Five glorious days were spent in Bermuda in October. The purpose of the trip was the wedding of my awesome friend Lisa to her awesome man Rego. I had been the bad friend who had never visited her in Bermuda before so it was about damn well time that I went. The first three days of the trip were wedding focus and the last two days let us explore the island a little more. I traveled with one of my favourite traveling buddies, my bestie Wendy and we had an absolute blast.
We flew Westjet to Bermuda. They started flying there not too long ago and I am so glad that they do. The flight is under three hours which was just wild to me. Less than three hours from leaving chilly October Toronto, we were in the heat and sun of Bermuda. Loved this. The last time that I flew Westjet was a number of years ago when I went to Vancouver. I had forgotten just how
obnoxiously friendly Westjet owners staff are. They are just so nice and happy that I wonder 1) what are they being fed and 2) why can Air Canada staff not be trained in the same manner?
The view flying into Bermuda is stunning. The colour of the water is unreal.
From the airport we grabbed a taxi to where we would be staying for the trip, the home of the Maid of Honour, Katie. She was at work when we arrived so we had no idea what to expect when we got there. What we saw? An awesome house surrounded by tropical gardens and an amazing view of the ocean.
Bermuda is a tiny island of winding roads divided into parishes. When you hire a taxi, you need to know the address and the parish and even the name of the house. Yes, the houses all have cute names. Our home for the extended weekend was in the parish called Smith’s (how convenient!). Smith’s is located close to the centre of the island which worked out really well. The taxi ride from the airport to here cost about $25. We drank coffee every morning on the outside patio looking at this dreamy view. Yes, I could live here.
About a two minute walk from Katie’s house was this awesome little beach. To get to it, you have to cross private property but as long as you are nice and respectful, the owners do not seem to mind if you go there. We were later told that this is the “police beach”. Apparently in an effort to persuade policemen from the UK to move to Bermuda to work, they were told that they would even have their own private beach. I can imagine that if you are coming from somewhere that has the
frigid North Sea as your closest body of water, that this would sound like an absolute dream!
On the Friday that we were there, Lisa and Rego rented a catamaran for all of us to hang out on for an afternoon. I absolutely love being out on the water and catamarans are super fun when you can hang out on the nets. We anchored at one point where we could all swim. It was then that the Bermudians told us Canadians that the water was freezing (it wasn’t) and that they do not normally swim after Labour Day (say what?!).
I loved all of the pastel colours of the houses in Bermuda. They reminded me of the jelly bean houses of St. John’s, Newfoundland. The white roofs looking all pristine and perfect also amazed me until I found out their true purpose: collection of water. Since there is no fresh water available on the island, homes are required to collect 80% of their water via collection of rain. The roofs are designed to maximize collecting the rain into a cistern. The roofs are painted with a special paint that helps purify the water, hence the reason they are always white – they need to be painted every two to three years.
The day after the (awesome!) wedding, Wendy and I decided to be tourists and headed to the town St. George’s which is located near the northern tip of the island. We had heard great things about this historic place. Since it was Sunday, most shops were closed but we didn’t mind as we preferred to wander the streets and really see the place (apparently a lot of cruise ships visit here so I can only imagine how busy it gets with tourists. I much prefer the quiet.). St. George’s is supposed to be the oldest town in the New World which is pretty cool and because of this, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We found buildings from the 1600’s and a cemetery with old tombstones. I loved it.
We took a taxi here which was a little pricey due to it’s distance from Smith’s but it was worth it. Taxi drivers are a wealth of information and they normally love talking to you about their home so ask questions. I have learned some of the most valuable information from taxi drivers while traveling. One of the best questions to ask is where to eat because they will always tell you the best places. Our driver recommended the WhiteHorse Pub and he even dropped us off right at it’s front door. We sat outside on the deck overlooking the water where kids fed the fish in the water. The food was great and so was the Dark ‘n’ Stormy.
You see these moongates everywhere in Bermuda. At the wedding ceremony there was one for the bride & groom to walk through at the end of the ceremony. You are suppose to pause underneath one for good luck and happiness.
I was really fascinated by the cemetery in St. George’s. There is so much history there. There was a section of it that was labeled “Burial Ground for Slaves & Free Blacks”. The tombstone on the left read, “In memory of Doctor C. Ryan Principal Medical Officer to His Majesty Forces who fell one of the first victims to the epidemic fever of 1819 in the bloom of life. This stone is erected in 1829 by a few of his countrymen.”
We wandered from St. George’s and found Tobacco Bay. We didn’t swim here but we took photos and marveled at the textures of the rocks there.
There are feral chickens everywhere in Bermuda. I found it pretty hilarious. On the Sunday night we headed “to town” (the capital Hamilton) for dinner and drinks. We had dinner at La Trattoria which boasts the only wood-burning pizza oven on the island. They also serve wine in chicken jugs. We consumed a few filled with red. 🙂
Bermuda is known for it’s pink sand. The truth is, it’s not actually that pink but is a mix of tiny pieces of coral and shells. It is only truly pink when it is wet.
On our last full day in Bermuda, we all headed to Horseshoe Bay for sun and sand. I live for swimming in salt water and the waves here were great. We lounged, ate snow cones and drank a beer or two. The colours of the water never stopped amazing me.
At one point a group of school kids walked along the water. They looked so cute in their uniforms.
After spending most of the afternoon at the beach, we scooted to the other side of the island to the Swizzle Inn. One of the guys from the wedding party was flying home to London and their tradition for this is to check into your flight and then head to the Swizzle for a pitcher of two of, you guessed it, Rum Swizzle. Swizzle is a mix of fruit juices and rums and it goes down way too easy. The Swizzle is also a pretty cool place – the windows are covered in stickers from everywhere and inside the ceiling is filled with business cards, the walls filled with signatures. I loved it.
At night, this is what Bermuda sounds like. They are tree frogs. Love it.
Tips for Bermuda
• Make sure you have the full address of where you will be staying when you land in Bermuda. If you do not have this information, they likely will not let you in.
• Accommodations in Bermuda can be pricey so if you can find someone to stay with, do it! If you tell them that you are staying with friends, you are likely to have your luggage checked. This is not uncommon, they are simply looking for any products, etc. that you may be importing for your friends that they would normally have to pay duty on. Do not bring anything major for them and do not bring anything with obvious tags, etc. They will be subject to duty.
• Bermuda has it’s own currency but you can also use US dollars there. They are at par so it is super easy. If you take money out of an ATM here, you will be given Bermudian dollars.
• The easiest way to get around Bermuda is on a scooter. They are cheap to rent (about $50 a day). We did not actually rent them but were passengers on them and it was a lot of fun. It is a great way to see the island.
• There are basically no sidewalks or shoulders on the roads in Bermuda. Walking along the road is scary but as long as you are aware of the traffic, you will be fine. Keep in mind that they do things the British way so you drive on the left.
• Bermuda is humid. Don’t bother bringing your hair straightener! Most food must be kept in the fridge. There are also lots of little ants wandering around. And little cute lizards.