Travel with me #77 : A walk through downtown Nassau and a visit to the renowned Straw Market!
Dear Steemit friends :
Believe it or not, in my 10 days or so in Bahamas, I only had one opportunity to visit downtown Nassau for an afternoon. Travelling with such a tight schedule with activities and places to visit each day mean prioritising the adventures which I find most appealing. If you've followed my travels thus far, you will know that I'm very fond of Atlantis at Paradise Island and many of my blogs have been focused around the activities found at that resort.
I've also had the opportunity to visit the newly opened Baha Mar resort which is touted to be a rival to Atlantis choosing Cable Beach as it's base of operation. With each of these large resorts bringing in hundreds of thousands of extra visitors each year, they are both extremely important to the tourism industry of Bahamas.
Today, we'll be crossing over to the other side, off Paradise island, away from the ever so luring Atlantis, and away from the ultra luxurious Baha Mar. Let's take a stroll through down town Nassau!
Nassau was actually founded under the name Charles Town in 1670 by British settlers. They built a fort there named after the King of England, Charles II.
During this time, the English and Spanish had frequent wars and just 14 years after it's founding, Charles Town was burned down in a raid by the Spanish.
Between the years of 1684 and 1718, Charles Town was rebuilt and renamed to Nassau in honour of William III from the Dutch House of Orange-Nassau and governed by Nicholas Trott. In 1703, a Spanish and French alliance occupied Nassau but failed to govern the town effectively leading to the island becoming a haven for Pirates.
At one point, Nassau was the home to more than 1000 pirates and was even called the pirate republic.
In 1718, the British regained controlled of the island and appointed Captain Woodes Rogers to be the town governor. He was largely successful in bringing prosperity back to Nassau, spending much of his own wealth in the regeneration of the town.
The town is extremely colourful and reminds me of a settlement style of architecture rather than a full blown city. Both sides of the streets are patchwork with a multitude of bright gaily coloured wooden houses. Many are blue and pink. It feels a lot like a scene from La La Land where everything is Blue and Pink.
I didn't have time to go inside the Museum as it was closed really early on the Sunday afternoon. But, you do get a sense of the pirate influence all around the town.
I think I probably would have liked to be a pirate if I was around in those days. I love their colourful clothing and sense of freedom and adventure. Probably wouldn't want to have the missing leg and eyes though!
At one end of Bay St is Senor Frogs! We've been here before already!
Some more fine examples of bright vivid colours. These were some stalls along Bay Street selling locally produced merchandise and souvenirs.
Other more commercial shops are also open for business in down town Nassau. They use very bubbly colours to attract their customers.
Most of the commercial shops and restaurants are around Bay St. and Woodes Rogers walk.
This is Pompey Square, sometimes they have a market here.
I stumbled across two Royal Bahamian Police Officers. They were really friendly and were happy to have photos taken of them!
Just like Marina Village, none of the houses here are painted the same colour as adjacent buildings.
And there are certainly enough shops to keep shoppers busy!
I think we need some more Steemit representation, wouldn't you agree?
Do you see me?
This is the Sun Clock at Pompey Square. As I mentioned earlier, there is usually an open market here but on Sunday they are taking a rest.
I found this lovely patch of flowers growing on one of the walls beside Pompey Square, they make for a really lovely background!
Especially with how pink and purple the flowers are!
This is the Prince George Plaza which I thought would be quite a busy and bustling place. Quite a few unrecognised businesses here, the only one I recognise is Harley Davidson, others must be local businesses.
It was a very empty street. It seems Sunday is really not the ideal time to go shopping as most stores are closed!
From Bay St. a walk through the Prince George Plaza takes us back to Woodes Rodgers Walk.
This store called Sharkeez is suppose to be the largest gift shop in Bahamas. If that is true, then the gift shops here are not very large at all!
The last stop of the day is the renowned Straw Market. Before Bahamas became a point of interest for vacations, the locals led more subsistence lifestyles and would plait, braid and wave their own baskets and bags which were useful for carrying around fruit, veg and even fish.
Since becoming popular as a holiday destination, the sale of these hand made arts and crafts became a growing industry that pays homage to their humble roots.
Many places sell similar handmade arts and crafts, but the most famous of them is the Straw Market which is right beside Pompey Square!
As you can see, there are many merchants here, each with their own stand and selection of merchandise. Most of the articles on sale here are either hand made by themselves, or are locally produced souvenirs. In either case, each store keeper has their own strategy for selling things.
One of the surprising things I find about Bahamas was that it is most definitely not cheap. Certainly a magnitude above similar places in far east Asia. So, even though it is a market, you will have to haggle to get things at much more reasonable price.
I do like the intense colours of many of the products here. They're extremely eye catching and exude the summer holiday feeling.
This stall specialises in embroidered plaited baskets and bags, just look at the selection on offer!
Check out the video!
Hope you enjoyed my tour of downtown Nassau! I would love to spend more time in downtown Nassau, especially to feel the local culture, understand the way of life, and see more of the history of Nassau. However, I hope you now have a good idea of what to expect! (just don't go on a Sunday like me!)
As always, I appreciate your upvote if you liked my blog, and a follow if you wish to see more. Don't forget to leave a comment to let me know what you think!