Wedding Crashers: Bermuda Style

Today I decided to relax at the hotel all day since the trip is winding down and I feel like I’ve been busy all week going to see different areas of Bermuda. I mostly explored the caves under the hotel again, and I also fed the fish by the pagoda and I was finally able to see my first parrotfish!

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Breakfast at the hotel

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If you can tell, his lips are green colored, as all parrotfish do, so it looks like he’s wearing lipstick ūüôā

 

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After feeding the fish t I relaxed at the beach for a couple of hours and then I decided to join my parents on a scavenger hunt that was provided by the Breast Cancer Society of Bermuda, and we were able to see different parts of town near the hotel we didn’t get to see before. And the most exciting part was that I was finally able to find the secret Blue Lagoon where you can go cliff jumping!

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You can see almost all the way out to the Royal Naval Dockyard on the other side of the island from this location

As I was running down the stairs from my hotel room to catch up with my parents to go to lunch, I almost crashed right into a bride standing at the bottom of the winding staircase! I was mortified to say the least as the bride, and all her bridesmaids turn around and see me lose my balance a bit to catch myself from falling onto her dress. As her train took up the entire stair with, all I could do is sit on the stairs and wait for her procession to start. The ceremony took place in the back of the hotel, looking out onto the water, and seriously made me consider having a future wedding there. All the groomsmen and some wedding guests, wore the classic Bermuda shorts in different colors, and the bridesmaids wore a beautiful beige colored dress. After the ceremony moved on to the outdoor reception, I managed to take a picture of my parents under the ceremony arch, and they decided to act out like they were getting married again which was hysterical. At the end of the day I relaxed at the beach again, reflecting on my trip, and sad that tomorrow will be my last day in Bermuda.

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“You can’t buy happiness. But you can buy a plane ticket, and that’s kind of the same thing” – Anonymous

 

 

Gombey Dancers Tearing Up the Dance Floor

Today I woke up and went down to the breakfast bar again and grabbed a yogurt with granola and ate outside under the pergola with great views of the ocean. And today I decided to go back to St. George’s to go jet skiing for the first time!

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On the way to St. George’s on the local bus we pass by some more colorful homes, and the Atlantic Explorer, which is a twin screw general purpose oceanographic vessel, with the main capabilities of deploying and recovering deep ocean instrumentation and moorings, conducting CTD casts, chemical sampling, and gear tests.

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Atlantic Explorer

We finally arrive in St. George’s and the first thing I do is stop at The Bermuda Perfumery (also known as Lili Bermuda which was established in 1928 and it has a great old school French charm to it. And they even have their own perfumery lessons so you can make your own perfume! The classes are held every Tuesday and Thursday from 1-5pm, with no more than 5 people per class (book early!) and it costs $275. You get to experiment with 5 trial versions before making your own 50ml finished fragrance. I ended up going on a Wednesday so I missed out on this event. I did end up purchasing Fresh Water which is a great citrus scent and my mom purchased oleander which is a powdery, warm, floral scent.

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Next we ate lunch at a cute deli/bakery around the corner from the perfumery and I had a New England Clam Chowder which was delicious and very similar to the ones I eat at home (I live in New England). Then as we were strolling back to the King’s Square, we noticed that there was some sort of parade going on. It turns out it was a children’s parade, that had groups of little girls and boys dancing, with the girls dancing to more modern songs, and the boys doing a traditional Gombey dance. Gombey is a native folklore dance reflecting the blend of African, indigenous people, Caribbean and British cultures, incorporating colorful costumes, dance and drumming. The long feathered headdress they are wearing is representative of past Gombey dancers, and how they actually used to dance using stilts, and the colorful costumes are all hand made.

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What a typical Gombey dance looks like

If you would like to see a short youtube video of them dancing click here, and also if you want a more detailed version that explains the drums and the costumes click here. And I also found 2 other great videos explaining the footwork (and a chance to hear a Bermudian accent) and a great lively performance¬†(if you can’t watch it for some reason in your country you can possibly look up videos about Gombey dancers-it’s a must see!) After the great performance I finally get in the shuttle that takes about 5 minutes to the dock for the jet-skiing. I got debriefed about the different buttons to press on the jet-ski and how to increase and decrease my speed, and to stop. I didn’t bring my camera with me, but the tour lasted about 90 minutes, and I was able to see parts of the island I haven’t seen before, and I even went by Fort St. Catherine and the sea glass beach, and other stopped at several coves and beaches. Since it was a bit windy that day, there were some great small waves to go over, and I was able to reach a speed of 49mph and when I went over a wave it felt like I was flying! It was the coolest feeling ever!

