Guernsey

Guernsey

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  • Day105

    Day 38 - Sep 27. When I prepared the itinerary for this trip over a year ago, there was one place that I was really intrigued by and I had been looking forward to seeing since the ride began 5 weeks ago.

    The tiny feudal island of Sark is part of the bailiwick of Guernsey and it is situated about 1 hour by ferry from St Peter Port. The entire population of the island is under 500 and the way of life here has remained largely unchanged for decades. One of the unique features of life on Sark is that cars and buses (along with most other motorised devices) are banned. The only vehicles you find on the narrow roads are horse drawn carts and tractors. Even the local policeman uses a tractor for his transport. This feature helps makes it a magical place to ride a bike.

    After the somewhat choppy ferry ride across to the island we walked up the steep walking path to the only settlement on the island (known as "The Village"). We had arranged to collect some rental bikes from a local business but we were very apprehensive as to what sort of bikes they would have waiting for us. I thought that we would probably end up with an eclectic mix of penny farthings, tricycles, velocipedes and horse drawn walking frames. The actual bikes turned out to be slightly better than this, but only slightly.

    Our riders spent some time trying to come to grips with the rusty bikes that looked like they probably dated back to the time of the German occupation. After trying to adjust seats, etc we finally just thought "what the heck" and wobbled off down the dirt road, accompanied by a cacophony of rattles, creaks, groans and numerous other noises (some of which were coming from the bikes). It was impossible not to laugh. This will certainly be a day we will remember for a long, long time.

    The next few hours were spent exploring Sark and the even smaller island of Little Sark. The rough rocky coastline is certainly spectacular and the so called "WIndow in the Rock" could have easily ushered the way to a premature death if we had taken just one more step.
    The temperamental weather that these islands is famous for was kind to us for most of the day, and only started to crack up when we returned to the wharf to catch the ferry back to Guernsey. This made for a very choppy voyage, but I did manage to catch sight of a couple of dolphins frolicking in the wake of the boat.

    We arrived safely back at St Peter Port around 6 pm and headed back to our hotel for another hearty meal. It had been a marvellous day and certainly a highlight of our trip.
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  • Day105

    Day 40 - St Peter Port, Guernsey.

    One of the things that I always like to do in my travels is to take the time to take "mind photos". In the technological age we have never taken so many images, but the sad result is that it is just too easy to press the shutter button and let the camera take the place of using our own senses. While it is great that we have the freedom to take 100s or even 1000s of images, I wonder just how many of these will be remembered and treasured in a few years time ?
    I have made the practise to take time to store a few special "mind images" on every trip. These images cannot be stored by the press of a button, but I try to use all my senses to build a complete image in my mind. This can sometimes take up to 30 minutes while I sit, sometimes with my eyes open and sometimes with them shut. I try to store a record of each tiny sound and sensation, along with the visual image of the place I am in. Using this method I find that I can recall to mind places that I have visited many years ago.

    Our hotel in St Peter Port was originally two stately homes that have been combined and extended to form the Pandora Hotel. Behind the hotel is a series of delightful walled gardens and stone staircases than descend down the hillside. Each successive walled garden is a confusion of colour that reminded me of the famous Monet's Garden in France. The lower levels of these gardens offer beautiful views down to the harbour and out to the nearby islands of Jethu and Herm. It was on the lowest of these levels that I chose to store my latest mind image.

    With the late summer sunshine warming my face and the distant sounds of the seagulls mixing with the gentle murmur of the leaves on the trees it really seemed like the perfect way to remember this amazing adventure. Today marked the final cycling day of our 2017 European rides, although most of the team chose to explore Guernsey on foot, rather than on two wheels. Over the past five weeks we have cycled over a thousand kilometres in Germany, France, Switzerland and the Channel Islands and shared a never ending series of incredible experiences together.

    It already seems such a long time ago that we arrived in Mainz to begin our ride along the Rhine. Tomorrow we will be returning to St Malo on one of the huge Condor ferries and the following day our team will begin to disperse, with some coming back to Australia while others will be continuing their travels in Europe.

