Monday, May 2, 2016

What's it all about....Jersey? Or Jaunting around Jersey Part 1

Well here I am finally on a misty Monday morning.  It's Bank Holiday here and it's been a very active four days here so am taking the morning "off" or most of it to do a blog post and relax.   I am having a light breakfast in the room - I do have a little French press in here so made some coffee and had a small pastry. 

So...Jersey....I love it.  Then again I have loved it since my first trip in 1988.   So a quick little lesson on Jersey - it is situated in the English channel just 14 miles from the Normandy coast of France.  Just 9 miles long and 5 miles wide it is tiny but still bigger than its two neighbouring islands of Guernsey and Sark. (next time I will base myself in Guernsey) which comprise the Channel Islands.  It was once owned by France and back and forth for a while until the British got it once and for all (YES!) and still retains French names (pronounced in a British way)  and a Gallic air but is definitely British.  Until the Victorian era the main language here was Jerriais, a derivation of Norman French.  Older people still speak it and they are trying to revive the language which would be a good thing.  For now it's definitely English - with a British accent!  The economy here is mainly international finance and tourism.  And you've heard of Jersey cows?  The island is a dependency of the British Crown but is mostly self governing for internal matters but the UK represents it internationally.  It has a trade agreement with the EU but isn't a part of it. 

The Jersey Boys show is coming here but here it's called "The New Jersey Boys". Fair enough. 

I have been busy for the past four days.  The first day I visited the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust - Gerald Durrell was one of my heroes.  Sadly he passed away in 1995.  The second day it rained all day so I visited the Jersey Museum, the Maritime museum and did a bit of shopping.  The last two days have been glorious sunshine so I was on the go all day with my 7.50 all day bus pass clutched in my hand and hopping buses everywhere.  I will cover those days in other posts down the road...I especially want to do the Durrell experience justice. 

So in this post I am going to highlight pictures of the first day of my jaunt around Jersey by bus...

The day did not start well...okay maybe this goes into the "too much information" cateogry but I tell it like it is on this blog.  I got out of bed and stepped on my Lumix battery charger which had fallen out of my suitcase (that's the official story), lost my balance and went careening towards the huge window while grabbing at the curtain and letting out the biggest fart of my life in utter terror.  I am good at that. (someday I will have to tell you about being in Africa in a tent with wild animals outside- now that was a classic) I went back to bed to hide my head in shame as if that didn't wake everyone in the house up then they are pretty deaf.  I finally worked up the courage to get out of bed and found I could not weight bear on my left leg as the pain was excruciating- somehow I had thrown out my knee a bit.  Now this has happened before but it is always terrifying as I keep thinking what if it stays like this?  I kept testing it on and off over the next half hour and finally it was fine and in fact my knee was great all day.  I didn't however get to have my daily shower as the tub here is so high I knew I didn't dare risk trying to clamber over it - a challenge for me at the best of times.

I stopped off at a local sight I had been wanting to see - buses around here run quite frequently. 



The bus had let me off in a parking lot so I stood in the parking lot to wait for the next one - well the bus stopped and the driver let me on but told me three times I was in the wrong place and I told him three times that's where the driver let me off.  Of course this was loudly in front of the busload of people...okay there won't that many but still.... I found out later that day that there is a BUS sign drawn on the road if there isn't a bus stop sign.  Oops...

So as you can imagine I started thinking "well this is going to be a shitty day".  And no it wasn't ..on so many levels...

 First stop was La Corbiere which means "where the crows gather". (didn't see any) It is most well known for its treacherous coast - there have been many shipwrecks here.   The UK's first concrete lighthouse was built here and first lit in 1874.  It is connected to the mainland by a causeway..the tide was in while I was there.  It really is a spectacular sight.




There were only three of us prowling around and just as I was leaving a whole coach load of people showed up so that was great timing.  I got on the number 12 bus to go back to St Helier but everyone else still stood there.  The bus driver told me they were waiting for the number 22 to go on up to L'Etacq...I said is it worth it and he said if you like photography and walking.  Okay..sold so I scurried over and got on the bus. 

It was a lovely bay but I didn't do the hiking bit like everyone else did for obvious reasons.  I ate instead.  Faulkners Fisheries has a very informal BBQ stand there during the summer months so I had scallops with Jersey Royal potatoes and salad....very nice.  I hadn't had much for breakfast so was perfect timing - so many times when I run across a unique place to eat I am not hungry. 


And the view wasn't bad either! 



The buses tend to run every hour so perfect timing to have a look around and grab a bite to eat if needed.   I was soon off again heading back to St Helier (the main town and where all the buses start from) ....this time to St Brelade's Bay. 

Not only is St Brelade's Bay the most popular beach resort on Jersey but it is known for its two churches - St Brelades church and the Fisherman's Chapel.   I was impressed with the cemetery...now I don't intend to be buried but if I did wouldn't this be a grand place to be? 


Then onto the beach....




Then I headed north to Bonne Nuit where the bus had a ten minute stop so I just popped off and took a couple of photos.  The cafe there is supposed to be great but it was a long walk down a hill and then up and thought "nope"...


Bonne Nuit means "Good Night" in French and legend has it that it was named because the exiled King Charles II parting words were "Bonne Nuit belle Jersey" as he sailed from the small harbour.   Although more practically it probably referred to the shelter that the harbour offered to sailors overnight.

The next place the bus visited, Bouley Bay looked more promising so I got off and walked around a tiny bit then headed to the pub for a drink.





The Black Dog pub.  Local legend tells of a black dog with huge teeth and eyes the size of saucers that roamed the north coast.  The tales were probably invented by smugglers to scare away locals from the coast while they landed their brandy and tobacco cargo.   After a refreshing gin and lemonade (what they call 7up here) the bus arrived and I was off again.

An hour later and I was back on the bus to St Helier for one of these...a Jersey ice cream with a dollop of Jersey cream on top.  Insert big smiley face.


 
 
Okay you think I'm done right? Not quite....there was one stop on the way back to the room.  La Rocque point and harbour.  I passed it on the bus quite often and was intrigued so off I got again...by now it was past 7.




These towers are dotted around the island and were built as defense in the 17th and 18th centuries when the French and English were having disagreements.  The Nazis occupied Jersey for five terrible years during the Second World War and they fortified the towers even more. 

Finally..back to Gorey and my little harbour room...ah I didn't tell you about that did I.  See the picture below and I am in one of those houses with a view of the harbour.  Yes it sucks to me doesn't it.

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