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Once we arrive back at the hotel we spend the rest of the day relaxing at the beach and ate dinner at the hotel again. Unfortunately I don’t have any more photos from today but tomorrow will be another great day exploring caves and a mission to to find the Bermuda Parrotfish!

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“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living” – Mary Ritter Beard

 

 

 

Exploring Caves Under the Hotel!

Today, I decided to relax at the hotel and beach the entire day. After spending 3 days exploring the island I think a relaxing day was much needed. So in the morning I grabbed a croissant and an orange juice from the breakfast bar and ate outside on the bench overlooking the water. I managed to see a plane taking off from the airport which is nearby, but you can barely hear any noise as it took off which was great. I went back to my room and got dressed and went near the pool to the entrance to the underground caves located at our hotel.

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There are about 3 cute cats that roam around the hotel grounds

 

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I then approached the cave, with steps leading down toward a bright light at the end of the tunnel. As I walked closer to the light, I then saw the opening to the cave, with a large portion of it filled with water. There are steps leading down into the water, and so I took off my sandals and put my feet in the water, which felt about 15 degrees cooler than the water at the beach.

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I then climbed up some more natural stone stairs which led me to a 5 foot entrance to a smaller cave which you can explore more, but you would need a flashlight as there were no more lanterns going deeper in the cave. I went to walk on the small wooden plank that was laid on top of a small stream, and being 5’4″ and clumsy as usual, I managed to hit my head on part of the rock above my head.

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After the run-in with the rock I decided what would a relaxing day be without a massage at the spa? And I am so glad I did it because the spa is located in an adjacent, larger cave, and the massage tables are practically floating on the water!

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After the massage I explored more outside of the caves and I managed to find a little, colorful friend! I also swam in the pool and sat at the swim-up bar and ordered a strawberry daiquiri (my favorite!) for about an hour and just enjoyed the breeze and listened to the calm, relaxing sounds of the water lapping up against the sand at the beach across from the pool.

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A blue sea-glass countertop…can I get one for my future kitchen?

After the pool I joined up with my parents and we hung out by the beach for a couple of hours, and I even got to go kayaking with my dad. Kayaking is our favorite thing to do together, we even have our own kayaks at home that we like to break out every summer.

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And just like that it was lunch time! I went with my parents to a restaurant called The Swizzle Inn, which is about a 1 minute walk from our hotel, and it even had a live steel drum player, which really made it a¬†great Caribbean vibe. I ended up getting Chicken Tenders with Cajun Spiced Fries, my mom got a¬†Chicken Caesar Salad and my dad got a Sheppard’s Pie with a salad.

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The front entrance of our hotel – Grotto Bay Beach Resort

 

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The Swizzle Inn

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And of course you can never not eat some ice cream after lunch! So we crossed the street to Bailey’s Ice Cream Parlour and I got 2 scoops of Oreo Sweet Cream¬†which is my go to ice cream flavor.¬†Also 10 steps away from the ice cream parlour is the entrance to the Crystal Caves, which we did not go in since you had to pay admission, and we already have caves under our hotel that we explored.¬†I highly recommend visiting the caves¬†for everyone else, its definitely an experience you do not want to miss.

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Near the end of the day we went back to the hotel and enjoyed the view from our balcony, and had dinner at the hotel and watched the sunset on another amazing day in Bermuda.

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“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow” – Lin Yutang

Hello? It’s me… Calling You From a British Phone Booth in Bermuda

I woke up around 6am this morning to catch the sunrise from my hotel room balcony, and it was definitely worth getting up that early, it was simply stunning. IMG_2687

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I then slept in for another hour before getting ready and heading down to the breakfast bar and grabbed a muffin that I ate as I explored around the hotel.

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The circle archway in front of the jacuzzi, also known as a moon gate, is a popular tradition in Bermuda, as well as in China, and it is regarded as good luck for newlyweds to step through the gate.

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I love the gazebo at this hotel! I walked along the path to the gazebo numerous times and I have found colorful lizards and from the gazebo you can also feed the fish and can get the fish food from the main lobby.

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After exploring around the hotel, I then went back to St. George’s to catch a ferry ride to the Royal Naval Dockyards, which is located on the other side of the island. I still had time before catching my ride so I explored around St. George’s more and tried to visit some places that I had missed last time.

