Land at last, Bermuda, a country of over 180 islands of which only 8 are populated. We are going to be berthed at the Port Terminal rather than in the centre of Hamilton but by the time we get on shore it is well past 10am. A bit of a queue on land to get a bus ticket for day travel for us on the local buses and ferries as John & Deirdre are off on a cycling adventure.
A one day travel pass is the cheapest way to get around it seems and covers the ferries as well as the buses. Sadly, the ferry to St George is seasonal and today is out of season.
Travel ticket bought at the quayside, we then queue up for a bus to Hamilton along with many others, but nothing turns up so head back to ferry for a speedy crossing to Hamilton although there was not a lot to see as the wind was kicking up the waves.
A short walk from the Hamilton dock up the hill to the bus station past an impressive City Hall and we catch a No. 11 bus towards St George.
Although it is midday, there are many school children on the bus who were exceptionally well behaved with those standing exiting the bus and returning after fellow school children ( from a different school ) at the back exited the bus.
Everywhere we go, the houses are brightly coloured and well kept and there is a theme to them all as all the roofs are painted white with what looks like a treatment of the roofs that seems to seal the tiles together. Gutters run down the top of the roofs in places, obviously to catch water.
There is also an air of wealth in the air by the way they are dressed. We go past the airport, over bridges that link the numerous limestone islands, we follow the old railway track Eastwards on our bus which by now is mostly devoid of youth as they left to catch another bus (to St David’s?) just past the airport.
St George is reached about 50 minutes from Hamilton and we all depart our separate ways.
A brief walk finds us entering a clothes shop with a sale on. We had been told that it was an expensive island but a waterproof jacket for $29.95 didn’t seem too expensive.
We are told by the shop owner about a good restaurant for lunch and true to her word, it was good, populated by locals and with a huge BLT and two coffees for $12.75 that seemed reasonable especially as we managed to get wi-fi, an expensive commodity on a P&O cruise ship.
St George was the first capital and the first place on the island to be inhabited, so there are some interesting buildings in the town, including some stocks and monuments.
As Bermuda has over 200 churches on the island a good fair smattering of them are here, all, as with all the others, well kept.
Walking back to the bus stop, we are looking for a hat for Sal but find a polo shirt for $15.00.
Who said Bermuda was expensive? (We were told that Bread and Milk are particularly expensive and some of the restaurants and clothes shops in Hamilton did apparently charge high prices.)
As in many rural parts of Great Britain, the advent of the Mobile phone has made the use of telephone boxes redundant. Bermuda is no exception here and being a British Overseas Territory, phone boxes were British Red. One was spotted doubling up as a Book exchange – ingenious.
Hoping for a different numbered bus back but get the first one which again was a No. 11. Quite crowded and bus does the journey back past the airport and caves before it stops at a school for some time.
This is obviously doubling up as a school bus but this time for little uns. A bit more boisterous this time but still well behaved although some did get on and then off again at the same stop.
Back in crowded Hamilton we head for the ferry back to the cruise ship area past the magnificent waterfront houses, dinner and another wonderful performance from the two violinists, Electra.
A tour for a change for us, this time of the South Coast area whilst a sail & swim tour was scheduled for John & Deirdre.
Our transport for our tour today is a taxi for 6 driven by a sprightly 79 year old local who tells us the reason why the the house roofs are all painted white and sealed as well as lots of stories about himself, the economy and Bermuda life.
(The design is to catch the rainwater which pours into an underground or adjacent tank as there are no springs or reservoirs on the islands).
He then shows us one of the oldest houses on the island as well as some of the views from some of the side roads that large buses would not be able to get down.
Drive into Hamilton takes about an hour and we are dropped in town just by M&S but quite honestly there is not a lot to see in 45 minutes in Hamilton so we just walk through M&S and around some of the other shops, heading back to the waterfront by the old cruise terminal, now used only for small ships.
Some of the Colonial style buildings are being refurbished, perhaps in advance of the influx of visitors for the America’s Cup.
Drive back along the South Coast with some marvellous views of beaches including the Horseshoe Beach where many youngsters have learnt to swim and the Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse with its marvellous views of the archipelago of islands that makes up Bermuda with it’s turquoise water.
We leave and make another detour onto some small roads that pass through small farms with some cattle and some vegetables in evidence in the Somerset area.
Back to the Oriana over the Watford Bridge that is the smallest lifting bridge in the world, allegedly and only opened one day a year.
I go back on shore to find some internet access which with John’s help find it at a gift shop (free with a purchase – of Rum cake in my case!) to try and catch up with emails etc.
I had tried to meet up with Lewis Exon who used to work at Trident in the Isle of Man but get a text message to say he is unwell, having had some Wisdom teeth out yesterday which I will forgive him for!
Sadly, my phone will not allow me to send any text messages so have to send a Facebook message when I get some internet access in the dockyard area.
We are off tonight on our way to the USA and will be sorry to leave Bermuda.
Oh and yes, we have another difficulty at Clearwell with another leak in the downstairs toilet and with water turned off until it can be fixed. Might have to phone when we get to Port Canaveral as phone does definitely not want to work at all here in Bermuda.
Having been signed off the ship manually, I was back well in time for the 3pm deadline but there is a computer problem on the passenger details and after being signed back on to the ship manually, all crew are asked to get to a central point for counting and then all passengers asked to return to their cabins so that a manual count can be made. All present and correct, we are eventually released from captivity.
As a result, dinner was somewhat delayed and slow resulting in us not being able to get to a concert with music by Burt Bacharach.
Tonight’s main entertainment however is by a 4 man Frankie Valli tribute band, the Unexpected Boys with some fantastic renditions of some classics and a good storyline.
The guys were all at one time on Broadway in Les Mis, with one of them, the base, having a fantastic range. They were so good, we went to the 2nd showing as well!
We are on our way to the USA.