A Bermuda Beach Day (II)

The beauty of Bermuda blows me away!  With blush pink sands, turquoise water and remarkable coves, there are nothing quite like the beaches in Bermuda!

We spent our second day in Bermuda at the beach.  We chose the Horseshoe Bay beach since it is one of the most applauded beaches in Bermuda.

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Most of the cruise people went there, consequently it was much more crowded than other beaches.

Facing the water to the right side of the beach is the Horseshoe Bay Cove.  There rocky terrain rising above the bay encircles the clear water to shape the cove,  it’s like a solitude within a retreat.

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When we arrived in the early morning, we were the only ones at the cove.

So to avoid the crowd, go there early and venture out.

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We also walked to the left side of the Bay.  It was even better!  So seclusive, some part of the beach felt like a private one because we were the only ones there!

One thing for sure, the further away from the Horseshoe Bay, the more striking the scenery, the rockier the beach.

If you want to venture out the beach area as I did, just remember to wear steady footwear.  The rocks were VERY sharp!  Arthur’s Chaco were perfect.  At one point I left my flip flops with my mother-in-law, and I ended up hurting my feet trying to climb across some rocks.

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The sands are definitely pink, much pinker near the area where waves smash the shore.

Of course, locals may not go to the Horseshoe Bay beach, it may be too touristy for them.

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On the bus tour of the first day, we passed by many pink sand beaches and coves.  Some coves were so small and cozy, just perfect as a romantic getaway.

The weather in Bermuda is mild with the highest in the 80s in the summer and the lowest in the 50s in the winter.  However with the humidity in the summer 80s can feel like in the 90s; with the gusty wind in the winter, the 50s like in the 40s.  While we were there in the early June, the daily temperatures were consistent in the range of 75–77 F.  Yes, it was not a typo, the high and low of a day were virtually the same!

There are various public transportation (buses and ferries) available leaving from the Royal Naval Dockyard to the City of Hamilton, the Town of St. George and different beaches.  Our taxi costed $32 from the cruise dock to the Horseshoe Bay one way, so it is a great value if you go with a group.

Before this trip, my knowledge of Bermuda was minimal; it was a mysterious place where boats disappeared for no reason. In reality Bermuda only takes up less than 4% of the Bermuda Triangle.  We are safe.  The thing might have killed us is not the vanish of our ship rather the high price tag of living there.  The island is VERY expensive, about two times more than what we pay in mainland US.  A gallon of gasoline costs $8! A gallon of milk $14! A mid-range meal for a couple $130!! Although it is understandable that virtually everything on the island has to be shipped here from the mainland. But still, ouch!!

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There are direct flights from major cities to Bermuda, so this little paradise can be an easy weekend getaway.  Oh, one more thing, don’t forget to pack a pair of Bermuda shorts to Bermuda!!

First time to dip my toes in pink sands! 😍🏖 #content #happyday

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A Cruise Getaway to Bermuda (I)

Recently we accompanied my mother-in-law to Bermuda boarding Royal Caribbean Cruise.  After only two days we fell in love with the island and convinced that we would be back.  And next time bring our children with us.

Our cruise ship left from the port Baltimore, we picked this cruise for the convenient location, this way my mother-in-law could skip the stress of flying on the plane.

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Bermuda is an independently governed British territory in North Atlantic Ocean.  Our cruise ship docked at the Royal Naval Dockyard at King’s Wharf.

There are museums and restaurants in the Naval Dockyard, and a craft market, a clock tower mall, swimming with dolphins, a snorkel park, even a fun golf site, you can easily spend a half day exploring the dockyard.  The one site on the top of the list should be the National Museum of Bermuda.

On our first day on the island we took a mini-bus tour. The bus picked us up from the Royal Naval Dockyard; it took about five-hour to tour the whole island.

The beautiful coast took our breaths away.  Right there we decided that our second day in Bermuda would be a beach day! (see part II for more)

This newly refurbished Gibbs Hill Lighthouse is one of Bermuda’s iconic attractions. There were 185 steps to the top! Just to give you a perspective–the Bunker Hill in Boston is 294 steps. ( I passed out while climbing the Monument, it was in the heat of summer and I was that close to the top. You won’t forget it easily after a humiliating experience like that🤣.)

DSC04931This is the island view at the base of the Lighthouse, just imaging the view from the top! However we were only given 20 minutes, not enough time to climb.  But one couple decided to climb it regardless for the Lighthouse was such an iconic destination!  You guessed right… the whole bus had to wait for them…

Every corner we turned was a photogenic view.  Golf courses there were world class.

The capital of Bermuda is City of Hamilton, lots of people go here for duty free shopping.  If you just want a few souvenirs to take home, our tour guide recommended this store–on the left hand side of the Burnaby Street as soon as we made a right turn from the Front Street, the cheapest T-shirt there was about $8 (on the cruise $10 on sale with fewer selections).

There are lots of churches on the island.  If you throw a rock randomly, you may hit the stained glass of a church! (Legend says so😉)

Here are a few of my favorites.  Heydon’s Chapel is the oldest church in Bermuda, and the smallest and most endearing.  The church was built in 1620.  ‘Sing to God,  Sing praises to His name; Lift up a song to Him who rides upon the clouds; His name is the Lord, exult before Him. Psalm 68:4.’

