A walk in St george’s

Now the weather’s heating up I’m finding it harder and harder to stay fit. I love walking and will walk pretty much anywhere, but it’s just getting too hot for me. I endeavor to get my lard arse out of bed and walk first thing before the day heats up. Oh who am I kidding? The temperature range is usually only three degrees (Celsius) here in Bermuda, so if I wake when the mercury is on twenty-nine, it might get to thirty-two as a high. The difference is the cloud cover, the humidity, especially after it rains, and the lovely island breeze. I try to walk different routes, but that’s quite hard to do having to share transport and most roads don’t have footpaths, which can be dangerous in rush hour traffic. Yes Bermuda does have a rush hour, twice a day, and traffic jams, and road accidents, and lots of emergency services with sirens wailing about racing to the latest crash. It’s quite dramatic as the emergency vehicles are all American and huge on the narrow roads. There doesn’t seem to be any rules about what time of the day sirens can be used. And generally the more noise the better, so its quite raucous and echoes for miles around the bays. Bermudian’s love noise!

Last week I decided to walk around the end of the island at St George’s. I got the car for the day and utilised the free park off Water Street, the sign’s right opposite Marketplace. Off I set following the road, mostly without footpaths making sure I faced traffic as it’s stated in the road rules. Well for a start off, then I zig zag to whichever side I think the traffic can see me. That’s much safer. Most people were away to work or school already, so thankfully the road was quiet. I wear my bright top I especially bought so I would be seen. It encourages me to not waste the purchase and actually use it for it’s intended purpose. That sounds like weird thinking, but that works well for me. I have since seen several other people in similar outfits also walking, so I may have started a new trend!

First stop was at the East End Mini Yacht Club to get a photo of St George’s from the other side. It was a beautiful day and really heating up fast. I left my water bottle in the car as I hate carrying it, but wasn’t sure how long this walk would take. My lovely husband thought it might be six kilometers, but I argued that I thought it was about four. I usually walk four every day when I can, so this seemed good. ‘Don’t forget you’re not used to hills anymore’ was his advice as I drove off. No, he’s right, I’m really not. It’s quite flat here with a few rises but really nothing too taxing being only seventy-nine meters above sea level at it’s highest point. Not really Mt Snowden in Wales category. But I do wonder how global warming will affect Bermuda in the future.

I walked a bit further and just before getting to the very little Gate’s Fort, a huge blast on the ships funnel nearly made me jump out of my skin. I was neck and neck with the Norwegian Cruise Line Ferry. That felt so weird because it usually passes me on the other road, and here I was keeping up with it right beside me while it went through the narrow gap. Then before I could get my camera out, it was off at a roar. Amazing skills around those jagged volcanic reefs. I carried on and wound my way around the point, on The Cut Road, which continues as Barry Road at the Alexander Battery. Bermuda has so many Forts that are now historic, some in need of a little TLC because of the rust here, and some in really great condition. Alexander Battery has a nice little glass beach beside it. I found some there to make necklaces for my sisters before I went home to New Zealand last. Onwards past the farm, the military cemetery, Drew’s Bay which I noted for future snorkeling (see the featured image), and the monument to the Sea Venturer. This was a ship wrecked in 1609, and the survivors were the first people on Bermuda. Then finally I came to St Catherine’s Fort, my half way point. There are new condo’s being built there that are completely changing the landscape, and going up fast. That left me wondering if the pink sand beach beside it at Gate’s Bay will be left public. I was told by a Bermudian man recently that all beaches are public in Bermuda if you can access them. That’s the difficulty when we find a nice little beach, how do we get to it? St Catherine’s Fort is a museum and really worthwhile visiting if you have time here. It’s got lots of memorabilia, original weapons, and cannons everywhere. It took us quite a while to get to it because it’s not open at the weekend’s, so my lovely husband had to take a holiday to see it. People can get married there too, which is lovely to see. The outfits are gorgeous and their shoes are to die for.

The next stop was the famous ‘Tobacco Bay’. It’s a really lovely almost enclosed bay, with a bar, music, and in summer a bouncy castle type of play raft in the middle for kids. We have been snorkeling there, and straight away my lovely husband picked up a Bermuda marble soda bottle. It was broken, of course for the marble, but quite a good example of one from the beginning of the 1900’s. Imagine, just sitting there all that time in the sand! There’s some lovely fish to see too, and in most bays in Bermuda it’s like swimming in a fish tank. A lot of the fish are used to swimmers and couldn’t care less as they eat the algae off the rocks. I can hear the scrape noise as they graze, when I’m under the water. It’s kind of like crystals falling in a jar. Tobacco Bay is too noisy for us, but the younger people sure like it, and it’s only a short walk over the hill from St George’s. There’s usually a taxi about keen to take you if walking and the heat gets a bit much. Some wobbly burnt tourists on scooters crawled passed me and were marveling about how they weren’t going to go that way, but pleased that they did.

Next it was back round to St George’s via a little steep hill, that sure got me sweating. Down Government Hill Road, past the Unfinished Church, and the Museum, then back to the car. The Historical Society’s Museum is a home that has been set up as though it is still lived in from the early settlers. It’s well worth a visit, and very interesting. I’ve been finding out why the ‘unfinished church’ has been left that way. It turns out that the Gothic style church was started in 1874, but due to discord amongst the parish, funding, ideals for using the funds to repair the old one, and a hurricane that wiped out work that was done, it got abandoned to become protected ruins. Sounds a bit like New Zealand’s Christchurch Cathedral. Enuf said!

I had walked 4.7 kilometers, I couldn’t wait to tell my husband so I used the free WiFi in the town square to message him. We’re not competitive at all! By this time I was absolutely parched, sweat pouring off me, and really eager to get that drink. I unlocked the car and even though I put the sunshade up over the windscreen, my water was hot. Hot enough to shower in! Note to self, take the chilly bin next time!

Tips to survive walking in the heat – these are not scientifically proven, just learnt from experience:

  • Hydrate well before you leave ie. Drink a whole bottle of water before setting out
  • When your muscles in your legs start to feel tight, that’s dehydration, you need a drink
  • A cloth is handy to wipe the sweat from dripping in your eyes, or a head band
  • Wear as little as possible, but use sunscreen so you don’t burn
  • Good comfy shoes that have air vents so they stay put and don’t slide on you are a good investment
  • If you’re walking for more than an hour carry that water bottle
  • Don’t forget Bermuda rain is like having a bucket of water thrown over you, so just go with it, it doesn’t last long.
  • Have fun!

More soon – Sally


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