul III in 1530, this church has been accumulating jewels and gifts for over 300 years. The chapel where the most treasured possessions are kept is completely lined with azulejos showing colourful, biblical scenes.

The museum of Carlos Machado is housed in a 16th century convent in Rua Joao Moreira (Dr Guilherme Pogas 65) and has several interesting ethnographic collections. It also contains works by local and foreign painters and sculptors, together with exhibitions of religious art, tiles and a wonderful collection of over 2000 bird species. St Andrew’s Church, which adjoins the museum, contains some remarkable wood carvings. Sao Jose has painted vaults over the three naves and a baroque Pieta in the baptismal chapel, while Sao Pedro towards the eastern end of this two mile long town is also worthy of inspection for its treasury. When it comes to secular architecture, have a look at the Fort of Sao Bras just outside the port area and you cannot miss the Triumphal Arch in the centre of town.

Art and Architecture Azulejos

These are coloured tiles painted and cleverly fitted together to create entire scenes. The first Portuguese azulejos were blue, or azul, hence the name. The idea of painting tiles came from the Moors and by the 17th century the Portuguese had mastered the craft so deftly, that it has since come to be associated almost solely with Portugal. Yellow, purple and green eventually joined the blue, followed by landscape and hunting scenes and abstract patterns. All kinds of buildings including churches, town halls, railway stations and private houses were decorated inside and out with azulejos and now they are everywhere to be seen in and around the city.

Talha dourada

Carved woodwork (talha) was popular for church interiors from the 15th century, but the influx of gold from Brazil in the early 18th century led to the gilding of woodwork. Some of Sao Miguel’s churches stand today, quite sober-looking from the outside, but gleam with gold on the inside.


The geographical situation, the climate and the immense wealth of natural resources are responsible for the diversity of the cuisine on the Azores. The soil here is explosively fertile meaning that fresh produce grows in abundance.

Local favourites include homemade soups, fresh fish and seafood, locally sourced meat and a great selection of sweets. These include:

Seafood: Cavacos, lobster, barnacles, crab, Caldeirada de peixe (fish chowder), polvo guisado em vinho de cheiro (octopus cooked in wine), arroz de lapas (limpets), and lapas de molho Afonso, ensopado de trutas (trout stew).

Meat: chourigo com inhames (spiced sausage with yams), torresmos de moiho de figado (pork liver), and cozido das Furnas (meat and vegetables that are boiled in the heat of the earth at places where geothermal energy appears at the surface).

Cheese: Queijo da llha or fresh goat’s cheese.

Sweets: Bolo levedo (sweet muffin), barriga de freira (bread pudding) massa sovada (sweet bread).

The old brandy of Graciosa and the passion fruit and pineapple liqueurs of Sao Miguel are popular specialties in the Azores and they make good souvenirs and gifts as well as local delicacies to sample while you’re ashore.


The best known wines of the Azores are the verdelhos of Pico (which achieved fame as far away as the Court of Imperial Russia), but on Granciosa and Terceira some fine table wines are also produced, particularly the white wines. On nearly all of the Azorean islands there are the traditional vinhos de cheiro or morangueiro which have many keen enthusiasts. The best known are those of Caioura (Sao Miguel), Biscoitos (Terceira) and Sao Lourengo (Santa Maria), not forgetting a variety of wines from Pico.


The terminal building in Ponta Delgada is split across two levels. Shore excursions depart from the car park on the upper floor accessible by stairs and lift. The ground level exit leads to the pedestrian walkway (to the town centre, via shops and cafes) and to available taxis.

Car hire

Varela Rent a Car: www.varelarentacar.com Micauto: www.micauto.com Autatlantis: www.autatlantis.com


These are readily available. It is always advisable to negotiate a price with the driver before setting off on a journey. Most taxi drivers speak little English so ensure you have the means of explaining where you want to go and what time you need to get back to the ship.


• The tap water is not always potable, so only drink bottled water.

• It is forbidden to sunbathe topless in the Azores.

• It is not acceptable to photograph people without asking for their permission.

• Tips and gifts compensate for quality

of service. It is therefore customary to leave a 5% tip in restaurants and to taxi drivers.

• Do not buy souvenirs made from sea based creatures.