    Once again this trip has served to reinforce my opinion that there is simply no better way to explore Europe than by bicycle. Our aim has never been to set huge daily distances or get our names in the Guinness Book of Records. We came to see the real Europe that the mainstream tourists simply never get to see and I think that we have achieved this in spades.

    We will never forget those quiet backroads of France and yesterday's ride on Sark was really something unlike anything else we have ever done. Along the way we have laughed together, we have sometimes cried together (more about that later) and we have often laughed ourselves senseless. I am so glad that I have had the privilege of sharing this ride with such inspiring and supportive friends. I really do love you all.

    As well as the experiences we have shared on two wheels, this trip has also been something of a culinary adventure as well. Since beginning our French ride in Rambouillet about 4 weeks ago we have been able to dine in some amazing restaurants each evening. I think that everyone was staggered at how we were able to include so many fine dining experiences in the limited budget. Some even commented that the dining each evening was as great a challenge as the cycling. We certainly never went hungry.

    In a couple of weeks I will be back in Australia and turning my attention to our next adventure. In just a few months we will be heading off to South America to trek and cycle in some of the most spectacular places on earth. It will be vastly different to Europe, but that is what life should be all about.
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  • Day105

    St Peter Port, Guernsey. Three day's ago we got our first glimpse of Guernsey and I was very interested to hear what people's first impressions were. I think I can now honestly say that we have fallen in love with this little island.

    When we left Jersey our impressions were not so positive. Much of St Helier is dirty and dilapidated, the confusing tangle of one way streets made the city feel claustrophobic and we could not help but feel that its best years were behind it. It seemed that it could not progress beyond its war time years and was happy living in the past.

    St Peter Port, on the other hand, has a much more exciting feel about it. There is a healthy buzz of activity in the city, most of the buildings are in good condition, the streets are clean, we never saw any graffiti anywhere, the people are friendly and the public transport is so very cheap. The slope of the hillsides near the harbour mean that you can get wonderful sea views from most parts of the town. In the competition between Jersey and Guernsey I would declare Guernsey the winner by a country mile. We will all fondly remember you for a long time.
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  • Day9

    Surprise sea day! Although it wan't really a surprise. We don't dock in St Peter Port and the water was to rough for the tender boats to go ashore. They had an idea it would be like this yesterday however. So we knew it might be a sea day instead of a port day. I was suppose to start work at 3pm but since it was a sea day my cabin mate Naz and I got a call at 10am to come into work. Then it was the last day to buy photos before the passengers leave tomorrow (aka photomania) so it was crazy busy. I survived my first photomania on Azura though. Now I'm in bed with very sore feet, not wanting to move and probably will just be going to sleep.Read more

  • Day13

    Wir liegen auf Reede und werden mit Tenderbooten an Land geschippert. Nach dem gestrigen Seetag bei Sonne und 19 Grad heute ähnlich schönes Wetter. Insel war zu Zeiten der Römer bereits ein wichtiger Umschlagplatz und von der Wehrmacht als Sprungbrett nach England gedacht. Heute liegt eine in Engl. geführte Küstenwanderung und Stadtbummel an. Einfach nur geil, ist eine Reise wert! Stadt mit Befestigungsanlage, getrenntes Bad (früher natürlich), herrliche Buchten mit unserem Schiff im Hintergrund, Relaxen am Vormittag, Crédit Suice ...sogar auf diesem EilandRead more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Bailiwick of Guernsey, Guernsey, ጉርነሲ, غيرنزي, Görnsey, о. Гърнзи, গ্রাঞ্জি, Gwernenez, Gurnsi, Guernse nutome, Γκερνσέι, گرنزی, Guernesey, Geansaí, ગ્વેર્નસે, גרנסי, ग्वेर्नसे, ガーンジー, ಗುರ್ನಜೀ, 건지, Guernsis, Gērnsija, Гвернзи, ഗേണ്‍സി, गुएर्नसे, ଗୁଏରନେସି, Wyspa Guernsey, Гернси, Гурнси, கெர்ன்சி, గ్వేర్నసే, เกิร์นซีย์, Kuenisī, Гернсі, GCI, گوئرنسی, 格恩西岛, I-Guernsey

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