Thursday, January 29, 2015

Historic Church in Barbados

The Weather Outside is Quite Frightful....Wouldn't you Rather be Here?

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Book Review - Gooseberry Island by Steven Manchester

Gooseberry Island
A Novel by Steven Manchester

I’m usually able to get through most books but not every book catches my attention and emotions enough to give it a second read or even a second thought, for that matter. Gooseberry Island was one of those rare books that I could not put down once I started reading it. Unfortunately, with the tasks of daily life, I would have to put it down at times and would than find myself looking forward to the next time I could pick it up.

Lindsey has found herself newly single after breaking off a long relationship. David is about to leave home to fight in the war in Afghanistan. In the midst of their hectic lives, they meet, quite by accident, and decide to stay in touch while David is away. It’s a unique and sometimesheartbreaking love story with some twists and turns. Things go wrong and when it looks like they might lose one another for good, they find their way back to one another.

I love books that are full of emotion and make the reader feel like they are getting to know the characters personally. I can truly say that throughout this book, I laughed, cried and sat on the edge of my seat in suspense and to me, that makes for a very good read! Gooseberry Island is a book that you will want to read in one sitting because you are rooting so much for the two main characters to succeed that you won’t be able to put the book down…and it’s a book that you will want to read again and again!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My Last Day in Barbados...and Many More Lasts Until Next Time

The day I hate most on any vacation arrived; the day I had to leave and return home. But, I must say, as much as I loved it in Barbados, I was ready to get back home and see my cat, Captain Jack, and get back to my regular life. It’s true what they say about the Caribbean – time really does slow down. A week at home flies by in the blink of an eye while a week in the Caribbean feels like a month. I don’t know if this phenomenon has ever been scientifically proven but it’s well known among seasoned travelers who spend a lot of time in the region. Perhaps it’s the laid back lifestyle of the islands or perhaps the Caribbean is located in some sort of space anomaly or black hole that makes time go by slower. Whatever it is, a week is usually plenty of time for me and by the end of it, I’m sad to leave but ready to head home all the same.

Naturally, it being my last few hours on the island, I spent them at the beach. With my belongings packed and my bill at Angler settled, I set off down the street for the last time. My little “private” stretch of beach was empty as it had been all week. Just the way I like it. I took one last dip in the warm, tropical water and lay on the beach with my book for a while, loving every moment that I felt like a lone castaway on some deserted island before I boarded a plane back to my own (more crowded and not so tropical) little island up north. While my last night in Barbados was full of lasts, my last day in Barbados was full of last lasts. For example, there were three last times on the beach because each time I turned away to walk towards the road to leave, I would only turn back around take in more of that soft sand and warm blue-green water. When I left my apartment for the last time, it wasn’t the last time because I would come up with some excuse to return several times just so I could take one last look at it again…and again. I get a little attached to things. I grew attached to my little “private” beach and that morning walk to the fish market and my little step where I sat and listened to the cicadas sing to me every night.
With only an hour left before Sandra came to pick me up in the airport shuttle, I made a quick trip over to my other favorite beach by the fish market. It was a little more crowded there but I still counted my blessings that I had the opportunity to spend a week in the Caribbean with hardly any crowds. As I started to make my way back to the road to go back to Angler, I stopped and looked around at that beautiful panorama one last time and braved the treacherous midday traffic one last time.

Back at Angler, I said my goodbyes to Chandra, Jake, Amy, Lennie, Cocoa and Frisky and waited with my luggage by the gate.

So, what is my verdict on Barbados? Loved it and yes I would return! First of all, the weather was great. Although the forecast called for thunderstorms and rain all week, I only heard one clap of thunder one night while I was in bed and experienced one 5-minute sun-shower. As for the food? Well, let’s put it this way. I’m a vegetarian. I don’t like chicken or fish and many people who know me well call me a “picky” eater. My close friends and family often comment that they think I will starve to death when I travel because I’m picky. I don’t see myself as a picky eater. I am quite adventurous with my food as long as it’s vegetarian and doesn’t involve seafood of any kind. But perhaps to you, that classifies me as a picky eater. Despite this, I had no trouble keeping myself very well-fed in Barbados. All of the restaurants I went to offered delicious and affordable vegetarian options. Any tours I went on were very accommodating of my diet requirements. There were grocery stores nearby where I could buy my own food to cook with if I had wanted to. The main thing I noticed about the food in Barbados? Everything tasted so much fresher and healthier than it does at home!
I’ve been to a number of Caribbean destinations but Barbados somehow felt more Caribbean than the rest…for lack of a better way to explain it. I’m not really sure why. Perhaps it was the fact that it wasn’t as built up and crowded as other places. Perhaps it was the numerous opportunities to get out and get a real feel for the place and meet people who have lived there their whole lives and were willing to share stories similar to the ones I read in novels that were set in the Caribbean and the realization that some of the things I read are, in fact, true. Maybe it was the mock pirate ships that could be spotted in the bay from time to time or the way the sun seemed to take forever to set over the green-blue sea. Or maybe it was the assumption I had that Barbados would be much like the other Caribbean destinations I’ve been to and the fact that it turned out to be much different…in a very, very good way!

GUEST POST - Renting a Houseboat Is Hip and Happening

Looking for ideas for your next vacation? Have you ever thought about renting a houseboat? Did you know that renting a houseboat is one of the most popular ideas for a city break? Why pay for expensive hotel rooms when you can have a whole house all to yourself? And it’s not just any house, but one on the water! You can rent one that is surrounded by total silence in a natural environment or you can be in the middle of a bustling city such as Amsterdam.

Indeed, the advantages of renting a houseboat are numerous: the sense of freedom, the adventure of taking a different kind of holiday, the coziness and, most of all, the cool factor a houseboat vacation provides. Get more information about renting a houseboat here and start planning your next escape! Also, do not worry about motion sickness for a second! There is no such thing on a houseboat!
Now that you are hooked on the idea of a houseboat vacation, you may be wondering where to go. If you are an urban explorer, you should know that Amsterdam, Berlin, San Francisco and London have the most beautiful houseboats in the entire world.

Using either a modern or a rustic decorative style, these off the beaten path lodgings offer all the comfort you need to enjoy the most awesome vacation that may include sightseeing. You will also have the benefits of modern comforts you get with urban accommodations combined with the peaceful surroundings of the countryside. Imagine visiting the crowded British capital city while managing to stay away from the famous smog! Imagine enjoying Berlin’s vibrant entertainment scene while having your morning coffee on your houseboat’s porch surrounded by water!
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