The first stop on our Caribbean cruise on the Celebrity Summit was the island nation of Barbados. Twenty one miles long by 14 miles wide, Barbados is home to nearly 300,000 people if there are not ships in town. Our ship was one of about five docked there that day, meaning the population on the island grew by more than 10,000 for a short time. Talking to the locals, that’s pretty normal for this time of year.

Meghan was happy to show off this Welcome to Barbados sign at the port.

Meghan was happy to show off this Welcome to Barbados sign at the port.

Having never been to Barbados, we booked an excursion called “Best of Barbados” through Celebrity Cruises that would take us around the island to see some of the highlights of the tropical wonderland. Our ship was parked right up front meaning that we didn’t have to walk as far as folks on other ships (a good thing when the ships park front to back and are over 1,000 feet long) so we were able to walk right up through the terminal to where the buses are parked for the excursions. We found our bus, got on, and sat down. Sort of. I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a seat with such a small amount of legroom.

As you can see from this picture, leg room was quite limited on the tour bus we took around Barbados. Steve is 6'4" and could barely fit his legs into the seat.

As you can see from this picture, leg room was quite limited on the tour bus we took around Barbados. Steve is 6’4″ and could barely fit his legs into the seat.

The tiny amount of legroom was a small price to pay, however, in order to see the wonderful sights on Barbados. We drove for about 30 minutes while our guide explained some of the history of the island and its sugar industry as we headed toward our first stop: St. John’s Parish Church.

St. John's Parish Church in Barbados

St. John’s Parish Church in Barbados

The first church was built on this site in the 1600’s, with the present-day church completed in the early 1800’s. The church is high on a hill with some amazing views around it.

The views from the back of the church were absolutely stunning - even on a cloudy day.

The views from the back of the church were absolutely stunning – even on a cloudy day.

Behind the church is a graveyard that dates back to the first church building.

The cemetery at St. John's Parish.

The cemetery at St. John’s Parish.

There was a wall around the cemetery, presumably because people are just dying to get in, which, if you saw the incredible view, you’d understand why. From St. Johns, we folded ourselves back onto the bus and headed toward our favorite stop of the day, Orchid World.

We had a great tour through Orchid World where we learned about all of the plants and birds there.

We had a great tour through Orchid World where we learned about all of the plants and birds there.

Once there, our guide led us down a beautiful path and shared with us examples of local plant life. We learned about plants like the Traveler’s Palm and how early travelers knew they could find drinkable water in it.

This Ravenala plant is often called the Traveller's Palm because it can be bent to produce water for weary travelers.

This Ravenala plant is often called the Traveller’s Palm because it can be bent to produce water for weary travelers.

Notice the bottom left stem of the green plant where it is broken off. This is likely where gardeners cut the plant to get a drink.

Notice the bottom left stem of the green plant where it is broken off. This is likely where gardeners cut the plant to get a drink.

We also walked through structures that held hundreds of beautiful orchids. This took a while because people kept taking pictures–and if you look at some of the photos Ann took, you can see why.

The flowers at Orchid World were just beautiful.

The flowers at Orchid World were just beautiful.

The exposed root systems from the orchid plants were so interesting. Personally, I have never been able to keep them alive.

The exposed root systems from the orchid plants were so interesting. Personally, I have never been able to keep them alive.

Our Barbados journey had a third stop, (I lived for any opportunity to get off the bus and stretch my legs) a signal station that was largely unremarkable save for the amazing vista over the countryside and ocean from the tower where the soldiers stood to pass messages around the island using a series of flags. Beautiful view, but when it started to sprinkle, we were happy to get back on the bus (until it was time to sit down, anyway) and head back to the port.

Back in port, we stuck our noses in a few of the shops, found a postcard, a stamp, and dropped it in the mail.

mailing postcard

We wandered back out toward the ship, reminiscing about all the wonderful things we’d seen that day. We were glad to be on vacation, in a new place, and seeing new things. The trip was still young–this was the first of five ports of call–and we were looking forward to exploring more sites in the days to come. Next stop — St. Lucia.

