Bridgetown, Barbados

Barbados' "The City" of the Bridge

Independence Colors
The Wharf
departure boxes
Pontoon Tour
race start
Color Silhouettes
pirate silhouettes
garish equestrianism
bathing experience
resplendent architecture
Mount Gay Distillery
Parliament at Christmas
The Parliament complex
Barbadian Passengers
Chamberlain Bridge
Chamberlain Bridge Dives
Originally founded and named "Indian Bridge" beside a foul-smelling swamp, the capital of Barbados has evolved into the capital of the British Windward Isles. Barbadians call it “The City”. It is the hometown of the far more famous Rihanna.

Given the already long time it took us to jump from Antille to Antille, we were forced to look for an inexpensive stay.

We are welcomed by Janette, who has long been used to renting out rooms in her villa in order to increase her income. Janette will pick us up at the airport. When we arrived, we realized that she was giving us her own room.

Janette introduces us to two other guests.

They are Alex Ekesa and Veronika Jepkosti, Kenyan runners who make their living from international races and the respective monetary prizes. The marathon they were going to participate in would start at 5 am.

In his heart, Alex thought that he would have no competitors to match. He showed little concern about the hours of sleep. Excited to have someone to chat with.

We went to bed about eleven o'clock at night, wishing both of us to succeed. When we woke up, they were back.

Veronika slept. Alex emerges with a narrowed face, red eyes, the look of someone who has survived a month of torture. “Yes, yes I won.” he confirms us with measured enthusiasm.

He begs Janette to make him porridge. After eating it, it collapses from the damage caused by the 42km. He retires to a restful sleep.

We caught the vanette Z4, one of many serving Bridgetown.

Bridgetown: Discovering the Capital of Barbados

An additional quarter of an hour's walk and we begin exploring the city, starting with the historical and architectural core that earned it the status of UNESCO World Heritage.

It's Sunday morning. From the transport terminal to Wharf Rd. and at the mouth of the Constitution River which serves as Careenage (marina) we hardly see a soul.

The heart of Bridgetown centers around Carlisle Bay and the centuries-old harbor that British settlers founded and expanded there.

As we approach this seaside and the solar zenith, the atmosphere becomes humid as not even in the densest jungle of Puerto Rico we made sense.

We arrived at the entrance to Chamberlain Bridge. A few recruiters wander around, hoping to get the last passengers for trips on catamarans moored nearby.

We cross the bridge. We pass under Independence Arch. Down Bay Street we come out into Carlisle Bay.

Carlisle Bay's Competitive Bathing Domain

We find the whereabouts of most of the city's inhabitants, expatriates and visitors.

They are concentrated on the target beach and on a protected strip of cyan tones of the Atlantic Ocean.

There they indulge in a beach pilgrimage blessed by the holy day and the winter weather of the Lesser Antilles.

Friends and families alternate picnic moments with amphibious get-togethers, refreshed and massaged by the coldest sea water of the year, somewhere between lukewarm and lukewarm.

Next to Bay Street, with lunch time imminent, the beach bars Brownes and Pebbles are also busy, reinforced by food trucks that release the aroma of fish sandwiches and serve them, accompanied by Banks beers and rum punch.

Several renowned resorts occupy the southern corner of the bay. Even though it was Sunday at that hour, Janette was working on one of them.

We take dives that we haven't done yet to deserve.

Freed from the tropical breath that numbed us, we returned to the secular heart of the capital.

Chamberlain Bridge, Constitution River and Bridgetown Parliament

The Chamberlain Bridge ascended to accommodate tall mast sailboats en route between Independence Square and the sea off Barbados.

As soon as the bridge descends, expectant pedestrians resume their walks.

And a bunch of rebellious teenagers go on with a festival of diving into the river, among displeased pelicans and a few tourists entertained by the acrobatics of their exhibitionism.

As a rule, the authorities are close by, used to interrupting activities that even a prohibited sign.

At the height of the weekly rest, however, only one or two policemen were on duty, across National Heroes Square, around the Parliament Building complex.

Established in 1639, the Parliament of Barbados was built to emulate that of England.

It remains the third oldest legislative house in the Americas and the central building of historic Bridgetown which, until Barbados' independence in 1958, served the island's British colonial designs.

From Portuguese and Spanish to British Colonial Dominion

In the early XNUMXth century, Barbados was still inhabited by Arawak and Carib natives. The Spaniards arrived and, it is believed, the Portuguese navigators as well.

