Bermuda's pretty pastel-shaded capital, Hamilton, named after a
former Governor, hustles and bustles with local shoppers and keen
sightseers every day of the week. Although it is officially a city,
boasting a massive 19th-century neo-Gothic cathedral, it is the
size of a town and is inhabited by approximately 15,000 people. The
population swells appreciably with the frequent arrival of cruise
ships that berth next to Hamilton's main thoroughfare of Front
Street, stretching along the harbour-front. Front Street also
boasts a ferry terminal, a parade area and countless shops,
restaurants and taverns. Most visitors linger at any one of the
restaurants along the stretch and enjoy the harbour views or watch
the passersby from the decorative balconies. The mood is relaxed
and amiable. Throughout the town British influences have blended
comfortably with the casual island style. Visitors can explore
elegant buildings like the Royal Yacht Club and Historical Museum,
or take a ride in a quaint horse-drawn carriage.
Hamilton's pride is the Georgian-style Sessions House, on Church
Street. It dates back to 1815 and serves as Bermuda's House of
Assembly and Supreme Court. It is also worth visiting Fort
Hamilton, particularly for the splendid views it offers of the
city, harbour and Gibb's Hill Lighthouse. At midday every Monday
shows are staged with bagpipers and traditional dancers.
From Hamilton one can take a 15-minute walk to one of Bermuda's
more recent attractions, the state-of-the-art Bermuda Underwater
Exploration Institute. This is a multi-million dollar institute
built to showcase the natural wonders of the surrounding oceans.
The Institute offers a simulated dive in a capsule and interactive
exhibits detailing local reef wrecks, plant and animal life. Also
worth visiting is the Bermuda Historical Society Museum.