|The Grand Jersey Hotel|
We are back from our short break in Jersey. I have to say that the island is wonderful - but the weather wasn't! It didn't stop us from having a good time though - it just stopped us from going on the beach!
We had a nice view of the sea from the balcony though!
We dropped our bags of at the hotel and went off to explore and find lunch! Stopping off in Royal Square we sat outdoors at the Cock and Bottle and watched the pigeons - and a very naughty little boy called Luka trying to kick them! Luckily his mother intervened and made him stop! It all felt very French so we ordered two Croque Monsieur and sat people watching in the sunshine.
|A man making a ship in a bottle - in a bottle!|
We had a walk around town and had a look at the harbour and wandered into the Maritime Museum and Occupation Tapestry was an afternoon well spent! We learnt about the history of shipbuilding on the island and the tapestry told, in twelve panels, one embroidered by each of the twelve parishes of Jersey, the story of the German occupation. During the second world war the island was occupied for five hard years. The were forced to drive on the right, change the clocks to German time and learn German in schools. Worse than that radios were banned and livestock and food were taken for the soldiers. On our way back we walked on the beach very briefly!
On our first night there Nathan took me to a restaurant he had tried before The Candlelight at the Revere Hotel. It was a very short walk from our own hotel and we managed to dodge the showers. N had stayed here previously while working here - he'd had a bar meal before but had seen some people having steaks flambéed on swords at their table and was eager to try that this time. I chose a poussin - also flambéed on an eighteenth century sword!
|They disabled the smoke alarm first!|
The next day we found out more about the occupation and liberation of Jersey. We walked into town and got a bus up to the amazing Jersey War Tunnels inland. It was raining so we thought it best to stay indoors. It was surprising to find out how many tunnels there were underground. The Germans used slave labour, prisoners from Russia, Spain, Portugal and other places to dig out and build this underground hospital. They were treated terribly, starved and worked to death.
|Rules under occupation|
They were only one month from starvation when liberation came in 1945. It was nice to come back out of the cold, dank tunnels into the sunshine. We went up to the café for tea and cake and sat outside optimistically. Sadly though the sky darkened and the rain came down in a storm.
Walking back from the bus station to the hotel we got absolutely drenched. So, we thought we might as well sent the afternoon in the swimming pool. We went into the spa and warmed up by swimming, sitting the Jacuzzi and enjoying the steam room and sauna alternated by tropical rainforest showers.
The Boat House was our choice for the second evening. Nathan was hoping that we could stroll round the bay from St Helier to St Aubin - as it is a beautiful walk - only about 3 miles. Sadly it was bucketing down again - so we had to opt for a taxi.
|At The Boat House|
It was a seafood restaurant - but the starter we shared was a "Greek Slate" with houmous, baba ghanoush, salad, mixed olives and warm flat bread. It was yummy! Then N had a fish mixed grill and I went for "catch of the day". We watched the tide come in as we ate the delicious food. The taxi driver on the way back told us how his father had been imprisoned by the Nazis during the occupation.
He also told us that last week it had been boiling hot, the beaches had been full and everyone got sunburnt! Hmmmm... seems like we chose the wrong week :-)
|Gerald Durrell's Wildlife Park|
Durrell Wildlife Park and had a very interesting and fun day!
|The military making a new gorilla playground|
|Gorilla ignoring its new playground :-)|
When they finished the soldiers all thronged around the enclosure as the gorillas were let out again. I think they were a little disappointed as they completely ignored the whole construction! Eventually one of them sat on one of the platforms - to much applause.
|Eating - bat style!|
I did enjoy seeing the bats - they were awesome! Thy squeak so cutely and were pretty active flying around and hanging upside down to eat and drink.
I loved the bird aviaries too - especially the ones where there were free-flying birds. It's really cool to be able to see how they behave. The flamingos made us laugh as they were so argumentative! They kept grumbling and pecking at each other. All very innocuous but very funny to watch.
We had such a good day! We went into the Gerald Durrell Story - an exhibition about his life and works - including the many books he wrote. N had never read My Family and Other Animals - the book that started it all, so we bought a "50th Anniversary Special Edition" of the book. I am really looking forward to re-reading it too!
|The dodo is the symbol of the Durrell|
|N says "It's just like Hanley on a Saturday night!"|
|Statue of Gerald Durrell and his Ring-Tailed Lemur|
That evening we had reserved a table at the hotel restaurant - as we thought we'd be too tired to go far. Also we were very intrigued as it had an interesting-looking menu.
Richard Allen is the chef of the Michelin starred restaurant the Tassili - named after mountains in the Sahara. It is a tiny restaurant within the hotel - and we decided to give it a try on our last night there.
There were not more than half a dozen tables and we were led to the rabbit table - it had a lovely
The Sommelier came over with the cocktail menu and asked which we'd like for a start. I chose a Bellini and N had a Grand Jersey. They were both made with champagne and we sipped them as we looked at the menu choice. There were so man set meals - and I chose £From the Land" and N went for "Land and Sea" They were both five courses and came with a different wine for each one. It was just like the stuff you see on Masterchef!! We always think it looks a bit crazy - but the food was out-of-this-world! It looked amazing and tasted just lovely. I ate absolutely everything and loved it all. We started with an Amuse Bouche - which was a crispy shell filled with garlic and broccoli cream and sat in a pool of beurre blanc. Yum!
|My beetroot salad with teeny macaroons!|
Then we progressed onto the starters and the Sommelier came to tell us all about the wine we were going to drink with it. We had different ones - since we had different menus. He would say "And now we are going to New Zealand, this grape is late season and grown on the slopes of...." I wish I could remember it all!
|My dessert entitled "Raspberry textures"|
There was a pre-dessert (raspberries and some kind of cream in an elegant glass) then our actual dessert. Over three hours we had the most wonderful food and wines. It looked pretty and tasted divine! We were rather tipsy by the time we finished!
Surprisingly we did manage to get up and just about made it for breakfast on our last day!
We decided to get "Le petit train" round the bay to St Aubin, do a little souvenir shopping, get lunch and then come back and get a bus to the airport. Guess what? Yes! It was raining again so our plans for a romantic walk along the esplanade was again thwarted. The train was fun though - and we got a running commentary as we went along. We learned a bit more about the island and who lives there. Nigel Mansell has a home there and until his death last year Alan Wicker lived there.
They did play music and danced in the rain! We had a walk around the village after that and then went inside The Tenby pub - to keep dry and have lunch. It was nice but after the previous nights food it seemed like a big stodgy meal!
|Goodbye Liberation Square!|
I can't wait to go again!