How I spent 50 hours in Bermuda

 

I had no idea you were so beautiful. I love you. And really, it was February in Canada, so I was ready to high-tail it away.

When the phone call came from my long-time friend Tiffany to attend the Bermuda Music Festival; to see the sights with an all-access pass to the island, I packed my bag in 20 mins. Outta here!

 

Air Canada direct flight, check! By noon Friday, I could feel the sun on my face and the warmth of 20 degrees(C). Beautiful crystal blue waters, sailboats, speed boats, every kind of boat in one of a dozen harbours was my first welcome.

People: Canada in February has nothing on Bermuda!

Starting off at Swizzle Inn near the airport, I ate The Blue Hole Fish sandwich, a local catch of the day, and it was fresh! Thank God for fresh fish. Afterwards, I was game for a personal tour of the island by my host’s father – the man knows everyone; he gave me the drive-by, spoken word tour of what’s going on socially, economically, and infrastructure-wise in Bermuda.

(Check out gotobermuda.com to see the geography laid out easily, where one click-through takes you from west end to St. George’s.) Scroll down to, “Your Island Introduction.”

You may ask – What does a single traveller want to do with 48 hours in Bermuda?

  1. Concerts. Concerts. Concerts.

Bermuda has plenty of festivals, scheduled all year ‘round. I attended Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts, which happens weekends from January until March. http://bermudafestival.org/ I was thrilled to see so many incredible acts scheduled, particularly Arturo O’Ferrill and his Afro Latin Jazz Octet. I almost changed my ticket back a week just to catch the show.

Who I did catch in concert was the always entertaining, Tenors Un Limited. They were a blast, and had the crowd hanging onto their every note! Be it known that the Mid-Ocean Amphitheatre in the Fairmont Southampton is a great listening room with excellent sight lines.

After the concert, everyone just went upstairs to the lounge to keep the party going. There was an incredible house band, and the Fairmont is the perfect place to have Bermuda’s national cocktail – the “dark and stormy.” Yum. I even sat in with the house band for a song, and dedicated my song (in Spanish) to a lovely honeymooning couple. I think I might have gotten by speaking Spanish all weekend – the island is culturally fresh.

2. Go to the Beach.

Of course no Bermudian will swim in February (except for that CAD expat from Nova Scotia I met), however, you can and you should.

Overcast and slightly chilly at 14 degrees on Sunday (in February) – we set off for the beach. Tif gave me a choice of which gorgeous beach to choose from; we drove to five different ones before I jumped into the blue depths.

In the space of a couple hours, we went to Warwick Bay, Elbow Bay, and Steps (there are steps down to a lovely view). There are people who feel the pull of an ocean like an extension of your own soul, and I am one of them.

3. Recreation (and by that I mean the spa).

Yes, you can adventure travel, and I would have, had I been more than 50 hours on the island. But I am a mother to two children with an extremely full music schedule (among other things), and as I told my host family, “I ain’t slept since 2007.” I wanted rest, and a night without any miniature kicking legs #yeahcosleeping #worthitnotworthit.

Dear Fairmont Southampton Willow Stream Spa, I would like to move in. I’ll be true to your spa, and your aesthetics staff, and while I may sample other spas, you’ll always have my heart. A simple aromatherapy massage, lunch on the pool deck, hot tub and steam room access, and a ladies’ lounge made this mamí a very happy one.

This might be the most incredible bleached wood ceiling I've ever seen! #mymusiclife

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Bento boxes of fresh tuna, and a crisp glass of Chardonnay worked wonders. Alright, to be honest, there’s only one thing Canada in February has on Bermuda and that is….Québec cheese. Sorry Fairmont, your cheese tray didn’t cut it – it’s probably not your fault though, with import options. Dear Prime Minister Trudeau, next time you visit Bermuda, bring cheese and plenty of it.

Cheese plate if you please.

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4. Theatre.

By invitation, I attended the TRIOKA Bermuda’s presentation of, “The Color Purple.” The not-for-profit group’s mission is to, “educate, enlighten and entertain by producing significant theatre experiences…presented by a creative ensemble of young people.”

This production was phenomenal – and I’ve never participated in a production where the audience played such an instrumental role. We shouted out warnings to the cast, applauded those strong women, laughed and cried altogether. The cast members were Bermudians who had been performing theatre abroad, and came to home turf for this production. It was such a special moment to see the heart from the actors on stage, and the overwhelming love and pride from the crowd – I’ll never forget that!

