Friday July 4, 2014
Image taken from here.
Can you believe that we got ourselves to the picturesque capitol of Bermuda today and the memory card on my camera decided it didn’t want to work for me? Â When I didn’t have a backup along to switch it out to? Â I swear…me and cameras this year. Â Â But that’s not either here nor there, because I can just
steal represent other photographs that I’ve found of the area online.
Even though this country is incredibly expensive and we’re trying to keep costs as low as possible, we’d hate ourselves if we only saw the small area of St. George where we’re anchored. Â Luckily there’s a visitor’s center just a few hundred feet from the dingy dock, full of brochures and bus schedules. Â With the day passes ranking at $25, we started to wonder how even the locals can afford to live on this island, but we were still willing to pay the $4/person each way to get ourselves to Hamilton and back.
Stepping onto the empty bus at the very first stop along the line, we wound through the cute little towns and villages of Bermuda, picking up more and more people along the way and we passed gorgeous turquoise waters off to our side. Â The city of Hamilton must have been a major destination for anyone between the two towns since we let no one off the bus, but only kept taking on more people until every seat was full and the aisle was crowed with people grasping to handles hanging from the ceiling. Â Just as it felt like we could take on no one else without busting at the seams, we pulled into a populated metropolis that could be none other than Hamilton. Â As we were let off at the main bus terminal, we randomly wandered down whatever street was in front of us, taking in the upscale buildings and parks that lay on each side.
ImageÂ taken from here.
The part of Hamilton we seemed to have found ourselves in was fairly upper class, mostly geared toward the tourists with offices sprinkled in between restaurants and bars. Â Walking to a dead end we turned toward the water, and followed that street until we heard our stomach start grumbling and realized we forgot to pack a lunch and would need to find a suitable place to eat. Â Or maybe I purposefully forgot to pack even as much as a granola bar, ensuring we’d have to go out to eat. Â This place must have a McDonald’s right? Â It’s now been four weeks since our last fix, and I wanted to make sure we got it while we were here.
Except, there was no McDonald’s! Â What the?? Â That was almost the whole reason I came out to this side of the island. Â Fear not though, we still got our greasy food fix. Â Backtracking a little bit, and getting kind of lost in the process, we found the KFC we’d spotted after just getting off the bus, and rushed inside where Matt was able to pay $10 for a value meal, and I was just happy that the $5 kids meal was enough to fill me. Â Fiddling with my camera a little more and cursing at it for still not reading or formatting to the memory card, I vowed to still take photos to my camera’s hard drive and pull them off later by connecting it to a USB. Â (Spoiler alert, it didn’t work)
Since neither of us had made of plan or list of things to see that day, as we aimlessly wandered by the waterfront again we pulled out our guidebook that we’d picked up at the visitor’s center. Â Matt thought that Fort Hamilton sounded cool, and since I wanted to see how they compared to all the ones we’d come across in St. George, I told him to lead the way. Â Which actually wasn’t very clear on our map, and we may have gotten ourselves lost in a few residential areas before finding our way again. Â Beautiful homes on this island though. Â And all with blooming flowers that one just has to stop and sniff.
After working up quite a sweat in the heat of the day to make it to the top of the hill that leads to Fort Hamilton, we walked in to find that it was being set up for an event. Â Everywhere across the main lawn were round tables being spread with white tablecloths, and red and white decorations lining the perimeter. Â Of course, it’s the 4th of July. Â We’d heard on the radio about dinner events being held here and there, this must have been one of them. Â And by the looks of it, it was going to be fancy. Â Our sweaty red faces did not fit in at all and we made beelines for the public restrooms to rinse them off.
Coming back into the blazing sun, Matt had found a long dark staircase that looked like it let to an underground tunnel, and we figured we could take rescue from the heat down there.
Â Image taken from here.
It did help to cool us a few degrees, but most importantly, took the sun off our faces. Â Without a guide or any signs leading us, we blindly wandered through dim corridors until there was literally a light at the end of the tunnel. Â This fort has a mote as well, we had crossed a bridge over it while entering. Â But now it looks as if we had just found ourselves inside the moat, surrounded by incredibly tall stone walls in an area that had now been turned into a garden.
This is the point that I’m incredibly mad that I haven’t been able to recover any photos from my camera’s hard drive (Are they even there? My camera didn’t stop me from shooting w/o a memory card), because this place was like something you’d see in the movies. Â Tall vines of ivy wound up the stone as they stretched for the sun, and exotic trees with head sized leafs and gnarly roots lined the dirt path as bright orange flowers bloomed on the tree across from you. Â It was like a scene from Tomb Raider. Â The late afternoon sun was transforming it into one of the most picturesque areas I’ve ever seen, and we could have spent the rest of the day in that one spot.
Doesn’t quite show the best parts of it, but you can get the idea.
Image taken from here.
Dragging ourselves topside once more after we walled the full circumference of the fort, we strolled the grounds a little longer as the 4th of July celebration continued to be assembled. Â We climbed the stairs for close up looks at the mega sized cannons, stared down at the view of the bay below, and even contemplated playing a game of horseshoes that had been set up for the party that evening. Â Following a different route out and admiring a few more gardens on the way, we decided to sneak one last look at the festivities being set up and wandered through the wide expanse now covered with fully set tables and awnings of red white and blue cloth. Â Admiring what the $75 ticket price could buy you, according to the radio announcement, while walking back out we saw the catering companies notebook sitting on a table with the front sheet stating ‘David Clark’s 75th Birthday Celebration’. Â Huh…?? Â This isn’t a public event…but a private party? Â What the?! Â Who do you have to know to pull those kinds of strings? Â What kind of money do you have to have to pull off a celebration that’s better than any wedding we’ve seen…for your 75th birthday? Â And most importantly…..can we come David? Â Please!!!
Â Above imagesÂ taken from here
Faced with the option of yet more walking around, we couldn’t bare the thought. Getting back down the hill and into town, we popped into a grocery store, somewhat just to see if prices were any cheaper here (They weren’t, it cost $5 for a 2 liter of Pepsi), but mostly to buy ourselves a cold pop so we could then bring them over to Queen Elizabeth Park and sit with them as we regained the ability to move our limbs. Â This is a very beautiful park, named after Queen Elizabeth after her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, formerly named Par-la-Ville, after Bermuda’s first Postmaster’s home.
Under a very large tree with orange blooms at the center of the park, we sat and sipped our ice cold Cokes and watched the businessmen pass us by in their work attire of Bermuda shorts, tall socks, and blazers. Â From restaurants just down the hill we could hear the World Cup being broadcast, patrons raising their bottles of beer in the air any time their team made a good play.
When I felt up to moving again, as Matt stayed on the bench and busied himself with our guidebook, I walked the grounds of the park and admired flowers, statues, and a very nice coy pond not too far from where we had been sitting. Â I’ll say one thing for Bermuda. Â Other than the extremely high cost of living that we could never afford, even as tourists on holidays, this country has yet to disappoint. Â It is clean, the people are extremely friendly, and there are take your breath away sights everywhere you look. Â Maybe that total lack of wind and the need for a break from
drifting sailing was a blessing in disguise. Â If I found out later how amazing this place was, and that we missed it, I could never forgive myself.
Image taken from here.
Â Image taken from here.
Â Our friend Stephanie, walking up to Elizabeth Park, last year.
Image taken from s/v Rode Trip.