Sunday, 13 April 2014

Adventures on Guernsey

We went on a private, guided tour of Guernsey today, part of a wonderful 80th birthday gift for Marnie from her family. It was beautiful, sunny weather. The air was crisp. Our guide, Annette, made our day perfect. She picked us up from our B&B and drove us around the island for three hours, stopping regularly for photo opportunities, visits to cool places, and to tell us so many interesting things about the island's culture and history. Annette has lived here all her life, as has her family. Her mother and uncle were evacuated during the war, but her father and grandparents stayed. Her family history contains so many harrowing and amazing stories, and the mind boggles when you think how many similar experiences occurred on the island in that time.

We saw evidence of fortifications and loop hole towers built hundreds of years ago, all manner of bunkers and other additions by the Germans, Neolithic passage graves dating from 2000-3000 BC, and the strange stones protruding from people's walls that were 'witch's seats' for the flying witches who were rumoured to have plagued the island during the witch trials in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Where the Guernsey spies came ashore

Little Chapel

Neolithic passage grave

St Pierre du Bois Church with sloped aisle

Cobo Bay as seen from Le Guet

Annette's ducks!
We saw many examples of 'hedge-veg' (the little street stalls outside people's homes with excess produce for sale that operate on an honesty basis), the stunning Little Chapel (made from crushed crockery and china and supposedly the smallest chapel in the worlds), wonderful tidal beaches including landscape that inspired Victor Hugo, the tidal Lihou Island with a nature retreat on it, Le Guet  (the watchtower in the forest providing beautiful views of Cobo Bay), ebible wild garlic plant for sandwiches, the reservoir which was created over some old houses to provide water for the island, old abreuveurs (watering places) and cider presses, old churches (always built over water because it brings life and healing, and including the St Pierre du Bois sloped floor up to the altar), Sausmarez Manor (apparently the inspiration for Lord Tobias' place in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society though it wasn't open for tours), the bay and cliffside where two Guernsey spies snuck back onto the island in the dead of night to gather intelligence against the Germans, and even drove past Annette's own house and met her pet ducklings!

Old Quarter

Little Chapel

Neolithic passage grave
It was a very full three-and-a-bit hours, and I would recommend anyone coming to Guernsey to book a tour with Annette. She dropped us back in the old quarter of town and we had some lunch before going to see the Guernsey Tapestry, which I would recommend doing with an audio guide (included with your ticket), in order to get the most out of it. Afterwards, I walked home. Mum and Marnie followed soon after and we collapsed into our beds. It was a wonderful, very exhausting day. Most of our days seem to follow this pattern so far.

No comments:

Post a Comment