After visiting Bridgetown and Speightstown, and hiking much of the east coast of the island, I decide it is time to explore the interior. Instead of taking a car, which is the most common way, I rent a mountain bike, and my plan is to cycle through the interior, to the far north of the island, and back to Bridgetown, in one day. My first goal is to reach Gun Hill Signal Station, which is not far from Bridgetown. It is just one of the signal stations built by the British for communicating across the island, and inevitably lies on top of a hill, which means that the last couple of kilometres are uphill cycling. Gun Hill was a military outpost already in the late 17th century, when guns were installed to warn people below of invasions and uprisings. It became a signal station in the 1820s. Apart from its tower, it has other buildings like a kitchen and barracks. There are unobstructed views in all directions, and it is here that I notice how green Barbados actually is.
From Gun Hill, I ride the roads towards the north. The going is quite easy, as the road maintains altitude while passing through small villages. Fortunately, I soon find signs pointing to my next destination: Welchman Hall Gully. After quite some turns, I park my bike at the entrance, and spend an enjoyable time at this gully that basically offers a view of what the tropical rainforest on Barbados looked like centuries ago. Unfortunately, the numbers of the trees and plants do not have much of a logical order, so it is not always possible to know the name of them. Impossible to miss is the large bearded fig tree at the entrance, and one of the reasons I wanted to visit Welchman Hall in the first place: according to legend, it is from this tree that the name Barbados (bearded ones in Spanish) was derived. Apart from the vegetation, there is a great viewpoint with views towards the north and east coast, and there are a lot of green monkeys that play hide and seek with me.
From Welchman Hall, I try my luck and turn west, on small, narrow and empty roads largely without any signs. I am soon happy about my decision to do so, as the roads are probably the most beautiful I have seen on the island. Green hills, some of which with cows, palmtrees lining the road, a farm every now and then, and very few people: it feels like I have now discovered the real face of Barbados which for most visitors consists of the archetypical tropical beach. When I hit highway number 2A, I turn north, and quickly make my way to the crossroads where most traffic continues east, towards Belleplaine, a part of the island I have already discovered on foot. Instead, I continue towards the north, passing St Lucy's church and a mill without its upper part, with a row of palmtrees, to arrive at tiny Archers Bay where I carefully take a refreshing dip in the wild waters. From here, the ride south takes me past the renowned beaches of Barbados and coastal villages all the way back to Bridgetown and beyond where I wait for the sun to dip into the ocean before having a shower and dinner to replenish all the energy I have spent on my bike during the day.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Barbados Interior (Barbados). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Barbados Interior. Read more about this site.