Atlantis Alumni

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Visiting Barbados

VISITING BARBADOS While Jim made some sea turtle friends (see his photos) I took an excursion by bus to a few interesting places. Our first stop was Tyrol Cot. Originally built by Austrians (thus, ‘Tyrol’) this cottage was actually a plantation house. Barbados formerly and until today has sugar as its primary export crop, and the island is covered with cane fields. Tyrol Cot is famed for being the home of the first Prime Minister, Sir G. Adams and his wife. Both were active in pursuing freedom and education for the population and as a result the island has one of the highest literacy rates in the world. Prime Minister Adams himself was educated in law on a scholarship at Oxford. The house is full of Victorian furniture but also photos of the family. Later generations left the house as a museum, to the state, after the death of Lady Grace Adams around 1989. From Tyrol Cot, our bus traveled to another parish, St. John’s where we saw an old church of the same name. This mid-19th century church has an amazing graveyard, full of gigantic stone tombs and aging Banyon trees. One of the tombs was that of Ferdinando Paleologus, descendant of the last Emperor of the Byzantine Empire at Constantinople. Since I once wrote a long work of fiction that included a scene describing the Fall of Constantinople, this was a fascinating tomb for me to see. Ferdinando died in the mid 17th century, and one wondered how he wound up in Barbados. From the peaceful church and graveyard our bus travelled on to Orchid World. I’ve never seen so many orchids in my life, and a hand-out revealed that there are over 100,000 orchid hybrids found in greenhouses in addition to 30,000 orchid species found worldwide, growing (usually without soil) in every conceivable habitat on the earth. The vivid colors of the orchids were fun to photograph before we left and returned to the ship. Barbados is one of the more impressive and friendly Caribbean islands, as the sailors and captain on our catamaran later in the day were to prove, when we took a sail at the end of the day. – Dan

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