When a group of settlers left England in 1609 for the newly established colony of Jamestown in Virginia, a stopover in Bermuda was probably the last thing that they wanted. A storm that drove their ship on to the reefs surrounding the island led to an unavoidable change of plans.
The survivors managed to build new ships and finish their voyage nine months later, but noting the beauty of Bermuda, two of them stayed behind to mark their possession of this new territory.
Three years later a group of permanent colonists arrived from England and selected a sheltered bay to build their first settlement - St. George's. This town survived even after Jamestown was abandoned, making it the oldest English town in the Americas. St Peter's Church, in the picture above, is believed to be the oldest continually used Anglican church in the Western hemisphere.
Today St. George's is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a charming place to visit. The town is centred around King's Square with it's lovely Town Hall.
A short distance from that is a replica of one of the original ships built by the shipwrecked settlers.
Much of the town is preserved in its original form, and walking around on the narrow cobbled streets of St.George's you can almost see the 17th century sailors disembarking from their ships and heading for one of the taverns that still overlook the port!
As we meandered our way out of the centre of town to Fort St.Catherine at it's northern end, we came across an intriguing pile of ruins that might once have been a Gothic church. Upon exploring we discovered that this church was never finished, having fallen into disrepair due to a lack of funds in 1847. It still has an air of calm about it and is a good place to rest your feet for the long trek ahead to the fort.
Fort St.Catherine with it's imposing stone walls, sweeping driveway and a lovely sandy beach, has some of the best views from it's ramparts and is worth the trek! It has a well preserved interior that also houses a museum. Nearby, is the place where the first shipwrecked sailors landed ashore and formed this historic town.
A short distance from St.George's are Bermuda's famous Crystal caves. Formed millions of years ago, these subterranean caves are breathtakingly beautiful with lagoons of clear blue water and crystallised white stalactites hanging low everywhere. Said to have been accidentally discovered in 1907 by two young boys looking for their lost ball, these unusual caves are a marvel worth visiting.
Bermuda is well known for it's seafood and local chefs excel in deftly cooking lightly spiced fish in many delicious ways. Although spiny lobster season was just starting when we were there, it was the grilled fish we ate most often. Served grilled, panfried or baked with salad, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables or my favourite Peas and Rice, it was always fantastic!
You can use any fish that is easily available. I've used salmon here but Red Snapper, Halibut or Sea Bass would work real well too. Serve this fish with the traditional side dish of Peas and Rice and garnish with a crunchy, juicy chopped salad to brighten up all the flavours.
Spiced Grilled Fish
1 lb. fish fillet
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp each, ground spices: black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika, Herbes de Provence
1 tbsp each: lemon juice, Outerbridge's sherry pepper hot sauce or any hot sauce
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking tray with parchment.
Lay fish fillets on tray. Brush tops with oil.
Sprinkle salt and all of the ground spices over top of fish.
Bake for 15-18 min just until fish is cooked through and flaking easily.
Sprinkle with lemon juice and hot sauce, serve.