The Azorean archipelago, with its rich history and many traditions, is known for its arts and handicrafts. Artisans have saved and developed their workmanship techniques through the centuries and the handicrafts of the Azores include some that are now ancient in origin. Due to their isolated location Azorean craftsmen use primarily raw materials such as wood, fish scales, whale bone and teeth, basalt, hydrangea, piths, potter’s earth and corn leaves. Best buys

Colorful! pottery from Sao Miguel

Embroidery and lace from Sao Miguel,

Terceira, Pico and Faial

Woodwork created from fig


Wheat straw decoration

Scrimshaws (works of art carved from the teeth and jaws of the sperm whale)

Pineapple and passion fruit liqueurs.

Most shops are dosed on Sundays, even when a cruise ship is in port, however the Sol Mar Shopping Centre and the new Parque Atlantico Mall in Ponta Delgada, are open daily from 9.30am-10.00pm every day.



Ponta Delgada’s beaches have black volcanic sand and are washed by the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean. During the months of July and August a few beaches (Praia do Populo, 3 miles from Ponta Delgada and Agua D’Alto, 14 miles away) have facilities and the waters are generally safe to swim in. There are swimming facilities in the cruise ship harbour, near to the marina with steps and pontoons leading down to the sea from the waterfront.


There are two courses on Ponta Delgada (Batalha Golf Course, over to the west of the island and Furnas Golf Club, over to the east). Both courses have 18 holes, and clubs and trolleys can be hired.

Barbados - The Caribbean

DAY 11 - 15/2/2018 Landed in BRIDGETOWN , BARBADOS, Windward Islands, West Indies " Woah, I'm going to Barbados, back to the palm trees, in the sunny Caribbean sea "

It was our 40th Wedding Anniversary treat, what you might call our Ruby cruise! We landed in Bridgetown and went on the Coast to Coast excursion which was a great way to get a look and feel of the diversity of the island. We especially liked the flowers and the lovely beach town of Bathsheba. On the trip we drove through Bridgetown, originally known as Indian Bridge, named after the old bridge which crosses the Constitution River. On the trip we visited the highest point, St Johns church with great views over the Caribbean sea. There are quite a few pictures taken there. Here is an extract from plaque on the church wall " This beautiful church is on the site of the earliest wooden church of 1645.The first stone church was built in 1660, for 110,000 pounds of sugar. It was badly damaged in the 1675 hurricane and rebuilt in 1676-7. This church was badly damaged in the 1780 hurricane, restored and destroyed in the 1831 hurricane. The present fourth church was completed in 1836 and the chancel added in 1876. Its pure Gothic design was influenced by Bishop William Hart Coleridge, first Anglican Bishop.The Vestry Hall above was the meeting place of the Parish Vestry, comprising elected landowners, which ran the affairs of the Parish until 1939. It is named for church patriarchs Mr. Eustace Gill and Mr.Thorne Gollop.". After the trip we took a walk through the craft market listening to the rap music in the sun, had a look at the fish market , flying fish is a local delicacy, and a stroll back along the waterfront gardens in Bridgetown. It was a very hot day. Keef especially liked adding to his collection of photos of world cricket venues with a snap of the Kensington Oval. Now remind me who was Captain Tobias Willcox?

Bathsheba beach

Your guide to Barbados

Beautiful beaches, warm blue sea and sun-drenched days, Barbados offers all the features of a tropical island. Its people are especially warm and welcoming and there is still an inescapable colonial ‘feel’ that adds to the island’s unique atmosphere and special style.

Barbados is the most easterly island in the West Indies, out of the chain of Leeward and Windward Islands. The island stands in splendid isolation with the powerful Atlantic Ocean on its east coast and the clear, calm waters of the Caribbean Sea on the south and west coasts. Measuring 21 miles long and 14 miles at its widest point (and with an overall area of only 166 square miles), the island is scarcely larger than the Isle of Wight. Mount Hillaby, in the northern centre is the highest point at 1,115 feet. The climate is a holiday-maker’s dream - tropical, but tempered by the sea breeze from the north-east. The temperature hardly varies from 24 - 27°C (75 - 80°F) and humidity is pleasantly low.

From its founding in 1627 to its independence in 1966, the island was a British colony and, unlike the rest of its Caribbean neighbours, was never taken by force. It has an endearing blend of British and West Indian cultures, which allied to the Bajan’s reputation as the friendliest people in the Caribbean, weaves a potent spell.


Bridgetown - the Capital

Cruise ships berth just outside of Bridgetown, and almost at once you realise why Barbados is known throughout the Caribbean as ‘Little England’. The market town atmosphere, Georgian houses, Parliament Square, neo-Gothic public buildings, and cricket ground, to say nothing of the signposts to Hastings and Worthing, all contribute to the impression. Of the total population of nearly 300,000 people, more than a third of them live in the capital, Bridgetown.

