Monday, August 19, 2013

The Island of Guernsey

 Our first stop was the Island of Guernsey, which is in the English Channel, between England and France (one of the Channel Islands).  We found out that it is its own country, though protected by the Queen of England.  They have their own government and their own money.  A lot of the street names are French and there is a big French influence as it used to be part of France, prior to the year 1204.  Victor Hugo was exiled here in the mid 1800's with his family and it was here that he wrote Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  This old church was quite interesting.
I also loved all of the colorful flowers that lined the walkways and window sills of buildings.  This is the town of St. Peter Port, population 17,000 (66,000 for the whole island).  We saw young children getting sailing lessons in cute little sailboats.  I guess that's what you do when you live on an island!
We took a bike tour around part of the island with two guides, Phil and Ryan.  There were about 15 people in our group.  The weather was a little drizzly at first but cleared up and became a beautiful day.
Guernsey was occupied by Germany in WWII, so we were able to see a German bunker and some
other signs of the occupation.  Phil told us that his father was six years old when the Germans were there and he remembers them giving him candy.  His father owned a bakery which the German troops took over by day and his father had to do his baking at night.
Here is a picture of Mike on one of the shopping streets.  I had to post a better picture of him as he did not like the one I posted yesterday :)  Notice the cobblestone streets and sidewalks.
We met some new friends Eileen and John on our bike ride and ended up enjoying many activities with them throughout our trip.
After our bike ride, we ate an outdoor patio lunch and walked up to the Hauteville House, which is where Hugo lived in exile.  We could not go inside the house as we did not have a reservation (the house is owned by the city of Paris) but we were able to walk around the gardens in the back. We then walked out to Castle Cornet which was built in the 13th century to guard the harbor.
Guernsey is famous for the cow named after the region, along with the unique and rich dairy products - known as literally the best in the world.
On board the ship that night we listened to singer Zach Winningham - he was very good!

1 comment:

  1. This is so cool! I didn't even know about this island til you guys went there. I want to sample all the dairy on the island of Guernsey :)