The Jersey Diary, Day 1: From Touch Rugby to Touch Landing
Four months prior to flying out to Jersey, both Barry and I had been anxiously waiting to hear if he had been selected in one of Scotland's squads to play at the 2016 European Touch Rugby Championship in Jersey. After months of intense training, the team would be announced in mid-March, and, as you can imagine, we were both at the edge of our seats to hear the final verdict of the coaches as to who had made the cut. We received the good news of Barry's selection and straight away booked our tickets, arriving to Jersey early in July, along with his parents to cheer on the team (and receive a personal tour of the island!).
Should I Carry On with My Carry-On?
As briefly mentioned in our previous post, we flew out of Aberdeen on a propeller plane. This posed quite a problem, however, as the overhead luggage compartments of this mosquito looking plane were tiny! Although my carry-on is the maximum size allowed, at no point did anyone mention this issue at the check-in counter. Thankfully, the plane was not full and I was able to place my carry-on in an empty row. Go figure, my carry-on had more room than me!
After almost two hours of direct flight from Aberdeen, we arrived to Jersey Airport. We liked the airport for it was small, easy to navigate through, there was no hold up in the baggage claim area and it was quick to the exit the airport. Having lived in Houston, Texas for a great chunk of my life I have had my fair share of maneuvering through George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Compared to it, Jersey Airport was a pleasant fly in and drive off experience. Plus, we were even welcomed by a friendly dinosaur while collecting our luggage!
Getting into town proved to be very easy. As our research proved us right, all modes of transportation were readily available to take once out of the airport. Jersey Airport's webpage 'Getting Here' offered an array of transportation possibilities
(http://www.jerseyairport.com/gettinghere/Pages/default.aspx) but catching a cab trumped over all other options. It was already mid afternoon and we already had things to do, places to see and people to meet. Twenty minutes and £15 later (a fair charge) we made it to our friendly accommodation (Avoca Villa Guest House) where we got situated and within half an hour we were already out the door ready to catch some rays and determined to explore our immediate surroundings. It is moments like this when I know that Barry and I were meant to travel the world together for we have the same take as to when we arrive to a new destination - scope our immediate surroundings right away in order to become familiarized with streets, restaurants, bars, bus stops, etc. We love rolling up our sleeves and becoming one with the locals straight away.
Hit the Ground Running
Due to the fact that our B&B was a 10 minute walk to the center of St. Helier we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon near the waterfront. We strategically began with the Maritime Museum which was soon after followed with a very short walk to the Jersey steam clock named Ariadne, wrapped up with a visit to Liberation
Square featuring the statue of islanders holding a British flag aloft, and finally refueling at Seafish Café.
It was the perfect start to our Jersey séjour. The Maritime Museum offered an excellent introduction to Jersey's maritime past (we consider it essential to get an overall history foundation of wherever we go), with plenty of hands-on exhibits. One of our favorite exhibitions was the award winning Occupation Tapestry which was made by the people of Jersey to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Island’s liberation. The twelve colorful tapestry panels tell the story of life in Jersey during the Second World War. It was powerful and commemorative. Jersey and the Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles that were occupied by Nazi Germany, and as such, was a prized possession of Hitler. Defending the Islands became a priority and the legacy of this has been left on the land and consciousness of the people.
Next, we took a few minutes to check out the Jersey steam clock named Ariadne. This steam powered clock on was built to commemorate the 'Ariadne', one of the first steamships to sail between England and the Channel Islands. The Guinness Book of Records has it listed as the world's largest steam clock, but its steam workings have been replaced with electrical fittings. As Barry pointed out, maybe the clock should have stuck with steam, as when we were there, the clock seemed to have stopped!
We crossed the street and wandered over to Liberation Square, which is now a focal point in St. Helier, where it is normally busy with tourists enjoying a real Jersey ice cream while people watching on a bench. In 1995, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jersey's liberation from Nazi occupation, a sculpture was erected in front of the Pomme d'Or Hotel, the central point for the celebrations when the island was liberated.
We wrapped up our first day in Jersey by having dinner at Seafish Café located within the Liberty Wharf Shopping Centre (located right next to Liberation Square). Overall, we were not disappointed. In our opinion the food was good and beautifully presented yet a bit over priced. The Fish & Chips meal was great and definitely worth the extra price (my father-in-law knows his fish & chips, trust me!), but if you were craving fish, we would suggest going to a true fish restaurant. I had the tuna steak with couscous which was a bit dry and without much of a flavorful punch. Service-wise, the restaurant failed to satisfy my expectations for it took ages to get the bill and another century to actually pay. Although the wait staff tried to appear friendly, they were not truly attentive.
By now the sun had set, our stomachs were content and we were happily tired. It was time to call it a day. Jersey was definitely the place to be.
Join us in our next blog when we continue our Jersey escapade.
Happy reading and safe travels!
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