Pure Caribbean feeling
Wow… as we first see the beach and the sea at Old Fort Bay in the Bahamas. The sand is powder-soft and snow-white, the sea glows in turquoise and blue. So we spend the New Year’s Eve at the beach. In the evening we are invited to a party and can begin the new year with our friends and their acquaintances.
The golf cart is the usual way to get around in Lyford Cay, if you’re not doing a big shopping. It’s great fun to cruise around with the thing. We pass beautiful estates with huge gardens, cross through the golf course (we are going unnoticed with our golf cart) and drive to the beach. However, the one is much nicer at Old Fort Bay. We also take the opportunity to go to Nygard Cay, where Peter Nygard has built a property that looks like an ancient Mayan site (simply with more kitsch). It’s a bit weird. But if you have endless money… to each his own.
We explore Nassau on foot in the best weather. Golf carts are unfortunately not allowed outside the settlements. We start on the hill with Fort Charlotte, from where you have a beautiful view over the city, the coast and part of the port. This fort is the largest of the three forts on New Providence and was built in 1788. The city center is not far and so we slowly walk along the beach towards Straw Market and also pass the harbour area, where the large cruise ships dock. The countless beach bars are already well visited and sometimes have quite funny decorations.
Straw Market is a market hall near the harbour, selling carvings, straw hats, bags and other local handicrafts. We buy a souvenir and want to discover Fort Fincastle. To do this, we have to go across the city and up the hill again. We discover some pretty alleys with small restaurants and shops. The march is more arduous than i thought and I am glad when we arrived at the top of the hill. From there we have a perfect view of Paradise Island, where we want to go next.
As a shortcut down we take the Queen’s Staircase. The staircase was carved out of limestone by slaves at the end of the 18th century to allow British troops to make the most protected route to Fort Fincastle. The stairs were renamed Queen’s Staircase in honour of Queen Victoria. It is very green there and looks a bit like a sunken temple, from which the stairs remain.
After a small snack we continue over the bridge to Paradise Island, to the famous Hotel Atlantis. When I was there about 20 years ago, you could visit the aquarium, which was designed like the sunken Atlantis. That is what we want to see, too. Wanted… Nowadays, however, you have to pay for admission. Prices are beyond, well over USD 100 per person. This is too expensive for us and we explore those parts of the hotel that are freely accessible. In addition, there is a small shopping area outside, which is laid out like a small village. It’s all very nicely done. There is also the hotel’s own harbour, where some impressive yachts are located. I don’t feel so comfortable and we let our friends pick us up again.
The next three days I’m sick. Luckily, Fabian can always do something with our friends, like exploring the new Baha Mar on the remote Cable Beach. The resort covers more than 4 square kilometers and reportedly cost more than 4.2 billion US dollars! The resort is like a small town where there is everything you could wish for in luxurious goods. The huge casino is only accessible to tourists, as for Bahamanian residents gambling is prohibited by law. Accessable is the well-kept palm beach with sun loungers and a pool and wellness area of the very finest. It’s all super nice and super luxurious, but real Caribbean feeling like on the beach in Old Fort Bay doesn’t really want to come up, considering that you have to share the property with guests of the other 2335 rooms…
Culinary the Bahamas don’t offer much of their own, other than the Conch Fritters, a real specialty! The breaded balls with a mixture of conch meat and vegetables taste delicious. The meat is extracted from the Queen Conch, a giant sea snail found throughout the Caribbean.
Unfortunately, our time in the Bahamas is coming to an end. Finally we go to the beach in Old Fort Bay again and can enjoy a little Caribbean feeling before we have to leave again. The Bahamas were a nice change and we could really soak up the sun and enjoy the warmth.