Raining on my Bermuda parade, but hoping for better luck on Friday/Saturday
BERMUDA - So, apparently Dark and Stormy isn’t just the name of a popular drink in this island nation.
Okay, so it really was a fairly decent day overall. It’s just that I had desperately wanted a hot, clear sky and plenty of sunshine and ended up with almost no sun and a reasonable amount of drizzle. And it's raining again this morning as I type up my notes.
Still, my half-day on this lovely island was a pretty decent start to a long-weekend. And it looks like we might get a break this afternoon or maybe Saturday afternoon.
I landed Thursday and was immediately struck by the colourful houses on the way from the airport to my apartment in the town of St. George’s. There was watermelon pink, fuschia, Delft blue, granny smith apple green, French’s Mustard yellow and lots more. Flaming red hibiscus, deep pink oleander and lots more flowers. Palm trees. And, oh, yeah, that famous Bermuda water. It really is stunning water down here; ultra-high-octane aquamarine that’s just so easy on the eyes.
I spent an hour or so knocking around St. George’s (see photo), checking out Diana Amos’ nice water colours and having a fried grouper sandwich at Tavern on the Sea (decent food, great views) and taking photos before catching a shuttle up to Fort Saint Catherine, on the northeast tip of Bermuda. It’s a great old fort with tons of cannons and even some World War II artillery, just in case the Germans had decided for a little summer vacation during the Great War part deux.
I decided to walk back to the town of St. George’s along the coast, but not before stopping for a Ginger Ale (honest, that’s all I had) at the St. George’s Beach Club, next to the fort. There’s a restaurant on a cliff overlooking a small but lovely beach, with craggy, jagged rocks and that beautiful water. Better is a small tiki bar down below. Yesterday it was manned by Ross (see photo below right), who used to work at Marriott Hotels and then at the Tucker’s Point Golf Course but now sells pop for $3.50 and cold beers for $7 in front of a lovely, golden stretch of sand.
Yeah, it could be worse. Like, my Canon G12 died. Again. It's the second one I've lost in seven months and I'm beginning to think I'm cursed. It's a fabulous camera when it works, with a wonderful lens that's way better than my Canon SLR Rebel. Still, when they keep having lens errors like this I think it's time to quit Canon for something else.
Anyway, the walk back to the town along the coast from Fort Saint Catherine is a great one. Instead of fancy hotels and gardens, I passed average homes and a dairy farm with goats that came to greet me and a stable and fields with contented Jersey cows and yards with hens clucking about, all of that just yards from pounding surf surging onto jagged, black rocks.
Very, very cool and a slice of old-time Bermuda for sure.
There are two more forts on the way back to town; Alexandra Battery and the tiny Gates Fort, which is set on a point where the St. George's harbour meets the ocean. Both are small but fun to check out.
Back in town I had dinner at Wahoo’s Bistro and Patio. It was fine, but nothing to write home about. Stupidly, I gazed at the menu and asked my server what “BDA Traingle” stood for. Uh, dummy, that would be BERMUDA TRIANGLE.
Anyway, it was three kinds of local fish: wahoo, mahi-mahi and rockfish. One was broiled (good), one was fried (not bad) and the other was breaded and deepfried. Tender but not so healthy, I’d think. It came with decent but bland rice and peas and also with good cole slaw and yummy plantains. I had conch fritters for an appetizer with pineapple salsa. The salsa was good but the conch fritters needed more spice and more conch.
Anyway, with one glass of wine (such restraint!) it came to $63, including a mandatory 15 per cent tip. Yikes. Just down the road is thelegendary White Horse Tavern. It’s probably rocking when the cruise ships are in town. But on a Thursday night in September it was deader than a Liberal Party convention in Calgary. I tried a Rum Swizzle, with local Goslings rum and tropical fruit juices. Pretty good, but not quite stellar.
I stayed Thursday night at a fun little apartment/house called The Crooked Elbow. Mark Rowe and his mother, Anne, run the place and it’s got a massive sitting area with a fireplace, a living room, a small kitchen, a bathroom and a bedroom for about $150 a night in high season, with a five night minimum. It's $140 a night in September and drops to $110 in winter.
They have a small patio that fronts onto a nice yard; a perfect spot for your morning coffee or evening Dark and Stormy. The drink that is, not the weather.
It’s located at 5 Shinbone Alley, and what a great name is that? The town of St. George’s is filled with fun names, actually; Printers Alley and Barber's Alley and Aunt Peggy's Lane and more
It’s a fun part of Bermuda and one you shouldn’t miss next time you make the trip. And make the trip you should. Even if you can't predict the weather.