Monthly Archives: June 2011

Honeymoon 2.0: Part V

We had a big day on Wednesday.  Mr. Chili wanted to head to St. George’s for the day (it occurs to me that I’ve not posted a map… here)

(we’re staying just outside of the city of Hamilton, pretty much smack in the middle of the island)

but we wanted to go back to the city first.  As Mr. Chili’s been craving British candy, so I’ve been craving crumpets.  You see, the last time we were here, we had tea several times at the Gibb’s Light tea room, and they served crumpets that I ate with jam and a little too much butter.  I loved them, and I’ve been searching for them since we landed, so we decided to try to find a bakery for breakfast.

We scooted in to town and parked in the shadow of a giant cruise ship

and looked around for a bakery.  We ended up in a little cafe that is the island’s equivalent of a Starbucks – they’re all over the place – but the didn’t have crumpets, so I got an English muffin and called it even.

image credit

As we sat enjoying our breakfast, a lovely little old lady came up to our table and asked us if we’d like her newspaper (if we didn’t mind that she’d held back the crossword) and we struck up a bit of a conversation.  She asked us where we were from and told us that she was born in St. Georges and had lived in Bermuda all her life.  She gets around by bus (public transport is very easy on this pretty little rock) because she couldn’t work out the difference between a gas pedal and the brakes, so she thought it just as well not to get a car.  Before we left, she offered us a Bermuda dollar coin to commemorate our anniversary and wished us a happy day and a pleasant visit.  It was a lovely gesture, and I still have the coin in my purse.

From there, we found the department store that Mr. Chili had been directed to in place of Trimmingham’s.  Funny story; when he told the lady at the tourism bureau that he missed Trimmingham’s, her response was “don’t we all.”  He asked our old lady breakfast companion about the place, and commented that he missed it.  “Don’t we all” was her response.  If it was such a popular place, why’d it go out of business, I wonder?  Anyway…

The store had precisely the same collection of candy that all the other shops have, so we bustled out of there, found our scooter, and headed back to the apartment to gear up for the “long trip” out to St. Georges.  I packed a couple of containers of iced tea, the camera, our swimsuits, a pair of towels, all our sunscreen, and a couple of plastic bags for collecting sand and other treasures, and we were off.

It’s kind of funny what people here think of as a “long” trip.  Given that the island is only something like 22 miles from end to end, nothing is really that far away.  I suppose, though, the 30 kph speed limit island-wide does make it seem longer.  In any case, I very much enjoyed the trip, buzzing along on the back of the scooter as we passed beautiful views, pastel painted houses, and colorful people.

We arrived in the town of St. Georges and parked in the shadow of the replica of the Deliverance

There was a historic reenactment going on – something silly about a disobedient wife – that we pretty much avoided.  We took the opportunity, while the crowd was occupied in hearing an account of the woman’s crimes, to duck into the town hall and snap a few photographs.

There were several images of Queen Elizabeth hung about, and I gathered that she’d visited a couple of times (once in 1954, if I remember the date on the picture correctly), and letters to the Queen from the town fathers – and her replies – were framed nest to the portraits.

After perusing the town hall, we moseyed through a number of shops and then made our way down the street to the St. Peter’s church, said to be the oldest Anglican church in continuous use on this side of the planet.  Mr. Chili was profoundly frustrated in his efforts to get some good pictures – he was just about at his limit with inconsiderate tourists – so I bought a postcard.  Not the same, I know, but better than nothing.

image credit

We were still strolling when I realized that we were probably approaching the time our wedding was held, 15 years prior, so we decided to have a bit of lunch to commemorate the occasion.  We ducked into a place called Polaris at the Carriage House and were shown to a table by the wall of windows.  We shared a salad and a very yummy chicken sandwich.  After lunch, we hopped back on the scooter and made for St. Catherine’s.

Mr. Chili had wanted to head all the way out to the end of the island because he believed that’s where the pinkest sand could be found.  I couldn’t have cared less what his motives were; I was just happy to be along for the ride.  We rounded the corner and encountered this:

The sand was, indeed, pink.  Also, there was sea glass!  We were lucky to find a bit of shade on the beach, too, in the form of a disused boardwalk or old wharf of some kind, which was most welcomed, as we were both feeling like we were fast approaching our sun limit.  We spent a lovely stretch of time wading in the waves, collecting bits of glass from among the stones, and scooping up a double handful of the pastel sand that this island is famous for.

