An eccentric trip around the UK

Old Dec 2nd, 2018, 01:23 PM
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Tuesday October 9: Getting to Guernsey

I am not a fan of flying, preferring to travel at ground level. However, it had made perfect sense to fly from Glasgow to Jersey, and I would fly from Guernsey to Exeter after my Channel Islands visit, as the ferries only went as far west as Poole. But although I could have flown between Jersey and Guernsey I booked passage on the Condor ferry instead. On the smaller Condor Rapide.

Arriving, by a rare-for-me taxi, at the ferry terminal I was surprised to see the huge Commodore Clipper instead. Turned out the Rapide had developed a problem. Now I had a problem, as I would have to walk a whole lot further than I expected to board the ferry, and the same distance to disembark. Probably I should have investigated the possibility of a wheelchair, but instead I tackled the walk. Then I walked a similar distance to my hotel in St. Peter's Port as there were no taxis at the terminal. Two years earlier, the distance would not have been a problem. A year earlier I couldn't have made the trip at all. This year the distance proved a mistake, and I had increasing problems with my legs for the rest of the trip, finally giving up on stairs almost entirely.

My hotel, the Best Western Moores, seemed to be a local institution. Certainly the public rooms were a step up from the Premier Inn in St. Helier, but while I had a good sized room with a much nicer view, the Premier Inn had been just as comfortable. After checking in I crossed the street to Christie's Brasserie where I lunched very well on a smoked salmon and local crab sandwich while admiring the sea view.

After lunch I located the T.I. and collected information on buses, and directions to the Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery, perched above the town in Candie Gardens. Once I made it (by bus and foot) up to the gardens I paused to admire the view, and to take note of a large statue of Victor Hugo. After he was exiled from France for declaring that Napoleon III was a traitor, Hugo took refuge on Jersey, and after angering the locals by criticizing Queen Victoria, on Guernsey. He installed himself and his family at 38 Hauteville, and his mistress at 20 Hauteville. If it had not been undergoing renovation his house would have been high on my sightseeing list.

The museum was attached to a charming hexagonal glass tea room (originally a Victorian bandstand), where I enjoyed coffee before tackling the museum. The displays included pots from 3,500 to 2,000 BCE, found in dolmens on both Guernsey and the neighboring small island of Hern. In complete contrast, I admired much more recent delicate glass representations of sea creatures, produced by Bohemian glass makers Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka from the mid 19th to early 20th century.

By the time I made it back to my hotel (on foot) my legs were definitely going on strike, so I ate dinner across the street again at Christies, following Crispy Skinned Salmon with the cheese board and port.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2018, 10:19 AM
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oh dear, Thursdaysd - what a shame that the Fates conspired to give you so much walking.

Despite this, did you enjoy Guernsey?
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Old Dec 3rd, 2018, 12:43 PM
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Seems like you had quite the adventure. Keep us updated on your travels.
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Old Dec 6th, 2018, 09:29 AM
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@ann - I'm glad I visited the Channel Islands, and may go back - I didn't get to the small ones. However, looks to me like a better destination for people who want beach time, or are able to hike.
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Old Dec 7th, 2018, 06:12 AM
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thursdaysd - years ago Bill and I sailed to Guernsey on a sailing holiday and we visited Sark as well, but I don't remember much about either of them TBH. Never been to Jersey though. The local rugby team was playing Jersey away in September but I was still in the US so I couldn't go; not sure how much I'd have seen any way on a rugby trip! Certainly Jersey and Guernsey are popular for family holidays and weekends away, I'm not so sure about Hern, Alderney and Sark, which are quite similar to the Scillies I think, and just as hard to get to!
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Old Dec 7th, 2018, 07:37 AM
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When I was a kid and with my first girl-friend I ended up on Brecqhou (the island fortress of the infamous Barclay Brothers) because her family knew the owners. Recent political shenanigans on Sark mean that I don't read the European.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2018, 09:34 AM
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October 9-12, 2018: Getting Round Guernsey

Guernsey, like, Jersey, has a good bus system. In fact, it's even better, as one route goes round the coast, so I was able to admire the coastline without shelling out for a special coach. Partway round, I met a woman using a more energetic method – she was following the relatively new coast path, on foot. The UK has always had a vast network of walking paths, thanks to the ancient doctrine of “rights of way” (when I moved to the US I was surprised to find how different the situation was here), and a number of long distance routes have been developed, for instance the Hadrian's Wall Path, the Pennine Way and the mammoth 630 mile South West Coast Path running from Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset. Recently the Channel Islands have added coast paths and I had hoped to walk at least part of one, but my legs were just not up to that kind of exercise.

Buses gave access to the interior of the island as well, and I spent an enjoyable morning at Sausmarez Manor – not to be confused with Samares Manor, which I had visited on Jersey. Sausmarez had similarly extensive grounds, with a quite lengthy, winding path through trees and shrubs dotted with sculptures. There was even a stretch of bamboo. I enjoyed the mandatory (no photographs) tour of the house with just half a dozen other people, although in season I am sure it would be much busier. The land had been owned by members of the same family since the 1200s, although the present house was the third, built in Queen Anne style, and was filled with plenty of interesting objects.

The next day I spent a more depressing afternoon, not wholly due to depressing weather. The German Occupation Museum had been developed over fifty years by one man, Richard Heaume, who started collecting spent bullets when he was a schoolboy. I found his considerable collection of war-time artifacts unsettlingly evocative. It was also a longer trek from the bus stop than I expected, although the road led past some attractive cottages and a double aisled church with an unusual spire. The return bus stop was also unusual, being almost buried in beautiful flowers.

My last full day on Guernsey another bus took me to Saumarez Park (also not to be confused with Sausmarez and Samares Manors) and the National Trust of Guernsey Folk and Costume Museum. Again, I had the place pretty much to myself, and found the recreations of a kitchen, a school room and so on well done, although I learned rather more than I needed to know about the tomato-growing business that used to be the mainstay of the island's economy. Back in the park I was pleased to find the rose garden still in full bloom.

As on Jersey, Tennerfest offered several good dining options, but I stayed close to home in deference to my increasingly bad legs. I ate one good meal at Da Nello's, and one surprisingly bad one at the Conservatory restaurant in my hotel. I was even more surprised to get a badly written PM claiming to be from the Conservatory's head chef after posting a two star Tripadvisor review. An email exchange with the hotel established that it was in fact from their Executive Head Chef, and included apologies for the email and a not especially responsive one for the meal.

Last edited by thursdaysd; Dec 22nd, 2018 at 09:39 AM.
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