Friday, October 13, 2006

Back from Bermuda

After a wonderful five-day cruise from Baltimore to Bermuda and back with my wife, it was back to the real world today (and into the arms of our little girl, who squealed and ran up to us as we came through the door screaming, "Mommy! Daddy!") -- although, as I told Dave over at Pomoxian in his posting today about snow up in his neck of the woods, I can't say I was too disappointed to walk back into cold weather.

If you've never been to Bermuda, I would certainly recommend you make the trip -- it is a truly wonderful island. One of the nice things about the five-day cruise we took with Royal Caribbean is that you actually overnight at your port-of-call, so you have more time to explore than you would on a typical cruise where it's in and out of the port in six or seven hours before moving on to the next stop. The ship we were on, the Grandeur of the Seas, tied up in King's Wharf (pictured above) on the far western end of the island and stayed there for two days, enabling us to really get out on the ground and explore Bermuda. A bulk of our time was spent in the towns of St. George (at the opposite end of island from King's Wharf) and Hamilton (the capital of Bermuda, closer to King's Wharf). Both towns have a great deal to offer to folks, but my wife and I pretty much agreed that we preferred St. George over Hamilton. No matter where we traveled, however, one thing remained constant: Bermudians are among the friendliest and most outgoing folks you will ever meet.

St. George is a very old and charming town with many narrow streets (such as the three pictured above), a majority of which are the same brick and cobblestone lanes that have been there for years. It is a much more laid-back community of quiet shops, restaurants, and homes, and it boasts the oldest continous Anglican congregation in the western hemisphere, St. Peter's Church. There is some wonderful architecture in the community, including a beautiful old (and unfinished) Gothic-style church (below) that was never completed because of a split in the congregation in the late 1870s. (After seeing this building, my wife said two things came to mind: one, that it would make a beautiful setting for a candlelight wedding, and two, that she could see those same candles being used in some sort of Goth ceremony at midnight!) For me, this is one of those areas where I could go and hide for weeks and never get tired of the simple, small-town surroundings and the wonderful shops and restaurants.

Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda, is a much more commercial city with modern buildings, lots of traffic, and lots of noise (although by comparison to large American cities, Hamilton isn't that big -- the entire population of Bermuda is only about 57,000). We discovered that there are regulations in place that limit every family on the island to ownership of only one car, and as a result you see nearly everyone -- from kids to corporate executives in their suit jackets and Bermuda shorts -- riding around on scooters (which, as we also discovered, is also much more economical, since gas is currently selling for about $7 per gallon).

There is a sizeable shopping district on Front Street in Hamilton, down on the waterfront (first below), but not being a huge fan of shopping, I really didn't get into the whole thing. I was more interested in seeing the Bermuda parliament (which was not in session at the time, but which meets in the Sessions House, second below) and the old Anglican Cathedral (yes, there is a theme with me and touring beautiful old churches; last below).

There is absolutely no way that anyone could, in just two days -- or even five days -- could do Bermuda justice; you would need to be there for quite some time to truly take it all in. I know that I certainly haven't done the island nearly enough justice with these photos and the briefest of descriptions of only two of the towns. Post any questions that you may have, and I will certainly try and do my best to answer them.


rdl said...

Sounds great!!

trace said...

what a gift you and your wife gave yourselves!

julieunplugged said...

I have never wanted to go... and then I looked at your photos! Gorgeous. I had no idea. I think I resist what feels like tourist beach extravaganzas after living in Morocco.

What you posted here makes Bermuda look like an interesting place to get to know.

Glad you're back safe and sound.


Matt said...

Julie, after reading your blog about all of the work you're putting in with your home-schooling, your writing, the visits from family, and everything you're doing to help out your college freshman, a trip to Bermuda might be just what you and Jon need for yourselves!!