We weren't due to dock in Nassau until 11:00, so we took our time and found 2 lounge chairs on deck to get some pictures. It was very windy. It was neat to see the sea change colors from deep blue to turquoise as we approached Nassau. We had some terrific views of the Atlantis resort on Paradise island and some lovely views of the island itself as we approached. There were three other ships docked in port, a local Bahama cruise line, Disney’s Magic
and NCL’s Norwegian Dawn.
We heard later that neither NCL nor Disney were supposed to be in port, but because of the wind, they couldn’t go to their private islands as scheduled as the winds and waves made tendering difficult. It made the town more crowded than it would have been. A lot of the shore excursions were cancelled, but that didn’t affect us, as we were planning on doing a self-guided walking tour. We had lunch and then left the ship to begin our tour.
Nassau is the capital and most populous city in the Bahamas, having about 80% of the entire island nation population. Our tour started right outside Prince George Wharf at Rawson Square. On the square is the Churchill Building, used by the prime minister and some government ministries. There is a statue of Queen Victoria in front of the Parliment building on one end of the square. To the right of it stand more Bahamian government office buildings, and to the left is the House of Assembly, the New World's oldest governing body in continuous session. In the building behind the statue, the Senate meets; this is a less influential body than the House of Assembly. Some of these Georgian-style buildings date from the late 1700s and early 1800s. Behind the Parliament building is the public Library, which used to be the Nassau Jail. The small prison cells are now lined with books.
We walked on to the Queen's Staircase
. This stairway was built in 1793 by slaves who cut the 66 steps out of sandstone cliffs using only chisels and hammers. They had to do a full day's labor in order to get food and water. If they didn't do a full day's labor, instead of food and water, they got a beating. It was built to provide British troops a protected route to Fort Fincastle which was built on the highest point of the island as a lookout by the British captain Lord Dunmore in 1793. The Queens Staircase and Fort Fincastle were inspired by a desire to watch for encroaching marauders and pirates, however, none ever attacked and the fort is now a lighthouse. We continued our walk along Prospect Ridge, which was the old dividing line between Nassau's rich and poor until we came to Government House. This is the official residence of the archipelago's governor-general, the queen's representative to The Bahamas. The post today is largely ceremonial, as an elected prime minister does the actual governing. This pink-and-white neoclassical mansion dates from the early 19th century. Poised on its front steps is a statue of Christopher Columbus. We continued on until we reach Villa Doyle, which was the former home of William Henry Doyle, chief justice of the Bahamian Supreme Court in the late 1800s. Across the street is St. Francis Roman Catholic Church. Constructed between 1885 and 1886, it was the country's first Catholic church. We walked back down the hill and saw the American Embassy (it is across the street from a McDonald's). Right down the street is the famous British Colonial Hilton
. Built in 1923, the nation's most famous hotel was once run by Sir Harry Oakes, who was at the time the most powerful man on the islands and a friend of the duke of Windsor. Oakes's murder in 1943, still unsolved, was called "the crime of the century." This historic location was the site of Fort Nassau, as well as the set for several James Bond thrillers. We finished our walk by passing the old stock exchange, which was the site of many slave auctions and the famous straw market, which is housed next to the stock exchange in temporary quarters as the old one burned down in 2001. They are building a new one down the street.
We needed a break before going back to the ship, so we went to a Dunkin Donuts that we had seen that offered free WiFi with a purchase. Keith got a latte and donut I got a Coolata and huge chocolate chip cookie. ( I was glad for the cookie as the cookies onboard were a disappointment.) We downloaded our email and Keith wanted to do a financial transaction, but the internet connection wasn’t all that great. I uploaded the blog, but decided against trying to add pictures since the connection wasn’t cooperating. We walked back to the ship. The wind was really bad and made walking hard. We relaxed a bit before dinner and dinner was a bit disappointing, at least to me. I think I was too tired to really care about it.
I'm not sure if we are nuts for getting up early to exercise or the smartest people in the world. At 6 am my brain isn't awake enough to try to figure it out. We both used the treadmills and walked almost 2 miles in our 30 minutes. We went to breakfast in the Main Dining room which ended up being a mistake. The Poached eggs I ordered were overcooked and room temperature. I could have done better with a hot plate and sauce pan. What am I saying. I've done better while camping.