Between them, they would have given the island the name that it preserves, it is unknown whether because of the abundance of prickly pear trees, or because they found indigenous people with beards.

Authors of successive slave raids, the Spaniards caused the natives to flee to neighboring islands. At the beginning of the XNUMXth century, Barbados had little interest in Europe.

This reality was reversed when the British entered in force in the race for territories for sugar cane.

At a glance, from being depopulated, Barbados was inhabited by thousands of exiled slaves from Africa.

In Barbados, they worked by force on sugar cane plantations, like the Sunbury we visited, dominant on the island since the beginning of the XNUMXth century.

Today, an unavoidable farm-museum.

When the British arrived in Barbados in 1628, they found that the Spanish had left no buildings or infrastructure.

From the southern edge of the island now occupied by the capital, a mere wooden bridge stood out that the natives had erected over the current Constitution river.

Instead of the bridge that inspired the name of Bridgetown, today, Chamberlain claims all the symbolism and protagonism.

As a result of the colonial Africanization of the island, at the hands of the British, there are 280 Barbadians, more than 90% black.

In Bridgetown and surrounding neighborhoods, nearly half live.

Bridgetown, Bridge City and capital of Barbados, silhouettes

Bridgetown, Barbados: A Profitable Capital of the Antilles

During the work week,The City” explodes with life and color.

Barbadians share a national penchant for dressing well. Accordingly, the vast majority of establishments in the city are boutiques, clothing stores, dozens of them, wigs, hair accessories and fashion.

As we wander around, we find ourselves, time and time again, appreciating the bright, raw, old-fashioned shop windows, filled with white mannequins and almost more alive than life in the capital.

As if that were not enough, business is often carried out on the ground floor of buildings that are more grandiose than extravagant.

They were built with profits from sugar and rum, coral stone and ship ballast, structural frames and mahogany furniture, terracotta and copper roofs.

We find the finest examples of local Georgian, Jacobean and Victorian architecture in the parliament complex, the Old Town Hall, the National Library and Old Law Courts, the Exchange Museum, the Mutual Building.

In the various buildings of the Garrison (formerly the city's barracks and arsenal), where Bridgetown maintains its hippodrome and hosts frequent horse races.

And still in the warehouses lining Wharf Rd.

The Historical Core of the Barbados Jewish Community

We are also impressed by the architectural and ethnic exceptions of the capital. A mere 400 meters inland from the Wharf is the Nidhe Synagogue.

When we examine the adjoining cemetery, arranged around a large banyan tree on which two or three intrigued monkeys rest, we find tombstones with dozens of Portuguese names and nicknames.

Together, they form the indelible testimony of the diaspora of Jews expelled from Iberia at the end of the XNUMXth century and from Brazil later on, especially after Portugal defeated the Dutch in the dispute over the northeast of the territory.

For in Barbados, as in Curaçaoin Virgin Islands and other islands, the Jews settled and proliferated. The community of their descendants forms one of the island's minorities. Reduced, but active and regularly meeting in the pink temple of their religion.

Rihanna and Other Lesser Famous Barbadians

Bridgetown is also the city of figures who, in a different sense of migration and history, ended up reinforcing its worldwide notoriety.

These are the cases of Grandmaster Flash, a popular rapper in the 80s, and Shontelle. And, already on a planetary scale, by Robyn Rihanna Fenty.

On one of the many late afternoons we spent discovering Bridgetown, we decided to look for the house where he had lived, located in the Westbury area, close to Janette's house, more than twenty minutes on foot from the historic center of the capital.

We knew that the neighborhood where the singer grew up was poor. We didn't expect to come across two rats, just before we identified their former home, now painted in olive green and other bright tones.

We photograph the house.

We cross Westbury Road and take a peek at the Westbury cemetery, where, due to the lack of open spaces and no electricity cables, even before forming her first band, Rihanna and her friends were having fun flying kites.

The City of Barbados proved to be his own private bridge to world stardom.

Bridgetown's primary function is to guide the designs of Barbados, at the time, one of the ten most developed nations in the Caribbean.

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The Mysterious Dutch Queen of Saba

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The Pioneering Corner of the Netherlands Antilles

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The Great Pyramids of the Antilles

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The Armpit Baguette Caribbean

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Probing the Capital Tobago

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The Multicultural Heart of Curaçao

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The Jet-powered Caribbean Beach

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The Indian Monoceros Stronghold

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Towards the Nepalese Braga

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Winter White
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autumn in the caucasus

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Monumental Tropical Granite

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