When we were here last, we weren’t able to go past what was an American Air/Naval base to reach some really pretty beaches.  That wasn’t the case this time, so we scooted out to the end of that point and had a look around

That’s me, creating my own shade.  Really – too much sun is a baaaad thing

We doodled back home and got prettied up to go out for our anniversary dinner at a little Italian place called La Trattoria in Hamilton.  It was an interesting experience.  I think Mr. Chili was expecting something quiet and out of the way, but I bet the presence of the cruise ship in Hamilton made “quiet” pretty much out of the question.  We shared the restaurant with a number of families with small children (hence the lack of quiet), but we had a lovely time nonetheless.  Our waiters were, in fact, Italian, and insisted on speaking Italian whenever possible (mille grazie and all that).  One of the waiters corrected Mr. Chili’s request for bruschetta (which he pronounced with a “ch” sound – the waiter corrected it to a hard “k” sound, and, understandably, kind of ticked my husband off).  We ordered some wine and some bruschetta and a pair of plates of chicken manicotti.

The bruschetta wasn’t what we were expecting – it was essentially pizza sauce on crispy bread and not the marinated tomato, onion, and garlic on toast that we thought we’d get.  It was yummy, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t bruschetta.  The manicotti was yummy, and I’m already working out how to replicate the dish at home.  After sharing a dessert of Italian cheesecake, we wandered back to Front Street where a street fair of sorts was going on for the benefit of the cruise passengers.  We didn’t stay long, though – back on the scooter and off for home where we relaxed and made an early night of it.


Filed under Uncategorized

Honeymoon 2.0: Part IV

Tuesday morning saw us making decisions about how to spend our day over a breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast.  When we were here last, in 1994, there was British chocolate everywhere, so Mr. Chili arrived for this trip with a hankering for European sweeties.  Sadly, the only candy we’d been able to find has been the same stuff available in the “foreign food” section of our grocery store at home; some chocolate dipped biscuits and some Cadbury Flake bars.  In an effort to satisfy his craving, we decided to try a couple of the specialty shops in downtown Hamilton, so we hopped on the scooter and headed for town.

Once we got there, we found a parking spot by the water and started to stroll.  The big department store that used to be here – Trimmingham’s – is closed, so we headed for the Marks and Spencer in the hopes of scoring some good British chocolate, but no such luck.  We doodled around for a bit, deciding to spend a little time in the cathedral at Hamilton:

then made our way to the Bermuda Tourism Bureau to try to get a better map and to find out whether there were any special events happening this week.  Mr. Chili brought up the fact that Trimmingham’s is gone and that he misses it (“Don’t we all” was the response of the lady behind the desk) and asked if there were any other likely candidates for the good candy.  We were directed to Gibbon’s, but we didn’t find it in our walking back to the scooter – and we were getting hot and hungry for lunch – so we motored back to the apartment for sandwiches and some more decision making.

We had wanted to got to the Royal Naval Dockyards, but we can see the cruise ships from our bedroom window; neither of us is thrilled to be part of a thronging mass (especially a thronging mass of tourists), so we were reluctant to run headlong into the dockyards while there were two ships parked at the wharves.  Mr. Chili is wicked smaht, though, and knew where to find the boats’ schedules, so he knew that one would be leaving at 3 and the other at 5, and that the next wasn’t due in until 9 that night.  If we timed it right, we figured we could take a ferry to the other end of the island and hit the shopping while all the people in the place was literally flocking back to the ships.  We scooted back to Hamilton in time to catch the 2:30; $12 bucks in ferry fare and we – and our little scooter – we on the go!

I was surprised by how smooth the ferry ride was.  We’re used to the Martha’s Vineyard ferries, which are loud and powerful and which vibrate from port to port.  This boat was quiet and smooth as glass.  The only way I knew the engines were running was the low hum and the churning water behind us.

Mr. Chili was right.  A number of the people on our ferry run were racing the clock to get back to their boat by check-in.  We slid right into the ferry landing and disembarked with the scooter.  The Dockyards are quite different than they were when we were there last; there’s a full-on mall there now, when before there were a few artisans and shops, but nothing as polished and put-together as what’s there now.  We were on a mission to get Mother Chili another pair of Dockyard Glass Works earrings, so we headed there first.  Mission accomplished, we decided to have a little stroll indoors – we were technically out of sun curfew time, but we’d been out a fair bit and thought that spending some time inside would be a good idea.