The Unfinished Church was planned as a replacement for St. Peter’s Church.  The construction started in mid-19th century, but left unfinished when running out of fund.  I wish we had more time to linger there, it would be a beautiful spot for wedding.

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And St. Peter’s Church in the Town of St.  George.  This is the oldest continuously used Anglican church in the western hemisphere, more than 400 years old!

St. George is at the eastern tip of Bermuda.  The town and the surrounding fortifications as a whole is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Lots of the sites were closed since our bus arrived after 5 pm.  St. George will be our #1 choice of lodging locations if we go back to Bermuda.

Things we might do differently:

Bermuda consists of more 180 islands, totally 20 square miles.  The Bermuda we refer to is the largest island.  You can get away from participating the cruise excursion especially you have friends and family travel together, just do your own tour.  Normally we prefer the freedom of doing our own things than taking tours since we always feel rushed with a tour.  However with a 89-year-old mom with us, bus tour was the next best thing.

At the Royal Naval Dockyard, right outside of our cruise, there were MANY taxis waiting for service.  You could pay the driver by hour, this way you have your personal driver and tour guide for your group.  Our excursion was $100/person, for the four of us we could have hired a driver for the day with a much greater amount of freedom, like climbing the Lighthouse and lingering longer at the Unfinished Church!

Happy first day of summer!! #sailing

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The Kentucky Castle

Slow down Spring, it’s not Summer yet. #sunnday #springtime #relaxation

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There are castles in Kentucky.  The most impressive one in my opinion is the one in Versailles, not that Versailles of Sun King Louise XIV outside of Paris, of course.  Nevertheless this castle of Versailles, Kentucky is quite fabulous, and no lack of fairytale story.

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Not far from the castle, there was a lovely orchard where you could pick apples and my favorite Asian pears.  So every time we passed by this castle to the orchard, I wondered out loud what could the inside like.  So my dear husband took notes,  a few years ago, he surprised me for an overnight stay in this caste for our wedding anniversary!

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At that time, the castle was called the Castle Post.  It hosted special events, only open to public occasionally.

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It was December, the castle was decorated for Christmas.

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Our suite was at the left turret, the Executive Terrace Suite with a huge study.  The suite was tastefully decorated in rich burgundy color with traditional furnishing.  It was classic and upscale.  The king-size poster bed was lovely!

The breakfast was not large, but delicious with pastry, eggs and my favorite smoked salmon.

The castle has gone through chances in management and ownership, it was open again last year after renovation.  On their Facebook, there were morning yoga on the roof top, weddings and various events, so we decided to go back to try their farm-to-table restaurant.

And we were impressed.

We stayed past sunset.  The castle was truly magical at night.

So pay a visit when you are in the area, you may discover a new spot of romantic gateway.

 

 

 

Chateau de Versailles, the Palace of Louis XIV

Few years ago we took a day trip to Versailles while vacation in Paris. Every time I think of that trip, the first image comes to mind is the Gardens of Versailles, not the museums of Paris. And I LOVE Paris, who doesn’t.

There are three major sights in Versailles: the Chateau, the palace itself; the Gardens around the palace; and the Domaine de Marie-Antoinette, the pastoral area away from the palace.

Versailles is huge and has many visitors in any given day. Smart travelers buy tickets online to avoid the ticket-buying lines and get there early to avoid the crowd.  The Versailles “Le Passport” Pass includes both tickets for the Chateau and the Domaine and an audio guide.  The Gardens have free admission, so have children under 18. We had the Paris Museum Pass, which included the admission tickets but not the audio guide.  So we downloaded Rick Steves’ self-guided tour on our iphones. It worked out well.

The Chateau was built by Louis XIV, the Sun King (1638-1718). His bedroom with the three arched windows beneath the clock (the left photo) faced the rising sun.  The 72-year reign of Louis XIV, longer than any known sovereign, ushered France into her golden age. This grand Chateau was not only the palace but also the seat of French government. This epic-scale Hall of Mirrors showcased the then #1 dominant power in Europe.

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Louis XV and XVI also resided here. Sadly, it was from this palace King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette were captured and taken up to the guillotine during French Revolution (1789-99) which overthrew the French monarchy.

Louis XIV reminded me of Kangxi emperor (1654-1922) of China’s Qing Dynasty.  Not only they ruled in the similar eon, he was also the longest reigning emperor in China, 61 years! The era name Kangxi 康熙 literally meant “Peaceful Harmony”.

King Louis XIV loved outdoor. He took care of his Gardens as he did everything else in the kingdom: in total command and doing the unthinkable. The Orangerie showcased his thousands of orange trees growing in chilly France.

#versailles #versaillesgarden #europe #sunking #travel #lushgreen #gardens

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We rented bikes for about €8/hr. It gave us the freedom to bike away from the crowd, and retreated to the Domaine de Marie-Antoinette. The bike ride was very pleasant.

According to Rick Steves’ “Europe Through the Back Door”, if you plan to visit just one palace in Europe, make it Versailles. How glad I am to have followed his advice, and not disappointed!

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