A visit to Guernsey of the Channel Islands

Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands or as they are called in French Les Isles Anglo-Normands, in not, according to Wikipedia, part of the U.K. It is a crown dependency and a Bailiwick.

I knew very little about the Channel Islands of Europe, except that they had cows, before I read the novel The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Ever since reading that book several years ago, I have wanted to visit Guernsey. I hadn’t been able to make the trip in our many visits to Normandy before this, so I decided I was going to go this year in June, whether Jim went with me or not. He decided to go, so that made it easier and more fun for me.

It takes about 5 hours to get to Guernsey from here. It would be easier to get to Jersey, but there were a couple reasons I wanted to go to Guernsey. It’s a drive of 1 hr 50 min. to get to St. Malo; the ferry takes about 1 hr 50 mins as well, and then there is the time in between. We arrived in Saint Peter Port about 1:00 pm.  We then picked up a rental car.  That was made more difficult, by the sobbing children surrounding the rental car desk.  There were some 50 inconsolable children making quite a racket.  I was reminded of the evacuation of children from the island in 1940, but this wasn’t an evacuation. I think it was French children going home after an exchange program.  They apparently had enjoyed their time on the island and developed close relationships with host families. Next time we go to Guernsey we won’t rent a car, not because of the children, but because of the roads on Guernsey.

The roads are very narrow and lined by walls or hedges on both sides with no shoulder.  Here is a road we walked on. This one is a bit wider than some of the ones we drove on. You can also see the Guernsey flag in this photo. Most of the roads were two-way, many too narrow for two cars, so one car would have to back up to a wider spot to let the other get by. At other times both cars had to squeeze very close to the walls in order to pass each other. Since they drive on the left, I was riding on the left and the walls going by so close to my left shoulder were really scary. Jim was driving a stick with the shift on the left and driving on the left on these very narrow roads.  For those reasons, on Saturday we took a bus into Saint Peter Port. The busses on Guernsey are great, so that’s what we would do next time. That was probably the only time we have ever had 2 rental cars and ridden a bus.

 

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Guernsey has lots of flowers.  We see lots of flowers here in Normandy, but there were even more on Guernsey. Here is a photo of some large stalks of blue flowers that we saw in many places on the island. I don’t know what these flowers are called.

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And here is a photo of me standing on the west coast of the island.

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This photo was taken from above the town, looking out toward the port.

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For more of my photos of flowers and the Guernsey coastline, see this page.  And here is a second page of photos of Saint Peter Port.

Guernsey is also the home of Martine of the iMake blog and podcast, which was the main reason I wanted to go to Guernsey.

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Martine had graciously invited us to tea at the Old Government House Hotel and tearoom. We sat in the garden, which was lovely. The tea was delicious, as I think you can see from the photo.  There were little sandwiches, scones with Guernsey butter and jam and mini desserts. I’ve been listening to Martine for about a year and hers is one of my favorite podcasts, so I was delighted to get a chance to meet her in person.

Comments

Julie said…
Oh, Ceci, I have wanted to visit Guernsey ever since I read "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society", so you have given me the next best thing. How special that you got to meet Martine, too. Thanks for sharing your adventures!
Cécile said…
Thanks Julie, I'm glad I'm not the only one who wanted to go see Guernsey after reading that book. Actually a coppersmith told us the book had brought more visitors to the island recently, which he thought was a good thing. It was delightful meeting Martine.
LRae said…
Ceci,
I also read the book and have been intrigued with Guernsey! The characters in the book were delightful and main character Juliet described Guernsey so fondly. Thank you so much for sharing your photos.
linda
iMake said…
This is such a nice post Ceci - it was so nice to meet you and I am really pleased you loved Guernsey as much as I do :-)

Martine
annebardot said…
Now I am getting it, why guernsey is referred as heaven by most of visiting tourists. Who says only an expensive travel package is required is order to go to island holiday, I must say Guernsey is the place which wont cost you dearly, its indeed within budget for everyone who wants to explore the sea holidays, you should know what to do in guernsey then u can enjoy it double.
Channel Islands said…
Hey i'm visiting the beautiful Guernsey this month end, i'm so excited!!! hope to visit all the places you have been too :)

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