Weekend in Guernsey

So this year marks our 6th year wedding anniversary and its actually on the Saturday so we decided to get a cheap flight somewhere from Southampton and Guernsey came top of the list. We've been together once before on a cruise but didn't get that much time to spend exploring and to be honest all I remember was spending a long time shopping in Sports Direct (I have no idea why).

Only downside to the morning was the very early flight (I'm not a morning person) so when the alarm went off at 5.30am I was awoken from a very deep sleep. Luckily its only a 15 min drive at most to the airport and with hand luggage only we didn't need to be there too far in advance.

The flight was probably the shortest flight I've been on at just 30 mins so we were in Guernsey sat in the hire car by 8.15am

First impressions were not that great, given we've had beautiful weather the past month I didn't really bother packing any cooler weather clothes and the sky looked really grey and it had been raining. Luckily for us this was only temporary and soon the sun was out in full force.

We didn't really have any plans for the weekend and as all the shops would still be closed at this time we decided just to look at the map and take a drive.

A place called Lihou Island wasn't too far away so off we headed.

We were the only people around when we arrived and we took a pleasant walk on the beach where Al attempted to show me how to skim stones across the water. There were some disasterous attempts but I did manage it once.

The island is only accessible during low tide and today it turns out the tide never gets low enough so we wouldn't be able to go across.

Our next stop was to Fort Hammett, a victorian fortification built to defend against the French and added to in 1942 by the occupying Nazi forces. We didn't get to go inside as it wasn't open until later in the day but we did walk around and even managed a few burpees for our challenge.

We continued our drive clockwise around to the top of the island taking in the beautiful views and beaches before heading in mainland to a candle shop where we'd seen in the tourist guide that you could make your own candle.

We thought this would be a fun thing to do and we were shown the process of creating layers of colour on our candle before we would then carve it.

It was surprisingly fun and a nice momento of our day here.

We were slightly disappointed by the advertised attached shop which claimed to be full of items for crazy cat people. I think there was a shelf with a few cat photo frames and ornaments. They clearly don't know a crazy cat lady when they see one. We did however manage to buy an ornament for our xmas tree in the tradition of finding something to hang on the tree from all our travels.

Our next stop was to the capital, St Peter Port.
We managed to park up fairly far away which did mean we had a walk into the centre and happened to stop past Hotel Chocolat where we tried some of the key lime pie chocolates before lunch.

While trying to find somewhere to park, we'd accidentally tried to go up a closed road. Looking for somewhere to get lunch we ended up back over in the same area, turns out that there was a Hill Climbing event going on. A whole load of suped up and handmade (I assume, they looked pretty raw) cars. Exposed v8s with headers and straight exhausts, foot wide slick tires, ground effects, giant wings and a very strong smell of petrol.

We sat by the start line for a bit as car after car spun its tires to warm them up, rolled up to the start line then squealed and roared off up the hill. It's incredible the acceleration these cars can manage, especially up a hill. And you appreciate it even more when you try driving your crappy hire car fiesta up there the next day.

The racing that we saw was mostly uneventful except at one point a car with yellow flashing lights sped off up the hill, not a competitor. The car that had just gone (styled like a redbull F1 car) had apparently crashed, spun out on a corner. A few minutes later he came back down to the start bumping and scrapping his front spoiler on the ground. One side of the front of the nose was missing where I guess he'd just cut a corner too tight.

Looking it up once we got home the event was Les Val Des Terres which is described as "British Hillclimbing’s equivalent of the Monaco Grand Prix.", awesome.

After watching the race for a while we found a little bar / cafe for a spot of lunch. The Yacht, I ordered a crab and avocado salad which was nice and Al had a chicken maryland. A bizarre speciality burger, chicken breast in breadcrumbs with tomato, lettuce, bacon (all normal so far), banana mayonaise and a sweetcorn fritter.

We headed back to the car after lunch stopping en route by a local art competition where we got to vote for our favourite and also bought a stained glass ornament for the christmas tree.

Back in the car we got directions to Rocquaine Bay where we'd seen advertised a local beach party. It was a pain to get to as they had closed one of the main roads to get to it so we found ourselves going in circles around some extremely tiny roads hoping nothing was coming the other way. Luckily we found a kind local offering his field as a car park for a charity donation so parked up and headed to the beach.

It was pretty good for a free event although it did feel like everyone knew everyone else so was mainly filled with local people. We grabbed a couple of drinks from a pop up bar and headed to the beach. There were loads of events running from wang a welly, wheelbarrow races, sandcastle competitions and tug of war.

We did think about signing up for a couple but the chance to lay down and do some sunbathing whilst this was going on in the background was way more appealing.

We stayed for a couple of hours then went in search of the hotel to check in. We had found a little guesthouse called Auberge du Val. The owner was extremely friendly and the room was nice enough. Hopefully it wasn't the sort of place to get too noisy though as the walls were paper thin.

Whislt getting ready we thought we'd call up and try book somewhere for the evening. We hadn't expected so many places to be fully booked which was a shame but finally we managed to get a place at the fourth restaurant we called and it was still in the top 5 list of seafood restaurants in Guernsey.

We drove back over to St Peter Port and our first stop was to the cocktail bar I'd seen advertised in the tourist guide. We were genuinely amazed at the selection of drinks, it was a proper mixology bar, Laska.

Only problem then was deciding what drinks to have, in the end up I went for something different and had a black forest gateau. Very yummy but I could have finished it in two gulps. Al decided to go off menu and ask the bar staff for a bourbon cocktail recommendation. He ended up having a Sazerac, made with bourbon, absinthe & cognac with a splash of bitters. Apparently it is the oldest known american cocktail, Al loved it, I thought it was just another strong bourbon cocktail and did not like.

