Sitting Still in St. George’s
As a solo traveler, sometimes you can have the most interesting experiences just by sitting still.
On a recent trip to Bermuda, I decided to take advantage of the weather and some free time, and eat my lunch in a small park at the water’s edge in St. George’s.
Earlier that morning, I had taken a walking tour of the town led by Allison Outerbridge, a descendant of one of the oldest families on the island. Her knowledge of the area is seemingly encyclopedic. St. George’s is lovely, and in fact, the entire town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I joined a group that followed our guide from King’s Square, through Somers’ Garden, up and down streets lined with whitewashed buildings and houses painted in pale pastels, visiting St. Peter’s graveyard and passing by local shops and restaurants.
Following the walking tour, I had watched a re-enactment of The Ducking of the Wives, a tradition that involved punishing women for gossiping and nagging by humiliating them in front of a huge crowd in the town square, then plunging them repeatedly into the harbour. Although the performance is presented in a dramatic and humorous way, it does leave you with some food for thought.
So off I went for some quiet time by the water. I found a bench under a tree and sat soaking in the beauty of St. George’s Harbour, enjoying the breeze, and sharing my lunch with the birds. I was soon joined by a woman decked out in so much interesting silver jewellery that I became aware of the sound of her bangles before actually seeing her. We chatted for a few minutes. I discovered that she was on her first solo cruise, and had just disembarked from the ship to have a stroll around town. Solo travelers are everywhere!
A short time later, along came a four-legged local and his two-legged companion. I was pleased to make the acquaintance of the apparently famous Smokey the Dachsund. Smokey is an award-winning show dog, and his owner told me all about his many accomplishments. He also shared his theories about 9/11, the financial collapse, American politics, China, and the internet. It was a pretty wide-ranging discussion – well, more a monologue, really – but incredibly entertaining. Paul is rather suspicious of the internet, so he wouldn’t allow me to show you his photo, but Smokey was very accommodating in posing for a few shots.
I’m so glad that I plunked myself down in Bob Burns Memorial Park that day. After exploring the town on foot with a group, by sitting still on my own in a public space, I opened myself up to meeting new people. In this case, I met both another traveler and a local, which not only added some color to my day, but also makes my memories of my visit to St. George’s a little more special.
While in Bermuda, I was a guest of the Bermuda Department of Tourism.