Mr. Chili wanted to get some polo shirts on the trip, so we started up in a tee shirt shop where we found some really nice collar-less polos (my beloved lives in polos) for money we were willing to spend.  From there, we browsed pretty much every other shop in the place, and I came away with a couple of matted prints and a pack of note cards that I’ll put in frames in the upstairs bathroom.  After a quick stop to share an ice cream cone, we were back on the road.

We had packed our bathing suits and some towels because we had every intention of finding a beach.  Before we got to the one Mr. Chili had chosen, we stopped at Somerset Bridge, hailed as the world’s smallest drawbridge:

Seriously; the drawbridge is big enough to accommodate the mast of a sailboat.  That’s it.

We continued on to Hog Bay Park, where we parked the scooter and started walking.  I have to admit to being a little skeptical; I saw an onion field, a really big hill, and lots of woods – I could neither see nor hear the ocean, so I wasn’t sure how this was going to go.  I mean, in terms of sheer practicality, the island is only 2 miles at its widest point, so I knew we weren’t going to walk TOO far, but still.  After some up and down, a couple of bugs and a few birds, we made our way to this pretty bit of the country.

Please understand.  Mrs. Chili grew up and has lived her whole life in New England.  It’s generally cool in New England, and the water in the ocean in that part of the world is black to dark green and cold.  When I say cold, I’m not exaggerating; I’ve never been in the water of any New England beach above my knees – by the time one gets to mid-shin, one can’t feel one’s feet; no lie.  That’s why this picture is so remarkable:

That’s me, in the Atlantic up to my shoulders.  Seriously.

After our dip, we dried off, got back into our clothes (it was a quiet little secluded beach, so we changed right  here) and hiked back to the bike, which we road all the way home.  I made some chicken with noodles and we kicked back for the evening.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Quick Hit: A Perfect Day

Quick Hit: A Perfect Day, originally uploaded by mrs.chili.

June 29 is one of my favorite days of the year.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Quick Hit: Fifteen

Today, my beloved and I celebrate 15 years of what can only be described as disgustingly happy marriage. We’re too busy enjoying ourselves for me to write much here. I promise to catch you all up later!


Filed under Uncategorized

Honeymoon 2.0: Part III

Yesterday began with cinnamon raisin toast on the balcony overlooking Hamilton.  Mr. Chili pulled up Google images of where we are staying and used that to show me where things were in relation to us.  I enjoyed looking at all the buildings both on the screen and in front of me, and I’ve been trying, as we’ve motored around the island, to recognize this or that as we pass it.  We joke that the island is only something like 22 square miles, and how lost can you get, really, but I have to say, that I’d be completely adrift without my husband – and in more ways than one.  He has a kind of freaky internal GPS that always seems to get us where we’re going.

Where we were going yesterday was the Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse

Said to be the world’s oldest cast iron lighthouse, the structure sits on top of a hill in Southampton Parish.  For $2.50 (the Bermuda dollar is pegged 1 to 1 with the US currency) one can climb the 185 curving steps to the top, where one is afforded spectacular views of the island and the surrounding sea.

They say there are 185 steps, but I counted 183.  I think they counted the one going into the lighthouse and the one that takes you out onto the ledge.

There were a lot of people up there with us, and one girl was clearly afraid of heights; she was clinging to the inside wall the whole time, poor thing.

After our adventures in the lighthouse – and a quick trip through the gift shop to buy a postcard – we headed back to “our” sea glass beach to see what new treasures the sea had tossed up since yesterday.  We collected a few more pretty bits, and Mr. Chili snapped a picture of these weird things:

Right about then, we decided that it was time to start thinking about lunch.  We strapped on the helmets and made for the Bermuda Aquarium and Zoo.

The aquarium is teeny-tiny in comparison to what I’m accustomed to, but it was still a lovely way to spend the sun curfew.  I got some really good pictures of fishes and other critters.  Observe:

DUDE!  Isn’t he cute?!  He was about the size of my palm…

This guy, however, was about the size of our gas grill (and probably weighed as much as about a dozen of them).

Lunch was an unremarkable snack of chicken fingers and french fries – typical of what one can get at any concession stand anywhere in the states, but it was inexpensive and sufficient to our needs, so we went with it.  We spent our entire lunch being solicited by little birds who, if they could speak, would most certainly be saying “we KNOW you have french fries… c’mon; drop one!” and we’re reasonably sure that the macaw in the nearby enclosure was screeching the same thing.  Luckily for them, the family who came in after us didn’t want their pizza crusts.

