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Trip report - Jersey - 26 May 2012

You can read about history and things to know about the lovely island of Jersey by clicking here. Or see a slideshow of photos by clicking here.

But on this page, we will tell you about our trip to Jersey.You can also see trip reports by Yves and by Henri by clicking here

by Nathalie & Heike

Our trip began very early one Saturday morning. So early in fact, that it should be considered a crime. What sane person gets up at four in the morning? However, you have got to admit that it had a good side: never before had every one arrived so early, that the bus could actually leave on time. Not ten minutes after departure, and we all had dozed off again. That is the good thing with long bus rides: the nap. Some three hours later, we were nearing Granville, and Rosemary distributed us the traditional quiz, the questions of which we would answer during the day.
We had to be there one hour early: passports were checked, tickets given, shops investigated by curious children, and bathrooms all but flooded by the majority of the women – all in all, nothing unusual. We then waited a while outside with other passengers before we could board the ship that would take us to Jersey. We were so lucky that the weather was so nice! It was quite nice to stand in the sun and let it warm you like that. Eventually, around 10 Am., we left Granville.
It is safe to say that the highlight of the ship was its little shop. There you could buy all kinds of alcohols, cigarettes, perfumes and such, for a price far lesser than it would normally cost. Needless to say, people were swarming to it during the whole ride. I, however, was not very interested in it. You see, the ship’s movements, enhanced by its great speed and particular built, make it for some people somewhat more difficult to keep their breakfast –hopefully– in. I was sadly one of those, and, if the number of little paper bags that you could see everywhere on the ship is any indication, the rate of seasickness on board must be remarkably high. So instead of shopping, I focused on the very blue horizon – not that I can complain, as I am not much of a whiskey drinker, nor am I a smoker, and perfumes have become quite the common Christmas gift. I was quite glad to get off the ship, when we arrived at the port of St Helier a little more than an hour later.

Séyiz les beinv'nus à Jerri

The first twenty minutes at St Helier were somewhat chaotic. After our passports were again checked, no one really seamed to know where to go or what to do. Most people of our group seemed to agree that it would be safer to just follow Rosemary to the travel agency. And so we did. The short walk up there showed that St Helier is a pretty place. When we were all given maps of the island, we decided to first visit the castle of Mont Orgueil.  The bus that we took to go there drove along the coast, giving us a beautiful view of the Jersey landscape. What was surprising, were all the plants from southern regions that grew there. There were many palm trees, fig trees, and the flowers were in full bloom – flowers that usually do not grow so far north. That and the clear, turquoise sea, gave the impression of being on an island of the South of France. Also, the houses gave the impression that mostly wealthy people live on that particular part of the island.
We reached our destination, to discover the impressive castle towering over the little town Gorey. Right in front of us was the sea. All in all, a nice place. Before we walked up to the castle, we decided to have lunch, something many other people of our group did as well. So after we had had our pick-nick, we went to Mont Orgueil. The walk, although a bit tiring for some, was short, and gave us an incredible view of the coast.
mont orgeuilOur first impression of Mont Orgueil was quite positive. The castle was well preserved, the people warm and welcoming, and the enormous, colourful flowerbeds and the beautiful old cars parked in the courtyard, did nothing if not heighten our already high spirits. We had been warned that we probably would get a bit lost, and it is understandable why: there were many corridors and steep narrow stairs. It was a bit like a maze. It sometimes happened that a different flight of stair bought us to a room we had already seen. One such room was dedicated to witches: there were two elaborate iron sculptures, each depicting witchcraft and devilry in their own way. Another room focused on the English and French monarchy, as showed The Tree of Succession, an iron family tree. Another thing that was interesting was the tent and the woman that was inside. That woman was clad in a medieval dress and explained which herbs and spices were used for what. The man outside the tent was also dressed in medieval clothes, although he showed weapons like spears and such. It really was an interesting place to visit. Sadly we did not have that much time, because there were other things in Jersey to see. We were there for about two hours and there still things we had not seen. But still, we wanted to visit a bit St Helier, and for that we had to leave.

St Helier is a pretty city, or at least, what we saw of the city was pretty, because time was, again, not on our side. During our walk, we took the opportunity to ask some questions about Jersey to people we met, so we could fill out some blanks in our quiz. One man in a coffee shop called “The Republic” helped us lot. It was funny how, while we waited for our drinks, the waitress would come and go and ask her colleague the questions we asked her, because she herself did not have them. Also, you could not possibly miss the distinct feeling that the Queen’s jubilee was approaching: the Union Jack was everywhere! Flags hung down the whole street, but that was not just it. In shops, T-shirts, skirts, hats, tents, all had the Union Jack on them. A picture of the Queen herself could also be seen several times. That can be considered a bit surprising when you consider the fact that Elizabeth II is not, in fact, Queen of Jersey.
We had also been looking for a while for the Grand Hotel, because we had a question about it in our quiz. However, it seemed as though we were looking in the wrong direction. Actually the hotel was in the opposite direction we were going. Seeing as we did not have much time left, we decided to let it drop, and instead go and eat something before returning to the ship. We stopped at a little fish and chips restaurant. The size of their fish always manages to surprise me. You would think that what they serve you is the whole fish!
st helierOn our way back to the ship, we passed an interesting statue: a frog on a column. The frog represents the nickname “crapaud” that the people of Jersey have. On the column was written the Code Le Geyt of 1698 which explicitly states the punishment for criminals. For instance, “for aggravated crimes such as poisoning, assassination, arson, the body remains on the gibbet until it rots.” Interesting! They also had the very charming idea of making pupils witness executions and such.
The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. The trip on the ship was even worse than the first. We were against the wind, and a “storm” was brewing up. We were all glad to be in the bus, as we were all tired from the day.  We got the results to our quiz. The funny thing is, the person who won, got 26 points out of 20. Grading is always kind of tricky, and we all grade very differently. Strange things happen that way.
Just as we had risen early that morning, we only arrived in Franqueville St Pierre around midnight. We had a tiring but nonetheless wonderful day in Jersey. It is a place that would be nice to visit again, this time a bit more thoroughly.   


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