The past four days and nights I have been in Bermuda. I suppose I could tell you I was soaking up the beautiful sun resting languidly on a beach, but those of you who’ve read about my previous travels will know that that isn’t really how I roll. I need to keep moving, seeing things. And luckily, that appeals to my new girlfriend as well. It was exciting to discover that we traveled well together, and enjoyed doing a lot of the same things. And that we also agreed on the things we didn’t need to do, like stay out late or push ourselves to see every last thing on the island in four days.
Bermuda is a great destination because there are easy, quick flights from ECC and just about every other major city on the Eastern Seaboard. We stayed in a charming little bed and breakfast run by a cute couple who provided nice continental-style breakfasts (granola, fruit, fresh roasted coffee, scones, yogurt, etc.). Harry was loquacious and affable, and sailed for Bermuda in the 1976 Olympics. We rented a scooter and tooled around the island trying not to die. It was more precarious than it might’ve been because the Bermudians were playing this joke where they all drive on the wrong side of the road. The refrain for the trip became, “Left turns are easy. Right turns are hard!” I only killed us once.
The city of Hamilton, which is the capitol, is a surprisingly bustling small city. Considering the island’s entire population is somewhere between 50,000-65,000 full-time inhabitants, Hamilton feels like a city for a much larger constituency. The city was decked-out for Christmas, which is a little disorienting for me considering I’m used to associating it with snow and misery. But they did a nice job of it, and everything was elegantly done, which is inspiring considering the ludicrous vapidity we’ve achieved here in the States.
Bermuda is quite wealthy, and free from the slums that are found in other tropical destinations once you venture out past the heavily-protected ring around the resort communities. Bermuda has beautiful architecture, everything white-roofed and stuccoed in colors that ride the line between pastel and primary. Because there’s no source of fresh water on the island it all comes from rain, and so the roofs are fascinatingly-designed water entrapment devices, and every home has a cistern.
Our first trip on the scooter was to a nature preserve called “Spittal Pond”, so named because you’re supposed to.. no just kidding. I’m not sure why it’s named that because it isn’t really out on a spit, or anything. But there’s a beautiful nature trail and a bunch of rocks to climb on. The rocks, volcanic limestone slowly deteriorating under the ruthless assault of the sea, was covered in little limpet-like things, inspiring BB to point and exclaim: “There are CREATURES!!”
The next day we visited the village of St. George, which has a fabulous abandoned church. The great part is, it was abandoned before it was done. Only politics can achieve such a result. The bones of this would-have-been-stunning cathedral remain exposed to the elements after, more than 100 years ago, everybody just said, “Fuck it, we quit.”
From there we scooted past Tobacco Bay and visited the amazingly preserved and picturesquely located Fort St. Catharine, which defended Bermuda from invaders from the north. It’s a squat, imposing, serious military outcropping looking out onto the world’s bluest water.
Which reminds me: you know how they say that the water is that color because of the sky? Well that’s bullshit because the water is that color even when it’s entirely overcast. It’s uncanny. Strange and beautiful and alarming and amazing. Right next to Fort. St. Catharine there’s a little beach where we went swimming. Because it was only 70 degrees and late November, we had the beach to ourselves. It was fabulous.
Saturday morning we went to the Botanical Gardens, so that I could go to an AA meeting. They’re beautiful, and like everything else in Bermuda, tiny. There’s a little aviary with a few parrots and peacocks, and a bunch of fiery-looking tropical foliage. Because we were there early, it was almost abandoned, and we were able to walk around the perhaps-10-acre grounds undisturbed, and uncrowded.
Then we went along the South Road, seeing a number of beaches and realizing why they call it pink sand. It’s because it is! You can’t see it in the photos, but the sand has little pink flecks of shell in it, about the same size as the sand-grains. We visited Warwick Long Beach and Horseshoe Bay, before having a lovely little lunch at a restaurant opposite The Reefs timeshare community.
And that, basically, was our trip. Add in a few nice dinners (Eating in Bermuda is not cheap. To eat on anything like a budget, you will need to go grocery shopping and even then, plan on it costing as much as eating out at home.). There were a lot of overcast skies, but that’s ok. We actually had the best weather of the trip in our last few hours before leaving.
But this wasn’t ever really intended to be a beach vacation. It was to explore a new place, with the new love in my life. And that was quite thoroughly accomplished.