The Careenage

An inlet of the sea, which cuts right into the heart of the town and its wharf is a fascinating melee of colour and energy. Merchant and navy sailing ships used to lie aground here at low tide for hull repairs.

It is now a pleasant marina where small yachts and pleasure craft moor. Larger yachts, of which there is no shortage in the Caribbean, anchor just south of the town in Carlisle Bay.

Heroes Square

This is the civic heart of the town, and its focal point is the statue of Nelson, erected in 1813 on the site of ‘The Green’ where hansom cabs once waited for fares. The Admiral spent some time here during his command of the naval station at English Harbour, Antigua. In the square stand the Renaissance-style Public Buildings of coral rock and the island’s chief administrative offices (opened in 1874). Here the Barbados Parliament meets and conducts its work. The open arcades have Gothic instead of the usual rounded arches, and the windows are stained glass portraits of all the monarchs of Great Britain from James I. In the neighbouring streets there are a number of elegant Georgian houses, now used mainly as shops or offices, though some are still privately occupied.

Bay Mansion

This Mansion, in Bay Street, is one of the great houses of the past, with parts dating back to 1750.

St Michael’s Cathedral, off St Michael’s Row, originally 17th century, was rebuilt in coral rock in 1780 after being destroyed in a hurricane. The font dates from 1680 and has inscribed round the top in capital letters a Greek palindrome of which the translation is ‘Wash the sin, not merely the skin’.

Government House

A serene white mansion with flower-filled gardens, lies to the east of the Cathedral on the edge of the town. This is the official office and residence of the Governor general of Barbados.

On the Garrison, 1 1 /2 miles south of the town is a block of red brick buildings, once the quarters of British officers and NCOs. Since 1905, it’s been occupied by government and public officials. Also note the Main Guard House with Clock Tower.

The Garrison Savannah

The Garrison Savannah was formerly the parade ground for Britain’s largest overseas garrison. Today it’s a lovely expanse of 50 acres devoted to walking, recreation and sport and it’s ringed by a horse racing track. The building with the clock tower, once the guard room, also used to house the famous Savannah Club. Queen’s Park

When the garrison left Barbados in 1905, Queen’s House, the official residence of the officer commanding the troops, was purchased by the Government. The grounds, now known as Queen’s Park, were laid out with a lake, terrace and parterres and were opened to the public in 1909. Look out for the Baobab tree that’s over 1000 years old.

Barbados Museum

Nearby is the Barbados Museum, housed in a former British military prison. The Museum takes you on a fascinating journey from the pre-Columbian period, through Barbados’ history to modern times. On display is some fine furniture imported from England in the 18th century to grace the mansions of the rich plantation owners.

The reference library documents the history of the island, exhibiting old newspapers, books and records of interest. There are also displays of geology and natural history. Art and other exhibitions are regularly arranged. The Museum is open Monday to Saturday from 9.00am - 5.00pm. (except public holidays - when it closes) and from 2.00pm - 6.00pm on Sundays.

George Washington’s House

This house stands on Bush Hill, a mile from the town centre. It was acquired by the Barbados National Trust and is a popular historical tourist attraction. The great American statesman visited Barbados in 1751 when he was a 19-year-old major in the British army. With his brother he stayed seven weeks and is reported to have rented the house for £15 a month ‘exclusive of liquor and washing’. Open from Monday - Friday from 9.00am -4.30pm.

Jewish Synagogue

The Jewish Synagogue dates back to the 1650s, making it one of the two oldest synagogues in the western hemisphere. It is a Barbados National Trust protected building and is a must for anyone interested in cultural and archaeological history.

Not only has the structure been preserved, but the Synagogue has been restored to its original purpose as a house of prayer. The Synagogue is located on Synagogue Lane and is open Monday - Friday 9.00am -12.00 noon and 1.00pm -4.00pm.

Kensington Oval Cricket Ground

Sports lovers may stretch their legs with the short stroll from the centre of Bridgetown to the Kensington Oval Cricket Ground where the West Indies have so often demonstrated their flair and brilliance at the game which is not only a national passion, but also the most concrete bond between the countries of the Caribbean. On any beach or clear patch of ground in Barbados you may see a game of cricket being played, and perhaps catch a glimpse of a youngster with enough talent to follow in the footsteps of the hero of the island, the great Sir Garfield Sobers.