St. George’s Town Walking Tour
The capital of Bermuda is Hamilton. This is supposed to be a modern city with many insurance companies and larger buildings. But the point of entry for yachts is St. George’s Town. This was the first settlement area where the first sailors arrived in 1611. Some buildings in St. George’s Town are 400 years old. Because it doesn’t get really cold, you can see right into the roof beams from the inside and look directly at the underside of the roof tiles. The walls of the houses are built very thickly of lime stone.
In the Town Hall there are (still) pictures of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip from 1953, which are hand-signed. We were told that such pictures are taken after the coronation and then sent to the town halls. So it will probably be a while before they get new pictures.
The church and the cemetery:
On the wall hangs an extract from the baptismal register. On the upper half, the names of the slaves were listed with the names of their owners, on the lower half there was only the indication of the place of origin. A nice indication that slavery was abolished this week.
There are several stories of freed slaves in the city. One example is James Darrell, who worked as a pilot and was one of the first coloured people to be allowed to buy and bequeath land. He defended this right by petitioning the British Navy Headquarters when new laws were introduced to restrict the rights of the coloured population. http://www.bermudabiographies.bm/Biographies/Biography-JamesDarrell.html
His house remains in the family to this day:
In the picture below you can see the building of a perfume manufacturing company. They have developed a perfume called Mary Celestia, which is advertised as Shipwreck Perfume. At first I thought, “Who wants to smell like shipwreck?”. But the story is different: There are hundreds of wrecks around Bermuda. Many serve as diving tourist attractions these days. During a storm, the wreck of the Mary Celestia had moved a bit and new items were found, including some vials of perfume. One of them was still sealed, meaning the scent was still preserved after being lost underwater for 150 years. The perfumery in Bermuda now set out to recreate this scent and sells it today under the name Mary Celestia or Shipwreck Perfume.
Next article: The trip to the Azores.