Friday, 2 July 2010

My New Favourite Place

My mom's in town!  Wooo hoo!  And, since she's here, I figured it'd be great fun to enjoy some English Traveling.  So, Tuesday (last week) I was thinking about various places we could go and thought, I've never been to the Channel Islands.  So, suggested to mom that we see about going there.  Jumped on the internet, found cheap flights and a hotel, and we took off the next day!  Got in late Wednesday afternoon.

Had a wonderful walk down from the hotel to St Brelade's Bay.  It short, but VERY steep.  Our hotel was up on the ridge.  Then, once we got down to the bay, we discovered a fabulous promenade all the way along the bay, with fantastic restaurants.  We had dinner at the Crab Shack.  Yummy brochette and crab cakes. Yum!

Of course, dinner's not finished until you've had dessert, and what sort of dessert would you go for, when on Jersey, than Jersey Cream Ice Cream?  Yeay!

After our lovely dinner we walked along the beach. The tide was out, and in Jersey that's really saying something!  We walked down to the outcropping of rocks at one end of the bay and had fun climbing around them looking into the tide pools.

In the morning we rented a car (parking on Jersey is challenging.  Actually, the parking isn't so bad, it's the PAYING for the parking that's frustrating) and went out to the "new" Elizabeth Castle.  It was built starting in 1600 to replace the older castle which was not really suitable for gunpowder warfare.  It was cool, but really the walk out (it was low tide) and back was our favourite part.  Well, that and seeing the nesting Oyster Catcher bird and the Oyster Catcher with 3 chicks!  Adorable balls of fluff on legs (with LONG beaks.)


 This is the Oyster Catcher bird.  It looks like she's caged in, but she's not.  It's open on both ends.  It's to give her protection from the tourists taking photos (she's RIGHT text to the path!)

Since the path is only walkable during low tide, and not everyone wants to walk, they have an amphibious vehicle to shuttle tourists back and forth to the Castle.  Mom and I walked both ways, but we had to be sure not to get caught by the tide on the rout back.

After our foray to Elizabeth Castle, we went up to the older Mont Orgueil.  This turned out to be our absolute favourite stop of the whole island!  First of all, it's a "proper" castle.  Meaning, it's a "bows and arrows" castle with towers and a curtain wall and courtyards and what you think of when you hear the word "castle".  We got there rather late in the day, and spent the rest of the afternoon exploring every nook and cranny, every tower and every cellar.  And, it took AGES.  It's an ENORMOUS castle!  And the staff who run it were brilliant.  They told us to make sure we tried every staircase and every door,
 because there were a lot of hidden gems.  We had such a great time finding all the treasures.

It's difficult to tell in this photo, but the knight has Jersey Cows in relief on the front of his breastplate, and also a cow head on the top of the helmet!

This was awesome.  I asked at the front desk and they said yes, it did work, but the proportions must be wrong, because it only throws something about 30 yards.  So, it was a bit sad.  Well, for non-experts, I still say that's pretty good!

We stayed so long that they had to come find us to tell us they were closing up.  We were literally the last visitors to leave the castle!

We were so tired after all our traipsing around castles that we just wanted dinner and bed.  Drove out to the scenic Corbiere Point for dinner and watched the sun set while we ate. Then we went back to the hotel and crashed.  We were that tired!

The beds were not my favourite.  I really struggled to sleep the whole night.  Never the less, managed to get a bit of kip.  Got up in the morning, and Mom discovered she was pretty stiff from all our walking.  She didn't have as much trouble with the beds as I did, but I'm in better shape physically, so she felt the walking more.
 For some reason, this is the summer of Neolithic Passage Tombs, because that was our first stop of the morning.  The tomb was a little different from the ones in Ireland.  This one didn't have a corbelled roof, for example, and you had to walk bent double for 9 meters.  And the biggest difference is in the inner chamber.  In the Irish tombs, there was the inner chamber, with three small "rooms" radiating off, forming a cross (including the passageway itself.)  In the Jersey one, it's still got the 3 rooms, but the middle one, directly opposite the passageway, is much larger, and has an area that could have functioned as a Vestibule-type place from a modern church.  Kind of interesting.

After our visit to the tomb, we drove around, just looking at the country side.  It was really pretty, but the best bit were these CRAZY narrow roads!  Oh so fun.  You know it's going to be a great drive when the wing mirrors on both sides are touching the hedgerows.  *insert evil grin here*

After lunch at the Victoria Pub, we drove around a bit more before heading to the Durrell Trust, which is their zoo.  On Fridays they have late openings.  So we figured we'd go down and see the animals at dusk, when we thought they'd be most active.  Sadly, they weren't all that visible, much less even active!  Never mind.  We did see a few things.  Specifically, we enjoyed the birds.  They have 2 walk through aviaries.  They were way fun.  Saw some brightly coloured birds, and even a chick "sitting in a silly place" (quote from the advisory upon entering the aviary that you shouldn't touch the birds, and that the adults would get out of the way, but the chicks might still be sitting in silly places.)

 We went back to the Crab Shack for dinner on the beach.  Really tough to beat good crab cakes in the ocean breeze and sun shine, with a view of the sea.

Saturday was our last day on the Island.  Our flight didn't leave til late in the day (6.00 pm) so we had the full day to enjoy.  In the morning we toured the Jersey War Tunnels.  The Channel Islands were the only part of Great Britain which was occupied by the Nazis during WWII.  And they were EVERYWHERE.  You can't go to any part of the island where there aren't bunkers and other remnants of the occupation.  The War Tunnels house a museum about life during the occupation.  I didn't realise before that the Channel Islands were occupied from 1940 clear through til 3 days after VE Day!  An entire year after France was liberated!

 We went back to the Victoria Pub for lunch, and then back out to the Corbiere Lighthouse.  The tide is particularly dramatic out there, with a 40 foot difference between high and low tide.  During low tide you can walk out to the lighthouse, but you have to be really careful, because the tide, in addition to being a huge drop/rise, it's also extremely quick to come in.

The point has several examples of the German occupation buildings.  The observation tower

And the bunker.

After enjoying the sea breeze and the sunshine, we decided it was time to head to the airport and get checked in for the flight.  It was sad to leave the island, but I have to admit.... I was looking forward to my own mattress!  We highly enjoyed the trip to Jersey, and seriously, it's on my list of places to visit!


NenaNYC said...

These pictures are beautiful. Makes me want to go there to visit. Can't wait to see your LOs on these photos.

Adele said...

Thanks, Livia :)

Jessie said...

Oh wow Adele! How amazing! It looks so beautiful there, definately going on my travel list!

GLOANN said...

Cannot begin to tell you how very much I enjoyed reading this. Most of the pictures in the post above this one are so much like the scenery in Arkansas here in the USA. But not that last one with the narrow road and the hedgerows on each side!! And the sheep in the roadway. I feel like I've taken a bit of a tour after viewing the pics and reading your comments. Thanks.

Adele said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Gloria :) I love getting to give people a glimpse at other places!