January 2006by Julie Bartos
I got the call! I couldn't believe it, I got the call! Matt the marketing guy from Wimco called me one cold day in March and told me that I was the winner of the villa vacation to St. Barts! I was numb with excitement, and then immediately called my best friend Cheryl and asked her if she could come along. Cheryl replied, "Can we go today?" Okay, I'll say it. I never win anything. But, I'll also say, you can't win unless you play.
There we were, Cheryl and I were on our way to St. Barts. Earlier we had met a nice family in the boarding lounge in St. Martin who now was pointing out places of interest as we descended towards the island. Only those lucky enough to have visited St. Barts can describe the utter sense of beauty as you pass by the Eden Rock and over the beach to finally land at the St. Barts airport.
We walked over to the Wimco/Sibarth booth to check in. Jim from Sibarth greeted us warmly and gave us the information about our villa. We picked up our rental car and then followed Jim in the Sibarth van to our villa. Narrow, shoulderless roads rife with steep hills and hairpin turns makes for an invigorating experience – certainly for a first-timer. The feeling one has of arriving at your villa after a long day of taxis, airports and planes is one of life's greatest pleasures. We followed Jim up the stairs to SIB FEL, our sanctuary for the next seven glorious days.
SIB FEL was a fabulous villa! The living room was full of comfy sofas and a chaise lounge that had 'Nap Here' written all over it. There was a satellite TV, stereo and plenty of books. The bedroom was at one of end of the villa and closed off with sliding glass doors. Thankfully, the bedroom was air conditioned. I need my air conditioning. After a little time spent settling in we decided to get in our car and explore the island. We stopped at the Oasis shopping center in Lorient to provision and grab a bite to eat. If you haven't tried it yet, do yourself a favor and try the marhgarita pizza at Oasis Pizza. The pizza is so delicious. We headed back to the villa and channel surfed the satellite TV before deciding to call it a night.
Sunday morning and still not feeling completely decompressed we decided to take a slow leisurely drive around the island. Eventually we found ourselves at "Match", the grocery store across the street from the airport. I was surprised by how French everything was in the grocery stores. I had to remind myself that this was indeed a French island. There were so many unique gourmet foods that I wished I could try them all! We picked up a few more grocery items and then headed back to the villa for a swim. After some lounging and a shower we headed back out for even more exploring.
Plan Your St. Barts Vacation