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Admiral Sir George Summers- Founded Bermuda in 1610

 

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I then spotted this on a wall near the town hall, I’m not sure what it is, perhaps its like a coat of arms for Bermuda, similar to how Irish families have their own coat of arms/family crest.

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St. Peter’s Church- built in 1620

As I was sitting in the waiting room to catch the ferry, I noticed the town crier was back in St. George’s and he was playing a bagpipe for all of us that were waiting. He was actually quite hilarious and when the ferry did arrive and the passengers were getting off he ended up playing “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion (famous song from Titanic).

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Once we got on the ferry, we then sailed away from St. George’s and headed towards the Royal Naval Dockyards, and along the way I got to see Fort St. Catherine from afar.

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Leaving St. George’s
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Fort St. Catherine

After about¬†40 minutes, we arrive¬†at the Royal Naval Dockyards and see a couple of giant cruise ships, one of which my family and I were thinking about taking instead of staying for a week at a hotel. It turns out the exact ship was stranded on some reef near the dockyards and the passengers could either stay on the ship (but the electricity got cut off) or the ship could take you back to the airport and have you fly back home. I feel bad for the passengers since the ship only stopped in Bermuda for about 2.5 days and even then their vacation got cut short. But the water near the dockyards was unbelievably light blue, I don’t even know how to describe it properly.

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The captain of the ferry then points out on the left that Bermuda is home to many sailing yachts and the Oracle is a famous American sailing yacht that competes in the World Cup. Once we depart the ship we are immediately on the hunt for a restaurant since we were starving. We entered through the gorgeous brick fort that even has canons on the lawn, and at the end of the fort is a great restaurant called The Frog and Onion Pub & Restaurant, which has a great old time English pub feel.

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You can purchase tickets to get a horse-drawn carriage ride around the dockyards

 

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The Frog and Onion Pub & Restaurant has many artifacts that look like they could have been from the time Bermuda was founded, as well as many flags from around the world. Our table also had a great view looking out to the lawn of the fort. For lunch I ordered the Frog’s classic buffalo wings for an appetizer, and a roasted turkey BLT. I recommend getting the authentic cottage pie (also called Shepard’s pie), my dad loves Shepard’s pie, and he said this was the best one he has ever tasted.

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Frog and Onion Pub and Restaurant

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After lunch, we explored around the Royal Naval Dockyards  and noticed that it mostly contained stores, specialty shops, or pottery/art galleries. Nearby where the ships are docked, there is a small circular stand where you can find different types of water sports to experience. Some of the different activities are Dolphin Quest, where you can actually swim with dolphins, SNUBA, which is great for beginners to scuba diving, jet skiing, and also snorkeling. I also noticed near another restaurant that they have red phone booths typically found in London, so I had to take a picture with it otherwise I felt like I would have regretted not doing it.

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Afterwards we went shopping around town, to the Clock Tower Shopping Mall, where I picked up a pretty yellow scarf, and after we browsed some clothing and art stores we went outside and checked out the pottery store, which had really great prices. We went to the next store and it was a glass blowing store where they had a lot of great pieces to purchase, and you could also watch them do some glassblowing, and you can even sign up to take a glassblowing class.

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Clock Tower Shopping Mall

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The Bone Fish Bar & Grill is another great restaurant at the dockyards, its the first restaurant once you step off from the docks. We happened to see some camera crew eating lunch here, maybe they were filming for a tv show or a movie!

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After getting some gelato near the fort, we then got on to our ferry heading back to St. George’s and we were able to see people working on the Oracle one last time

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Once we get on the bus heading toward our hotel, we spotted numerous colorful houses and I spent the rest of the time daydreaming what color I would paint my house if I bought a house in Bermuda, and I think I would paint it a light turquoise blue to match the color of the water.

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Grotto Bay Beach Resort

At the end of the day I went back to the hotel restaurant for dinner and got a table by the window to look out at the sunset and eventually made my way outside afterwards and enjoyed the remaining sunset.

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“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us” – Anonymous

Cliff Jumping and Pink Sandy Beaches

Today we went to the famous pink sand beach, Horshoe Bay beach in Bermuda. We hopped onto the local bus which only took about an hour drive from our hotel. I highly recommend taking a bus to get around the island instead of a taxi because that could cost you anywhere from $70-$150 since the prices are so high in Bermuda. Once we arrived at the beach it was absolutely breathtaking! The entire beach consisted of pink sand and there was a huge cliff that you could climb and also jump off of. Also one great thing about¬†this beach is that there are no seaweed or little pebbles anywhere on the beach or in the water so it’s honestly the softest sand in the world. In the water there are also a number of brightly colored fish and is beach is also connected to Elbow beach so you can walk to and from each beach.

