Sunday, July 13, 2014

Caribbean Cruisin'

Today I've been getting nostalgic with thoughts to summer holidays past, with one particular holiday sticking out for me - Barbados.

Believe me, I know that unbelievably blessed and lucky I am.

Anyhoo, seven summers ago (how has it been that long?!) we left the grey and dull weather in Manchester in search of sunnier climes and arrived in Barbados to that infamous hair dryer treatment of heat and humidity that clings to you like a welcome back hug that never wants you to leave. All of this was done under the guise of a school sports tour.

Yep, you've read that right. My school organised a sports tour to Barbados. 

And whilst it may have been your average state comprehensive, I think Haydon Bridge (Haydon Bridge represent) was anything but. But anyhoo I digress, after many bag-packing fundraisers and trying to convince others and ourselves that our main motivation to go was to better ourselves at netball and competing against local teams, we were able to travel to Barbados. We may have got thrashed at netball (it's just not my sport) by teams 3 years our junior who were smirked at how small we were but we were able to stand that humiliation because we were in bleddy Barbados.

The chilled, laid-back vibe of the place along with the perpetual background soundtrack of reggae; the dreamy weather - even the blitzing of half-hour storms - and the constant feel-good attitude that everyone seemed to radiate made any embarrassing defeat bearable. Luckily we weren't just there for sports and outside of being hung out to dry at netball, there was all sorts of fun and games to be had.

Now I've probably said before and forgive me if I'm sounding like a broken record but I normally prefer not to do planned excursions. However, one of my favourite travel experiences ever that stands out for me is the Catamaran cruise we did during our time in Barbados.

First things first, the precedent was set as soon as we arrived when we were offered fruit punch and a choice of banana or coconut bread (or both). Give me good food and drink and I'm all yours.

Also, we were on a boat in the Caribbean sea. Clear blue skies and clear blue waters. Enough said.

For the duration of the excursion (and the whole trip) we ran on the infamous Caribbean time. When we wanted to lie and chill, we did. When we wanted to dive in and swim, we did just that. When we wanted to see turtles, somehow they just instinctively popped up. We had pretty much free roam to do what we wanted on the boat - we even sparked off a dance off - or in the sea - snorkelling, swimming, messing about, it was absolute bliss.

This, I think, highlights how school trips had an influence in contributing to my passion for travel as well as my parents. The fact is without participating in the sports tour, I wouldn't have had that experience. So although I'm not having a summer holiday this year at least I have the memories of summer holidays past to keep me going!

This post was an entry for Low Cost Holidays #DiveintoMalta Competition. For more information, check out their blog.

What's your favourite summer memory? Where's your favourite summer destination?

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