After the zoo, we stopped at a grocery store to get a few more provisions, then came home and had dinner.  Mr. Chili felt adventurous, so we hopped on the scooter at dusk and meandered toward Spanish Point, where we listened to tree frogs, looked across the sound to the cruise ships docked at the Royal Naval Dockyards, and had a friendly chat with some locals who’d brought their evening meal to enjoy in the open air at a picnic table in the park (but didn’t take any pictures).  Home again, then to bed.

Today had us taking the ferry to the Dockyards; I’ll tell you all about that tomorrow.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Honeymoon 2.0: Part II

I’m skipping Ten Things Tuesday this week; I’ve got much more fun for you today.

Sunday was a wonderful day.  We had a leisurely morning over raisin toast and a map of the island.  We decided that we’d just putter for a bit, so we strapped on the dorky helmets and headed out, stopping here and there to take pictures.

The first place we stopped was a lovely little cove that the locals like to fish.  We snapped a couple of pictures and had a personable conversation with a man who moved here from New Jersey.

From there, we ended up at a little beach called Devonshire Bay.  It is a beautiful beach, again, favored by locals; a couple of people were fishing and several people had brought their dogs for walking (and swimming) on the beach.  Mr. Chili and I parked the scooter and headed up a path that looked likely for an adventure.

Mr. Chili went ahead of me, and as I was picking my way down the coral and sandstone toward a teeny, tiny beach, my beloved hollered up, “Hey, Babe – you need to get down here.”  I found the edge and looked down, and this was what I saw:

Seriously.  An amazing abundance of sea glass.  When we go down the Cape, we’re used to looking for tiny bits of color; here, we were finding pieces as big as silver dollars.  I went to wade in a bit to test the water when I looked down and saw a large, round something.  I called my husband over to ask him what he thought it was (not being familiar myself with the ocean life of Bermuda, and I wasn’t sure if it was a critter).  He said it looked to him as though it were a plastic lid of some sort, but when he reached down to retrieve it, he discovered it was a piece of glass as big as his palm.  It’s not quite done yet – if it were any smaller, we probably would have tossed it ‘back to the factory” – but I’d never seen a piece of sea glass so big, so we kept it.

From there, we scooted to John Smith Bay.  Stunningly beautiful and, by the standards of the beaches and coves we’d visited thus far, incredibly busy.  It was fun to stand under a tree in the shade and watch the kids goofing around in the waves.

It was just about now that Mr. Chili and I looked at each other and decided that lunch should be in our near future, so we got back on the bike and headed for the Swizzle Inn.

image credit – I didn’t take a picture, and I’m not sure why…

We settled on BBQ chicken nachos and a salad to share, and I’m so glad we did; the nachos were wonderful, and the salad was crispy and plentiful.  Mr. Chili ordered a ginger beer (which he’s drinking almost exclusively while we’re here – I find it a bit too strong) and I ordered, of course, a rum Swizzle.  It is, after all, the specialty of the house, and I had to have one.  It was a yummy, not-too-strong rum punch that I enjoyed quite a lot.  Our only complaint was that our waitress was pretty much non-existent; we waited too long to order, our drinks came long after they should have, and it was a good thing our food was right and delicious, because we didn’t see our waitress again – we had to ask a manager for our check.  Despite that experience, though, we’ll be going back; I have been craving bbq nachos ever since that lunch.

Our next trip was past the airport on our way to Burnt Point Fort.  Mr. Chili made a wrong turn on the way that brought us to a gorgeous little cove.  I’m glad he made the mistake; we never would have seen this otherwise:

(this is my view while we’re on the road…)

When we reached Burnt Point, we strolled around the grounds, watched some fast boats, and took another picture of my feet on vacation.

We were pretty pooped by then, so we scooted home, where I took a nap and Mr. Chili walked around the neighborhood.  We had a light dinner and watched Defiance, then we called the girls on facetime (which is awesome!) and made for bed.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you all about our adventures with lighthouses, zoos, and aquariums!


Filed under Uncategorized

Quick Hit: Sea Glass

Quick Hit: Sea Glass, originally uploaded by mrs.chili.

We found this beach on our first day out. I plan to go back! Gerry, it was a two blue day!!


Filed under Uncategorized