Have you been to any islands in the Caribbean? What was your favorite? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you.

  • Perched high on a hill in Tuscany is the medieval village of Montepulciano. In the center of town is the piazza grande paved with bricks laid in a herringbone pattern in the 14th century. ⁣
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Standing in the piazza, looking at the bricks, we were filled with a sense of awe at the history these bricks have seen. They've been there for 700 years so have seen times of war and peace, celebration and sorrow. Generation after generation of townsfolk were born, lived and died, and all have walked on these bricks. ⁣
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This is one of the things we love most about traveling. It gives us an authentic feel for history, one we wouldn't have if we just stayed at home.
  • We were so tickled when @thechefandthedish reached out and asked us if we'd like to take a complimentary cooking class with them. They offer private cooking classes with chefs from all over the world that you can take right in your own kitchen. ⁣
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For this class, we Skyped with chef Paola who taught us to make strawberry risotto, traditional bruschetta, and a delicious poached pear dessert that blew our minds. ⁣
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Risotto always seemed like a difficult dish to make, but Chef Paola explained it so well that it wound up being pretty easy. We spent a great afternoon with friends, learned something new, and enjoyed a great meal after. A class with The Chef & The Dish is a great gift idea, as well. Follow the link in our bio, and you can read more about our class on our blog.
  • The world is a big place, and there's so much to discover. Go places, and see things. It doesn't matter if you don't have a detailed itinerary, either. Sometimes, it's more about the journey and what you see and experience along the way, than it is about the destination.
  • During our trip in Tuscany with @italyunfiltered, we stopped at a small family winery. After learning about the organic methods they use to produce high quality Chianti Clasico wines, we had a tasting. ⁣
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Wine tastings in Italy are nothing like those in the US. They are glorious affairs complete with delicious foods paired with the incredible wines. This particular winery brought us samples of homemade, organic jams made from fruits grown in the family's garden. We dabbed these on locally produced pecorino cheese. Yum!⁣
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We're so glad that we had a local driver and guide. Stopping here was a highlight of our Italian adventure, and we never would have found it on our own.
  • The village of Marsaxlokk, Malta, is famous for these brightly painted fishing boats. The design is rather ancient, possibly dating back to Phoenician times, though it's still used today because it is very strong and holds up well in rough weather. One feature of each boat's decorations, are eyes painted on the bow of the boat. These eyes are said to protect the people fishing while they are at sea.
  • The blue cobblestones of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, are actually part of a recycling project which started 500 years ago. Iron foundries in Spain produced huge piles of waste, called slag. Rather than throw these piles away, the slag was made into blocks which was placed into ships as ballast. The ballast was offloaded in Puerto Rico when they loaded products bound for Spain. The blocks were then used to pave the streets. ⁣
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Pretty good idea, and 500 years later, they are holding up well!
  • The Overseas Highway connects Key West and the Florida Keys to the mainland U.S. While the entire road is a marvel of engineering, the centerpiece is the Seven Mile Bridge, which runs over water for, well, seven miles.⁣
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The next time you're driving, reset your trip odometer and wait until it gets to seven miles. You'll see that's a pretty long distance. And then think about the fact that people built a bridge over water with no land to support them for that distance. Pretty incredible-especially since the first one was built in 1912.
  • We'd never heard of cannonball rocks before we drove past them at North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and asked each other, "did you see that?" We'd never seen anything quite like these natural "concretions" created when water leaked into pockets of minerals in the ground. Now, as a hill erodes, these formations are exposed.⁣
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Seeing these rocks was such a cool experience because it reminded us of why we travel. We never know when we'll find something new, something that we never knew existed. We got along fine not knowing about cannonball rocks, yet now that we've seen them, our lives are a little richer. ⁣
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The world is a pretty cool place. Check it out.⁣
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@ndlegendary

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