If you're reading this Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas! I hope that you enjoyed your holidays no matter where in the world. This year was a bit strange for me as I didn't go home for Christmas to see my family. Sadly the price of flights was extortionate, and I have plans to go home in January, anyway so it made sense to stay on the North American continent for the Christmas holidays. Rather than spend the day missing my family and friends back home, my friend Hannah and I decided to use the time to do something completely different and explore a new country - Bermuda!
Now you may think that Bermuda is an odd choice, I suppose it is, but as our criteria for our holiday were 1) Sunshine, 2) Cheap, 3) Somewhere we could fly back from on Boxing Day so that Hannah could get back for work, Bermuda actually worked out to be reasonably affordable in terms of flights and accomodation. We stayed in a decent AirBnB pretty much in the geographical centre of the island, in Warwick Parish, so it was about 30minutes by car to get to each end of the island (Bermuda is not massive). We got there late in the evening after dashing straight from work (for me my team's Christmas meal!) to JFK, so we got to experience that wonderful feeling of waking up in a strange land.
On our first day on the island we decided to start in the town of St George's, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the first English settlement on the island. We wandered around the old colonial buildings, saw a replica of the ship "Deliverance" which was shipwrecked on the island (leading to its habitation) and stopped off for a big lunch at Wahoo's Bistro & Patio which had beautiful views over the harbour. After living in New York it was a welcome change of pace to simply stroll and enjoy the sunshine and the views of the islands. We also walked to two of the old forts that defended Bermuda and St George's before stopping for a coffee at The Wharf. We then headed back to Hamilton, the main town where we found a Marks & Spencer's (!!) and had some incredibly pricey "happy hour" drinks before heading back to our AirBnb for dinner.
Going from one end of the island to the other we headed in the opposite direction on the bus to Somerset Village where we decided to get off so that we could enjoy a nice walk in the sunshine. There were lots of photo opportunities along the way and we marveled over the colour of the water. It was I think the most turquoise water I have ever seen, helped no doubt by the fact that Bermuda is stuck out on its own in the Atlantic so the water is a lot cleaner than say, the English Channel. We walked from Somerset to the Old Historic Dockyard which actually had a lot more going for it than we realised. It had a shopping mall, dockyard, stuff for the Americas Cup, the National Museum of Bermuda and, my favourite, Dolphin Quest where they had dolphins that you could swim with.
We spent a long time watching the dolphins but the National Museum was also really interesting. They also have quite a few bars and restaraunts, we visited the Anchor which had some great food. Afterwards we had finished at the museum we got the ferry back to Hamilton which gave us the opportunity to watch a beautiful sunset. We wandered the streets to find a restaraunt called the Lobster Pot so I could take a picture outside (there is a cafe of the same name near my grandparents house which we go to often and as I wasn't seeing them on Christmas day I wanted to find a little bit of "home away from home). Afterwards we headed down to Front Street for a lovely dinner and a glass of wine overlooking the bay before calling it a day.
Christmas Eve! It was a lovely and warm day so we decided to head straight for the beach. We grabbed a few bits and pieces from the shops for a picnic, and also some dinner for Christmas day as all the restaraunts would be closed, before heading to Horseshoe Bay. The bay is a popular destination for all visitors to Bermuda thanks to its powder-soft white sand. Walking in it felt more like walking in flour than on sand it was that fine. We both went for a swim in the sea, something neither of us have done before on Christmas Eve! For the evening we headed to the nearby hotel for some drinks before crashing completely ready for a slighly earlier morning on Christmas Day.
Our alarms set for 7:50 and 8am, we woke on Christmas morning to call our families back home. Thankfully the time difference was an hour shorter than usual but knowing that our families would be busy cooking Christmas dinner we got up early to try and avoid calling at awkward times. It was lovely to speak to everyone, and although it was a bit sad that we weren't there I think, thanks to the weather being 25 degrees celsius, we didn't feel Christmassy at all because the environment we were in was so far removed from "normal". We only took hand luggage to Bermuda so we only had one or two things to open on Christmas morning, so afterwards we headed out to Marley Beach to have a very relaxing day sunbathing. At one point we even got the entire beach to ourselves which was pretty special, and again we swam in the sea which I have never done before on Christmas Day. On arriving back in our AirBnb we had some custard creams which we had bought from M&S, some delicious wine, and enjoyed a slightly non-traditional Christmas dinner of ready meals (mini pepperoni pizzas for me and pesto pasta for Hannah)! With an early start on Boxing Day, it was early to bed, and goodbye island paradise.
Our trip to Bermuda was the perfect antidote to being away from home for Christmas. Having missed family occasions before I know how difficult it is to be away from home for a special day, so rather than repeating the experience, heading into an entirely new one was exactly what we needed.
Bermuda is absolutely stunning and I would definitely recommend it. We had two incredible days exploring the island and two wonderfully relaxing ones enjoying the picture perfect beaches, giving us plenty of time to recharge our batteries after spending four months living in a busy city. To that end, I'm going to finish this post here so that I can have an early night before heading back to work tomorrow. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays all, I hope you enjoyed them!