I of course could not have left the bar without trying a mojito. They did a vanilla version which to be honest was a little disappointing as it tasted too watery. Al tried the non alcoholic apple mojito which was surprisingly tasty (of course perfect with rum).

We told the bar staff we'd be back after our meal so I could try a couple more.

We walked over to Christies and were seated at a nice table for two and were given a beautiful mini loaf of bread with butter, balsamic oil and pate to nibble at while we decided. It was better than most of the starters we were looking at.

They also served cocktails so it would have been rude not to have a second attempt at having a good mojito that evening.

I'd been really wanting surf and turf (lobster and fillet steak) all day which Al decided he was having so I thought I'd try something different and went for the Sark platter. Yes it was the most expensive thing on the menu but I didn't really appreciate how big it was until it arrived.

To be far the staff did say it was to share as I ordered it and brought me a picture to show me what it looked like (which to be honest wasn't a great picture plus I assumed Al would help).

I'd not gone for a starter either so how bad could it really be.

A few minutes after taking the order things got suspicious when they suggested we move to the next table which was set up for 2 people but was a 4 person table. The starter arrived which was more of the bread and pate which was a crazy amount of pate then along came the mains.

Mine came on a ridiculous platter with a bowl for washing my hands and 2 bowls for the waste like claws and other parts of the shell.

I decided I should take a stock count before starting, 1 very large whole crab complete with all claws, over 1/2 a lobster with the empty lobster shell filled with mini prawns, 48 unshelled prawns some king prawns, a cup filled with smoked salmon and because I didn't like oysters I'd asked for them to be replaced with scallops, 9 of those (which was a seperate meal offer on its own, I had assumed I'd be getting a couple).

Needless to say I did not finish the meal, Al had a couple of the scallops but isn't a huge fan of seafood anyway. This is the second time I've ordered a seafood platter and must remember it should be my last (first time was in Sydney on our honeymoon). I really like seafood but when its coated with a yummy sauce, warm or perhaps cooked in garlic butter. This food was cold and plain as it was taken from out of the sea. Thankfully the scallops were warm and cooked in garlic so they were really yummy and I dipped my lobster in Al's sauce which made it taste so much better.

By the end I was feeling terribly full (possibly the most ful I've ever felt). Al kept encouraging me to carry on for some reason and the staff came out and said they could package it up for me but I never wanted to see another prawn again.

I think I'd done pretty well, I finished the crap, lobster, 5 scallops, 3 king prawns. I tried the smoked salmon but it wasn't that good and I've never really been a fan of those tiny prawns.

Al of course ordered a dessert which he insisted was gorgeous and tried to feed me but even the usual pudding stomach had vanished.

This did mean that our plans to head back to the amazing cocktail bar were long gone, I had a serious case of food sweats and needed to lay down.

So we headed back to the hotel so I could sleep it off and hopefully have recovered by the morning.

Day 2

Breakfast was served between 8-9 the following morning and although I wasn't the least bit hungry I was super thirsty so figured it was worth going for the orange juice. I did try to eat some eggs and bacon but the bacon was smoked which I'm not a fan of and the scrambled eggs were not up to the standard set by Al (he makes the best eggs).

We went back upstairs, got ready for the day and repacked all our belongings.

It was another beautiful day and we'd decided to head over to the smallest island of the Guernsey complex, Herm. There are no vehicles allowed (other than the odd farm vehicle) and even bikes are prohibited.

We bought our tickets for the 20 minute ferry ride and got out some cash while we were waiting as we were told they didn't have cash machines and probably didn't accept cards in some places :-)

The crossing over was nice and smooth and our first stop was to the gift shop. We found out that Herm has its own post office where they frank mail with a special Herm stamp so we posted a couple of postcards despite the fact I'm sure we'll have spoken to the people in question before the cards arrive.

We decided to head straight to shell beach and the walk across was beautiful. The beach was really nice and not too crowded even though a lot of people had the same idea and had come across on the day ferry.

We found a nice spot for sunbathing for a short while which was really refreshing since staying still on a holiday isn't something we do that often and it didn't last that long as we soon found a chap hiring out kayaks.

We hired a two person kayak (so Al could do most of the work) and set off in search of the next beach. It didn't take us that long and I was shatered by the time we got there which Al said had only been 10 minutes (it felt like 30) and we had this thing for 1 hour.
After a bit more paddling around we headed back to shell beach and decided it was time for ice creams to reward all our hard work :-)

After the ice creams it was time for some more sunbathing to dry out before heading back over to the ferry to the main land.

We still had a few hours left but as it was a Sunday all the shops were shut but we found a tea shop on the map as I was finally starting to feel hungry again after last nights meal. The guide had said it opened longer than it did so we weren't able to get more than the cold drinks they had or the cakes they were just putting away which was a shame but they still had a nice selection to choose from.

Next stop was to the reservoir, as there was supposed to be a lovely 3 mile nature walk there. The place was deserted and we didn't meet another person once we'd left the car park.

I did have a bit of a scare at one point when I fell over a tree root and thought I might have sprained my ankle but after a few minutes I could put pressure on it so thankfully no harm done.

Before we headed back to the airport we had time for one more stop. The little chapel was mentioned quite a bit on the tourist maps and was very close to the airport so we took a little detour. So glad we did it was a real gem. The chapel was decorated head to toe in mosaics using tiny bits of broken pottery from around the world.

We also got to see some of the famous Guernsey cows in the neighbouring field.

It was finally time to head home, it felt like we'd had much longer than two days away and I'm sure we'll be back agian now we know how easy it is to get to and how lovely the island is plus there was so much more we didn't get to see and do.

Our only thing left to do was pick up some duty free alcohol and make a tough decision on what to bring back since we were only able to have 1 liter each and there was so much to choose from.