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A closer look at the pink sand
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Make sure to arrive after 3pm to avoid the cruise ship tourists

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Little cave that you can explore
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At the end of the cave

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Look how pink the sand is!

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Long tailed sea gull

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There is a big rock formation located on the east side of the beach, and you¬†are allowed to climb it and jump off, but make sure to jump straight out in the front of the rock and not on the sides because it would be a little too shallow of water to jump in. There are also a number of other rock formations on the beach further out from the rock I climbed, which wasn’t hard to climb at all. Also there are more rocks on the west side of the beach which is not as high and the water is not as shallow, so if you are not up to jumping off a big cliff then I recommend trying the rocks on the left side of the beach. This is definitely one of the things that I recommend anyone traveling to Horseshoe Bay Beach must try.

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On the way back to the hotel- all the homes on the island are different colors!
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Every roof in Bermuda is white and is the same design to collect rain water

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In Bermuda they drive on the left side of the road
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Relaxing at the hotel room

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“You can go to heaven if you want, I’d rather stay here in Bermuda” – Mark Twain

Edible Garden Walking Tour in St. George’s

Today we headed over to the town of St. George’s in Bermuda which was founded in 1612 and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. We explored around the main square,¬†and all the¬†shops nearby are different colors and all the streets are cobblestone.¬†We decided to¬†eat at the White Horse restaurant, but another great food place for a decent price is called Wahoo’s, famous for serving seafood and sandwiches.¬†It is a couple stores¬†down off of the main square, and you can also manage to get a¬†table overlooking the water as well,¬†and we actually saw Michael Douglas eating there (he has a house on the island). At the White Horse, we were seated at a table overlooking the water, and we even got to feed the fish from our table!¬†After we ate,¬†we were able to join a free walking/edible garden tour of St. George’s by the mayor himself (try to get there by 10am). We were able to try the different fruits and vegetables in the edible garden, as well as an edible flower that is famous in Bermuda. The leafs of the flower itself taste like pepper, and if you squeeze the stem of the flower it tastes just like honey.

In the picture below, you will see Butterfield Bank, which is the oldest bank in Bermuda. It¬†was built in 1776 and used by troops in the American Revolution, then it was converted into a hotel and later bought out by the bank in 1950. The bank then restored the building to what it looked like in 1776. Also in front of the bank, there is a¬†replica of the stocks,¬†pillory and whipping posts used during the British colonial days of the 18th century for punishing those who committed petty crimes such as drunkenness. The holes on the boards are where the head and the limbs were inserted and kept locked for days. Passers by pelted the people locked up with anything they could find from¬†rotten vegetables & fruits to dead rats. Today it’s a favorite place for tourists for taking photographs with their heads and hands inserted through the holes.

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St. George’s Town Hall

 

 

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In the background you can see the town hall, and to the right of the turquoise building is Wahoo’s restaurant, and to the right of that is Just Add Water where you can book a jet ski tour

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The White Horse Restaurant

 

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Where town officials used to meet, and in the past this building is where soldiers would have muskets pointing out of the cross shaped windows to any enemies trying to enter St. George’s
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The Edible Garden

 

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A native hibiscus flower

 

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A native Bermuda tomato

 After the tour, we then saw a reenactment called Dunking of the Wench and they would use a device called a ducking stool that women would sit in and they would be dunked in the water. The punishment was only used for nagging and gossiping women. The reenactment happens at 12:30pm every Monday to Thursday and Saturday from May to October and Wednesday and Saturday at noon in the other months. Fun fact, the woman portraying the wench is actually married to the man portraying the town crier (the one in the blue vest/black pants). The town crier is also an excellent bagpipe player, make sure to stick around before or after the show to hear him play!

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On the left, the town crier, in the Hawaiian shirt is the town drunk, and in the bonnet and dress is the  wench

 

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Dunking of the Wench

 

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After we watched the Dunking of the Wench, we went on another tour to explore the different forts located in Bermuda. You can book this tour right in the main square in the tourist office, and they provide transportation (also check out the haunted history walking tour, every Wednesday and Thursday from 7:30-8:30pm). First, we stopped off at a small fort with 2 old fashion canons aiming out to sea. There are very nice sea views from here, but you may not have even known about this spot unless you are a local or are on the tour that we took.

