Travel Diary in Antigua

By Jan Gamm

Travelling somewhat light since the Memsahib pushed herself off the old mortal whatsit, I pitched up in Antigua looking for a little peace and quiet, a bit of a sanctuary in which to rest my old skeleton. Not quite in my dotage, although almost, and not yet resolved to spending the best half of every day thrashing about in a rocking chair with the Times crossword, I felt I wanted something more than the usual hotel room with 24 minute room service and a mouldy croissant chucked through the door on demand each morning.

My friend Fruity Smyth-Wiggins always swears by any five star hotel on his club’s recommended list. He says you know where you are with a referral. Discounts for members are thrown around like jelly babies at certain times of year and you can always pick up a bit of a bargain for the summer jaunt if you are in the right place at the right time. Fruity tends to go in for rather more tranquility than I can stand, though. Still, if you like boring yourself to death for three weeks playing Scrabble and drinking formaldehyde with a brigade of old dears, Fruity is the man to see about it.

I decided this year to try something completely new and booked myself a private holiday home in Antigua. This was the best decision I made since the flu jab I can tell you, the house was terrific, there was plenty to do, plenty to see and loads of lovely restaurants to visit. There was a private swimming pool, and a cool, wide patio where I ate my breakfast most mornings.

Antigua has to be one of the lovliest places on earth to spend a holiday. The bright blue of the sea and the endless blue sky are just two reasons for this, and the jolly little bars round the beach areas proved an excellent pit stop for me to while away the afternoons. I consumed large amounts of pink gin, flirted shamelessly with a surprisingly youthful granny from Budleigh Salterton and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Not a Scrabble board in sight.

I had to hurry to get everything in that I wanted to do before the holiday came to an end. I managed to visit the Sugar Mill and Shirley Heights on my last two days and yet found myself wistfully wondering whether I could extend for a few days.

I took the plunge (figuratively I assure you) and chartered a boat. I came home after a day’s sailing, refreshed and invigorated and looking forward to dinner. Everything is so bracing in these beautiful islands, swept by the trade winds and warmed by the sun for so many summer months. The food just tasted better to me, perhaps because I was having such a great holiday.
There was always someone to have a drink with, that’s what I liked.

I invited Fruity to come with me next time.

Antigua private rentals may be found on

Jan Gamm writes reflections on life with an emphasis on world travel. She has lived in many countries and traveled extensively in the Far East, the Middle East, America, South America and throughout the South Pacific. She writes for fun and for money whenever she can manage it.

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