The Colour Purple was fantastic tonight. Excellent cast!! #mymusiclife @bermuda @bermudatourismauthority

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I’m already planning my next trip to Bermuda, this time with kids in tow. My local friends tell me that May-June, September – mid November are great times to go that are warm and on the edges of the tourist travel.

Here’s the deal: if you only have 50 hours – spend it in Bermuda!

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México City is a blast. Everyone should take a week(end at least!) to hang out in this awesome city. The band and I travelled in April 2016 to play the Polanco International Jazz Festival as the only Canadian and International Act, and we were thrilled.


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The festival is an open-air stage with thousands of people all ready to hang, dance, eat, and party in the gorgeous Polanco district.  After a morning rehearsal…

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Uh… we did the same! Nancy, Ethan, Paco and I went for some food.

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Since we had the afternoon to hang after an early soundcheck, we walked for hours, not realizing exactly how long it would take to get from Polanco to Zona Rosa where we stayed.  This was an awesome turn of events, as we got to see the city from a pedestrian view.

Herewith, my favourite walking sites along our route!

Museo Nacional de Antropología

This site is breathtaking, and I’m only talking about the grounds! Please, please, book yourself a day to hang here!

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We walked the perimeter of the museum and everyone in the band, that very moment, planned to come back to visit with their families.

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Remarkable! Paco Luviano, our bass player extraordinaire, was able to educate us a little on the history of  the city and landmarks.

Parque México  

You must plan another full day to hang in this park.  Located in the Condesa neighbourhood, this park is full of sculptures, foliage, theatres and water features. Fountains and benches were created by architect Leonardo Noriega.

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We didn’t even scratch the surface of this incredible spot.

Polanco 

It’s a great hood – people are walking everywhere, it’s a shopping and dining district, and absolutely fun for the whole family.

We mostly ate our way through.

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And then found a nice spot to rest while our food settled.

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music. books. food. good friends. walking in nature.  We experienced the stuff of life.

At night, music time!

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Don’t forget to look around, street art is everywhere!13015334_10153512975055778_2729027343643652275_n

There’s a million more places to visit in México City, and we only had a few short hours.  Paco and I did manage to also see the Centro Historico, have a latte at Cineteca Nacional (the Film Museum), have a few interviews at UNAM (my  first bilingual interview!), hang at the Canadian Embassy a while, and come home with tequila, por supuesto.

In fact, the thing in CDMX (local slang for México City) is fine mezcal.  There are key differences between tequila and mezcal – essentially, mezcal incorporates a different approach to distillation, and many more varieties of agave.

After our show, we were gifted a bottle, by one of the artisans working in the craft market surrounding the festival stadium.

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So, we’ll return to México City any day of the week, and you should too.  It’s a phenomenal destination, and will hit any point on your travel list, be it rest, adventure, nature, city, music, poetry, culture and imagination.

This week, Hannah and the crew head to México City to appear at the Festival de Jazz de Polanco (https://www.facebook.com/festivaldejazzenpolanco/?fref=ts)

Hannah performs on Saturday evening at the prestigious Teatro Angela Peralta theatre in the Polanco district, an outdoor open theatre that seats 5,000.

 

Publicity Contact:

Octavio Echávarri – halebombo@yahoo.com

 

 

Hannah’s album, Green River Sessions  began charting on Jazz Week (http://www.jazzweek.com)

in November 2015.  This debut album reached #144 in January 2016!

 

Currently the music can be heard on over 30 stations in the US, in Canada, Poland, Italy and Peru!

 

cdrelease

Click here to learn more about this event!

 

L’esordio della cantante canadese Hanna Burgé è stato realizzato e prodotto molto bene, così da valorizzare al meglio le sue doti e le sue conoscenze musicali.

Click here to read more.

 

Фонографический дебют канадской певицы Ханны Бурже впечатляет. Прежде всего, бросается в глаза разнообразие музыкального материала.

Click here to read more.

 

The biggest name on Hannah Burgé’s new upcoming album is harmonica wizard Hendrik Meurkens.

Click here to read more.

 

Canadian voalist Hannah Burgé’s debut album Green River Sessions incorporates African, Brazilian and Indian vocal traditions with classical jazz influences to create a unique sound.

Click here to read more.