As a certified travel agent, international airline employee, researcher, writer, teacher and photographer for four decades, travel, whether for pleasure or business, has always been an important and integral part of my life. Some 400 trips to all parts of the world, by road, rail, sea and air, involved both worldly and exotic destinations. This article focuses on the Atlantic islands of the Bahamas, Bermuda, Greenland, Iceland, the Canary Islands, and Madeira.
Nassau, in New Providence, offered an immersion into British colonial life with its architecture, beaches, and landmarks such as Fort Charlotte, Fort Fincastle, and the Queens Staircase.
Paradise Island, connected to the causeway, was a crescent of beach-lined hotels, like the ocean-themed Atlantis Bahamas Resort, but a pocket of history, tucked away down a narrow street, was the French Closter, a century-old Augustinian monastery. XIV dismantled and imported. of Europe by William Randolph Hearst.
Freeport, on Grand Bahama, featured its colorful International Bazaar, consisting of some 100 shops and restaurants, and Lucaya Beach.
Bermuda, also a British crown colony, was toured in three areas.
Hamilton, the first, provided a base at the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club for exploration that included its colorful Front Street, the Bermuda Botanical Gardens, and pink sand beaches.
The Royal Naval Dockyard consisted of numerous locations including the Bermuda Tram, Clocktower Center, Bermuda Clayworks, Bermuda Rum Cake Bakery, Dockyard Glassworks, Bermuda Arts Center, Frog and Onion Pub, Craft Market, and Bermuda Maritime. Museum.
And St. George, in the East End of the island, promoted the absorption of the history of the area through its King’s Square, the Church of San Pedro, the National Trust Museum, The Deliverance, a life-size replica of the ship of the 17th century transporting supplies to the Jamestown colony in 1610 and Fort St. Catharine.
As the world’s largest island, situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, Greenland was sparsely populated, rocky, covered with tundra and huge glaciers, and in some cases perpetually covered in snow. There were few air gateways besides Iqaluit in Canada, Reykjavik in Iceland, and Copenhagen in Denmark. The internal air service was provided by rotary-wing aircraft.
Aside from an aborted trip from Reykjavik to Narsarsuaq in the south, which required an immediate return to Iceland due to sub-minimum weather conditions, the almost continent-sized island was visited on two other occasions.
The first, to the Cape Dan settlement in Kulusuk, was accessed by turboprop flight, landing on a gravel runway, and was followed by an escorted tour, conducted only in German, of native everyday life, including the colorful houses, the rocky outcrops on which they were built, the community tent and kayak on the floating crystal blue lake in the center of the community.
The second, Kangerlusuak on the west coast, was reached after a flight from the Canadian territory of Nunavut. The modern Kangerlusuak Hotel, inspired by Scandinavian decor, served as the base from which sightseeing tours to the Russel Glacier, via off-road vehicle, and coverage of the local area were made. Due to the summer season, the thick curtains blocked the light that was perpetual almost 24 hours a day.
Several trips were made to Iceland, whose terrain and topography were otherworldly, with black volcanic lava, hot springs, geysers and waterfalls.
The Loftleidir Hotel, located at Reykjavik Domestic Airport, served as a base for walking tours of downtown, which included Hallgrimskirkya, its basalt-inspired church; Four-wheel drive to the massive Gulfoss waterfall and towering geysers; and flights to Heimaey in the Westman Islands, many of whose structures were built on the lava excreted from the last volcanic eruption.
The islands of the eastern Atlantic:
The trips to the Eastern Atlantic Islands covered two large groups: the Canary Islands and the Madeira Archipelago.
A trip from Santa Cruz to San Cristóbal de La Laguna in Tenerife, the largest of the Spanish Canary Islands off the coast of West Africa, revealed the World Heritage-listed city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, the first example of a unfortified city whose grid served as a direct precursor to settlements in the Americas under Spanish rule during colonial times. It consisted of about 1,470 buildings, of which 627 public and private classifieds dating back to the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th and mid-20th centuries were preserved with a mixture of Mudejar, neoclassical, modernist, rationalist and contemporary architecture. .
Other places of interest included the Municipal Market, the Town Hall, the Currency Exchange, the Captain General’s Mansion, and the San Francisco Sanctuary and Convent.
Garachico, reached after a short drive, provided the opportunity to sightsee at Castillo de San Miguel. Icod de los Vinos, which was reached after another sector of a short path, included El Arbol del Drago, the Convent of San Marcos and La Casa del Drago for the tasting of local wines.
In addition to a tour of the Botanical Garden in Puerto de la Cruz, a virtual buffet lunch featured selections such as Catalan rosé wine, tomatoes stuffed with tuna salad, and Andalusian potato and sausage salad; baked chicken in a wine sauce, roasted potatoes, potato and cauliflower croquettes; seafood paella; cream cakes, puff pastries and assorted ice creams; and coffee at the Hotel Tenerife Playa, overlooking the black sand beach nestled in a cove and its waves crashing:
The center stage of the second group of islands in the eastern Atlantic was Madeira, which offered a unique and quintessential Portuguese experience after a circuit from Funchal, on its south side, through 600-meter-high pine-clad mountains shrouded in mist. , clouds and occasional drizzle. , to Sao Vicente, by its north.
The highlight here was a two-kilometer, 12-minute descent on a wooden “cestinha” sled. The sleds themselves, originally used to transport goods from higher mountain locations to lower villages, were only recently converted to carry passengers with the addition of seats. Navigated by two “carreiros”, who directed and controlled the wicker slide for two passengers provided with a padded seat and a platform for the feet, they were initially pulled forward by two ropes and then alternately crowned in two steps aft, depending on the angle. as they raced down the steep paved streets amid daily car traffic, often crossing busy roads. Its speed was reduced by progressive horizontal orientations of the wooden sheets to induce friction.
The Ribeiro Frio Restaurant, located in the misty high-rise town of the same name and decorated with wooden walls, a beamed ceiling, a bar and a roaring fireplace, offered a post-descent espresso, and something recuperative, in one of the the small round tables with tree branches in front of the fire.
Subsequently, following the winding and hairpin mountain roads, past graduated multi-level farm plots reminiscent of the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia, my coach emerged with views of the pure blue sky and sea during his journey from Ribeiro Frio to Santana.
Quebra Mar restaurant, with its modern circular dining room, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the volcanic mountain setting in Sao Vicente, serves a lunch consisting of “vinho de mesa tinto” or “red table wine. “. from the Ganita wineries; Leaky vegetable cream, crispy battered white fish, French fries and mixed green salad with olive oil; thin slices of veal in a red wine sauce with rice; and fresh fruit topped with vanilla ice cream.
A trip up the ascending roads covered in cloud mist to the pass of the Encumenada de Sao Vicente, overlooking two seas, offered a panoramic viewpoint at Cabo Girao, the second highest cliff in the world with a vertical drop of 580 meters to the sea, and lead to Camara de Lobos, the second city of Madeira.
The time on these two eastern Atlantic islands was short, but encompassing.