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Barbados: Bridgetown

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Bridgetown > Barbados > Americas

[Visited: August 2015]

After a night-time arrival in Barbados, I am all curious the next morning when I wake up in a small town on the south coast. I first walk towards the west, and then take one of the many minibuses which drops me right in the heart of the capital of Barbados: Bridgetown. Originally settled by Amerindians who built a bridge here, from which the city derives its name, it became a British stronghold in the Caribbean. Much of the heart of the city is still defined by colonial buildings and street pattern, and Bridgetown is a World Heritage city. There are plenty of things to discover here, and I start by taking in the Parliament Buildings, a complex of neo-Gothic 19th century buildings with a clock tower which appear on the north side of the Careenage.

Picture of Bridgetown (Barbados): Clock tower and arched gallery can be found in the west wing of the Parliament Buildings

This is the very heart of Bridgetown, and the side streets are closed to traffic to underline its importance. From here, I start meandering through the streets and alleys, coming across busy spots and forgotten alleys until I reach St. Michael's Cathedral, which unfortunately is partly hidden by construction works. In its cemetery, I find old tombstones, just one more reminder of the British presence here. From here, I walk to Constitution River, and walk west towards Chamberlain Bridge. Named in honour of the British Secretary of State for the Colonies in the 1870s, it is topped by an Independence Arch on its southern side. On the other side, I find Independence Square, with a statue of Errol Barrow, the Prime Minister who led Barbados to independence in 1966 and was declared a national hero after his death in 1987. In front of his statue: a circular decoration on the floor with a trident-head, the symbol of Barbados that also appears in the flag of the country.

Picture of Bridgetown (Barbados): Typical gingerbread house in Bridgetown

After crossing Chamberlain Bridge again, I walk the wooden boardwalk towards the west, on the north side of the Careenage. Across the water, there is a row of small and large docked boats. An important reason for the existence of Bridgetown is that it has the only natural port of Barbados, and the city is still focused on its link with the sea. There are a few more boats at the end of the boardwalk, where I cross into the western part of the Bridgetown. I find some more impressive colonial buildings and square St. Mary's church before leaving the historic part and entering newer parts of town. When I come back to Bridgetown in the evening, most of the bustle is gone, and the streets are almost empty. Most people appear around the bus station, where I fetch a minibus back to my small town.

Picture of Bridgetown (Barbados): Looking south from Chamberlain Bridge with the Independence Arch commemorating indepence from Britain
Picture of Bridgetown (Barbados): Looking east across Constitution River in Bridgetown with the main bus terminal on the right
Picture of Bridgetown (Barbados): Round tower in the Parliament Buildings of Bridgetown
Picture of Bridgetown (Barbados): The wall of the Senate and House of Assembly, eastern section of the Parliament Buildings
Picture of Bridgetown (Barbados): Street in the western part of Bridgetown
Picture of Bridgetown (Barbados): The square and impressive building in the historic part of Bridgetown
Picture of Bridgetown (Barbados): The Parliament Buildings in Bridgetown were constructed in the early 1870s
Picture of Bridgetown (Barbados): Independence Square with a statue of Errol Barrow, who led Barbados to independence, and the symbol of Barbados in the foreground
Picture of Bridgetown (Barbados): The marina of Bridgetown is right downtown
Picture of Bridgetown (Barbados): The old part of Bridgetown has some small alleys with houses with balconies
Picture of Bridgetown (Barbados): One of the old tombstones at the cemetery of St Michael's Cathedral in Bridgetown
Picture of Bridgetown (Barbados): The square bell tower of St Mary's Church in Bridgetown
Picture of Bridgetown (Barbados): Admiral Lord Nelson honoured in a statue in Bridgetown

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