My favourite place is over that ridge and down onto the Atlantic coast. My first time exploring the island one sleepy Sunday, I took a cheap minibus ride into town from the Blue Horizons resort in Rockley. I did wander around Bridgetown for a short while, it has an pleasant setting astride the Careenage, a strip of water full of fishing and pleasure boats, a recent walkboard had enhanced the area, if only they had cleaned the water up. The major buildings at the back of Trafalgar Square (renamed recently National Heroes Square) are old but not imposing; the parliament building looks more like a parish church than a seat of Government. I prefer to amble round the old warehouses to the west of the centre, part West Indian, part British and part wild west frontier town, Bridgetown is a mixture of styles. I worked my way back to the main bus station for the government buses. Barbados has the best public transport system in the Caribbean. The terminal is quiet most of the time with only a few expectant passengers hanging around out of the sunlight. Just before the hour, a fleet of buses draw up against the gates and almost perfectly to the clock, they pull back and head off to every corner of the island. I took the bus to Bathsheba. It circulates around the perimeter of the city centre, across a wide parkland and into the suburbs. On a Sunday, the bus fills with old ladies dressed up to the nines for church, men in suits or at least white shirts and ties, an occasional adventurous honeymooning couples and the odd surfer clutching his board. Or several odd surfers clutching their boards.
The main road rises steadily, despite the terrain being a series of limestone terraces. The road gets through these in narrow cuttings, emerging once more in the sunlight. As the houses give way to sugar cane you can glance back down at the blue Caribbean beyond the city. The hill ahead rises uniformly, the peaks demarcated by a series of radio and TV masts. We stop at several places which could almost pass for villages. The terrain becomes more rugged and the road has to follow the contours more closely. Fewer sugar plantations exist up here, and a more diverse range of tree crops take over. Finally we go over the edge, a small area of scrubby forest is all that remains of the old vegetation. On the other side, the road hugs the side of a steep drop, and the mist rising from the Atlantic. A few small fields of bananas manage to grow in here, but you tumble down a series of steep inclines to the coast. Bathsheba, by far the largest settlement on the Atlantic Coast, is hardly a village, more a cluster of small houses, a couple of bars and a lot of limestone stacks. It is absolutely gorgeous. The Atlantic batters in – nothing stopping its progress from the Sahara to this point. There are a series of beaches, most of them full of coral rubble, which are divided up by huge blocks of limestone, which have either fallen into the sea or have been eroded away from the mainland by the salty winds and crashing waves. At most times of year, a bunch of wetsuits is bobbing up and down just beyond the surf waiting for that wave. Especially popular is the Soup Bowl, a point where the topography of the deep water makes the best breaking rollers.