31st May 2018
“There are no cruise ships in the Dockyard on Thursday,” said Peter (S/Y Tigger), “so, we are thinking about going.” That sounded good to the motley crew. We were going anyway, but this was an unexpected bonus. Fewer queues anywhere is a good thing, and dodging a wobble of cruise ship passengers can be hard work. Without them, it’s faster to explore places and quicker to get served at the bar. So, we dug out our 14 zone tickets and headed up the ramp of the St George’s – Dockyard ferry.
The ferry journey is an enjoyable one, but as soon as we entered the Dockyard, two cruise ships loomed into view parked up with passengers already disgorged. Bugger. However, the good news from this slightly deflationary revelation is that they seemed to have been here for a while. And this probably accounts for the misleading information Peter received. Yes, no cruise ships were due, but the ones already there weren’t for leaving.
After a quick stop at the tourist office, we said our see you laters to Peter and Toni and headed off to look around the site. Then we spotted a little road train. Unable to resist its allure, Maria approached the driver to ask him where it goes. He told her that it goes around the periphery of the site and it’s free. The deal was done – we grabbed ourselves a seat, enjoyed the ride, and used it a way of working out what’s around.
National Museum of Bermuda
This is unlike any museum we have previously been to. For one thing, it’s larger and more expansive than most villages we have visited in the UK. So it requires a fair amount of footwork to get around the place. It was worth the effort of lugging our carcasses around though. There is something for every interest in history here, whether that be maritime, economic, or the slave trade.
We tried to cover all of it but started to suffer from overload towards the end. So, we decided to switch our brains off and look at the dolphins in Dolphin Quest (part of the museum) instead. It feels to me a bit odd to see these animals in this environment, but as these places go – this place doesn’t seem so bad. According to the blurb on the Dolphin Quest website, the dolphins can swim out to the ocean via a connecting tunnel in the inner lagoon. So it beats their previous location at the Fairmont Southampton Princess Hotel.
It’s possible to swim with the dolphins here and many did. We didn’t, but we never tire of watching these magnificent animals. And this facility does provide an opportunity for people who might not otherwise get the chance to see them close up.
We timed our late arrival at the Frog and Onion to perfection. The lunchtime crowds had fizzled away and only a boozy few who could afford the beer prices (think $10 per pint) remained. So we sat down to enjoy the homemade steak pie with craft beer from their microbrewery (me) and burger and Heineken (Maria).
After the serious business of eating was over, it was time for the more frivolous business of shopping for T-shirts. We walked into a couple of shops, gasped at the prices, and came out empty-handed. Then we stumbled into a shop with strangely reasonably priced stuff and stumbled out with three new souvenir T-shirts.
Back at the bus stop, we bumped into Toni and Peter again. They were heading back to St George’s on the ferry, but we had a mission to accomplish: Maria’s Aunty Jane used to live in Bermuda and she wanted to see the place where she used to live near Hamilton.
A Walk Down Memory Lane
After a few minutes, the bus at to Hamilton arrived. We stepped on and asked the driver to drop us off at the Swizzle Inn.
To be clear, the Swizzle Inn is not where her Aunty Jane lived, but it does serve as a handy landmark near to Faraway Cottages where she did live. Arriving at the Swizzle Inn, Maria nipped inside to use the bathroom and came out with a man. And by some fantastic coincidence, the man happened to be one of the doormen at the Southampton Princess Hotel, where Aunty Jane used to work.
With his help, we found the cottages and spent the best part of an hour searching for her old flat. Then we spent another hour at the Swizzle Inn with a pitcher of their famous Rum Swizzle, before getting back on the bus to Hamilton where we joined the rush hour squeeze on the bus to St George’s.