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One of two canons aiming out at sea
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The view out to sea from the top of the fort
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From the top of the fort looking out to a residential community

¬†Next, we stopped at Alexandra Battery, just a short drive from the small fort. In the front, there is a big hill covering the fort so back in the day, if you are on your ship looking out at this location, you would only be able to see a big green hill. In the hill are small little cutouts where canons would be able to shoot out from. Also, located directly to the left of the small parking lot for Alexandra Battery, is Alexandra Battery Beach, famous for sea glass. You may still be able to find a couple if you dig around a lot since a lot of the sea glass has been combed up by tourists but it’s actually illegal to take the sea glass from there.

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Alexandra Battery Beach known for sea glass

¬†Next, we went off to Fort St. Catherine’s, which is the largest fort on the island and built in 1614. There are continuous daily tours that you can go on, but you are not provided with a guide, unlike the special tour we went on, but it is very easy to navigate around the fort. In the beginning of the tour you enter into a room filled with replicas of the king and queen’s jewels from Bermuda (since Bermuda is part of England’s territory). After that, you descend down to where men would work in the artillery and help make guns, store canon balls, and a lever system that helped them bring the heavy canon balls up to the surface where the canons would be. A tip: make sure at the end of the trip, at the top level of the fort, head to where you see 3 flags, a U.S. flag, British flag, and a Bermuda flag, because from there is where you can get the best picture of an beautiful beach that is not overcrowded with tourists.

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Entrance to the largest fort on the island

 

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¬†Then after the tour we headed back to our hotel and took some more pictures before resting up for the next day. Hint: tomorrow we are going to one of Trip Advisor’s acclaimed award for top 25 beaches in the Caribbean!

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Stairs near the gazebo overlooking the water

 

“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to live” – Anonymous

Bermuda, Bahama, Come on Pretty Mama

My family and I decided somewhat last minute that we wanted to go on vacation to celebrate my graduation from college. So that same day we find ourselves booking a flight to Bermuda, since my dad went to Bermuda with his family around the same age as me now.¬†May finally comes and¬†we¬†arrive at¬†Bermuda’s airport and first thing that I notice as we were departing our plane was how the water was the prettiest shade of turquoise blue I have ever seen. Also I saw a lot of people riding around on mopeds and I was immediately jealous and wished I could run to them and hop on the back of their moped and go explore the island that second. Luckily, our hotel was only about a 10 minute drive from the airport because the taxis there are sooooo expensive!

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On the way to our hotel from the airport

¬†As we approached the hotel, I noticed that the main 3 flags seen in Bermuda together are an American flag, a British flag, and a Bermuda flag (which as the crest of Bermuda and a small scale version of the British flag on it). Our hotel was Grotto Bay Beach Resort, and if you book at the right time, you can get a pretty good deal for the hotel cost. It reached about $400 a night in the peak season (June to September), but we went during the shoulder season (late May) so we got it for about $230, and the weather remained in the mid 70’s so the water was still very warm. All the lodges at the hotel were a pretty shade of coral and had the famous white roofs, that help collect rain water that goes through a processing system that can turn into purified drinking water.

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Grotto Bay Beach Resort

 

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Seating areas in the main lobby

 The hotel is surrounded by the ocean on the east and west side of us, and right in the front of the hotel is a large cove that is separated by the ocean by 2 bridges, one of them we went on from the airport. Now because it was separated, that meant the water was crystal clear and the most beautiful turquoise blue color. Our hotel even had a small sunken ship that you could explore from above the water on a kayak or by snorkeling.

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View from our room: 3rd floor of the Warwick Lodge

After check-in, my mom told the receptionist that we were celebrating my birthday and if we could get an upgrade, and somehow we did! We got upgraded from the first floor to the third floor, and the rooms itself are lodge style, so we were located in the Warwick Lodge.¬†After we had a bite to eat at the hotel restaurant since we were starving, and make sure to get a strawberry daiquiri, it’s my favorite drink ūüôā The rest of the time we just spent at the hotel and relaxed at the beach and had dinner at one of the 2 indoor restaurant options at the hotel with a gorgeous view of the sunset.

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Outdoor restaurant at the hotel

 

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Dinner with a view

 

“Discovery consists not¬†in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes” – Marcel Proust