26 April - 1 May 2013
It was easy getting from Manhattan to JFK Airport with the metro and airtrain - an interesting experience during morning rush hour. When I left New York it was blue sky and 25C (75F) so it was of course a bit annoying that it was overcast when the plane approached Bermuda. Though no great surprise as I had looked at the weather forecast beforehand and knew the premises - there are no real seasons in Bermuda though the locals prefer this time of year as it's a bit cooler and less humid than the Summer. Also the weather changes quickly - it can be overcast and rain and 10 minutes later blue sky and sun. And that was exactly what happened - when I exited the airport it was nice weather again.
I found the bus to the capital Hamilton I got the first view of this beautiful island – very nice colourful with the blue sky and ocean, lusch green grass and tress and multi-coloured houses. . where they recently had heavy rain – a lot of water in the streets. James wouldn't be off from work until late afternoon so I took the opportunity to do some shopping before catching another bus to his place in Warwick. James is very accommodating and was quick to involve me in his life – I had hardly put down my bag before we went to a bar to meet some of his friends. After a bit of food we went bar-hopping and I got an impression of Bermuda's vibrant nightlife.
James was working the next day so I had a relaxing morning. Around noon I took his retriever Lucky for a walk on the beach. I intended to do a long walk but very quickly I realised that he's old and not really too keen on walking far in the middle of the day, so we settled for 3-4k in 1½ hour. Later in the afternoon James and I did the longer walk to Long Bay without Lucky – many great views and pleasant conversation; being a native Bermudian he's a true goldmine of information on everything from island history to flora & fauna. And even though there are flowers all year round this time of year seems to have particularly many different blooming flowers. James was having a party in the evening, so we spent the rest of the afternoon preparing – a nice party and a good oppportunity for me to meet a lot of local people and expat's.
Sunday James took me sightseeing in the western part of the island amongst other experiencing forts and beaches, the beautiful views from Gibbs' Hill Lighthouse and the National Museum at the Dockyard - the latter had many interesting exhibits providing insight to Bermudian history, culture and traditions including the island's relations with the world around it.
I intended to spend a day or two bicycling around the island. Several of James' friends had offered to lend me their bicycle but unfortunately it never worked out - and as most tourists rent scooters (in Bermuda called bikes just to increase the confusion) bicycles are less accessible. It's a small island with a widespread public transport so instead I decided to go by bus and hike around. The weather forecast for Monday looked slightly better than Tuesday so I headed off to Hamilton where I explored the city centre – it's fully developed with all the famous international brands represented as well as countless bars and restaurants. Next I took the scenic bus route to the old capital St George in the north eastern part of the island – a very nice ride along the coast and lakes, passing numerous golf courses, big houses, old churches and cosy small villages. In St George I first walked to lovely Tobacco Bay and Fort St. Catherine with the great location right on the beach. St. George itself is also touristic but pretty cosy with many old buildings, small parks and the harbour - unfortunately I visited on a cruiseship day making it quite busy. Mid afternoon I took the bus to nearby Cooper's Island Nature Reserve – a bit disappointing with little to see except for a few nice beaches. Maybe my opinion was influenced by the overcast weather – it's just not as nice as when the sun is out. Still I decided to walk to St David's Island where I visited the lighthouse (though closed as the season started the day after) and two more forts, experienced an international cricket match and some of the bays and sounds. Tuesday was my last full day and despite the nice weather (much better than forecast), I decided to stay indoor all day working on my homepage - I don't want to have a huge backlog when leaving New York in a couple of days and that section is also far from fisnished. It's great to have the homepage, but it's a lot of work to keep it updated. In the evening James and I had another long and inspiring conversation about personal development and how to get the most out of life – a great experience getting to know him and being involved in his life even for only a short time.
Bermuda was a pleasant visit – a beautiful island with genuinely friendly people; everybody took their time talking to me and helping me out even when it wasn't necessary.