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Old 03-25-2012, 11:16 PM   #21
mikayla73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beansprout View Post
Wow DC, I hate to use the word "enjoyed" your TR. More like " I would love to take a trip like yours!".
Ditto!

Looking forward to hearing/seeing more!
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:46 AM   #22
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Thanks so much for posting, MOs love other trip reports! And this one is very inspiring for me, as I am going to Normandy in mid-May. Have been to France several times, but not yet to Normandy. Will also visit Mont St. Michele. Have an extra day or so, and was considering the islands. It is either that or the chateauxs. So I look forward to seeing your island photos, you will help me decide where to go. And what a great reason you have for the trip. Can't wait to read about that part.
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Old 03-26-2012, 09:34 AM   #23
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Your pictures are gorgeous. I can't wait to show my boys. It's hard to explain that their grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought in war. But as they get older pictures like this make it come to life.

I am so excited to one day go to France. French is our second language and I've always wanted to practice where it all began. The islands you speak of sound very interesting. Can't wait to see more pics!
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Old 03-26-2012, 09:36 AM   #24
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UPDATE #1
Condor Ferries was our ride for the next leg of the trip. Had 2 seats on the fast ferry to get from St Malo to St Peter Port, Guernsey with a brief stop in St Helier, Jersey on the way. The ferry cruises at about 40mph for a transit time of about 2 hours. Not wanting to take a French rental car to a wrong-side-of-the-road island, we parked it at the ferry terminal.

Our ride to the Islands:


Thanks! Glad to be here!


Upon arrival, we met with some distant relatives, had a bit to eat, and then had an opportunity to explore the island. We took in St Peter Port, a fantastic little harbor town on the island of ~65k people. As a ďget acquainted tourĒ, we took the #7 bus clear around the island to get the quick overview. That ride took all of 45 minutes. Did I mention this is a small island? Only about 30 square miles. Do the math and figure out some landmarks near you that would be 10 miles from end to end and 3 miles wide. Yup, itís that small.

St Peter Port from our Ferry on the way in


No, they didnít build tall buildings behind short buildings in order to create a picturesque landscape. St Peter Port is HILLY! This wasnít even the steepest road.


And some of the roads are narrow


Need some reference? Hereís DW in the same spot


I was glad we left the rental car in France. The UK term for rental cars is Hire Cars. In Guernsey, they put a big ďHĒ on the bumper to signify such. Our guide one day told us the locals refer to them as Horror Cars. LOL

In the afternoon, we did some exploring and saw a couple of the the old military-related sites. We didnít expect this to be a WWII trip, but with the trip to Normandy, and that the Channel Islands were occupied during the war, it was somewhat inevitable. Evidence of German occupation was apparent in some of the fortifications, as well as the tunnels that they build (or had slave labor build).



This is essentially how the Germans took over. They announced near the end of June, 1940 that they would be invading. A lot of people left for mainland UK via boat, but many stayed. The Allies determined that, given the proximity to occupied France, there was little hope of defending the islands, so they were peacefully given up.
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Old 03-26-2012, 09:37 AM   #25
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After the tunnels we hiked up to Clarence Battery that was a strategic military site in days past, overlooking Castle Cornet and the harbor, providing defense to the Southeast side of the island.


Looking along the Southeast coast from Clarence Battery


Looking down from Clarence Battery toward Castle Cornet. Those are public pools in the foreground. Tidal pools. So apparently they fill with water when the tide is in and you can swim there when the tide is out. Yes, they have beaches on the island. Yes, I remain confused at the concept of an island building a pool on the shore to fill with seawater. I suppose they needed a reason to draw people to the ice cream stand thatís right next to them.


Which reminds me, I forgot to mention the tides in the Channel Islands. They average something over 20 feet from high to low tide. You might want to plan ahead for that boat ride (or pay more for a slip in the portion of the harbor where there is actually water at low tide)


More shots in and around St Peter Port






One of the highlights of my trip came that evening. For years, Iíve had this photo of my Great Grandfather. It was taken in 1911, the year before he came to the US. He was employed as a chauffeur on Guernsey (the photo incorrectly says ďEnglandĒ). I donít imagine they had too many vehicles back then. After I connected with some distant relatives on Guernsey, I found out precisely where on the island the photo was taken. The Boer War memorial on the right was the key to identifying the spot.

Naturally, it wasnít at the bottom of the hill, so we hiked up. I got chills when I stepped onto that road, being so familiar with that spot, yet never having been there.

1911


100 Years Later

It was a little more busy than when Great Grandpa had his picture taken. I was dodging traffic, trying to get the shot from the right spot. The old trees were removed in the 60s and replanted.
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Old 03-26-2012, 09:38 AM   #26
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The following day we took a ferry to Sark, birthplace of my Great Great Grandfather in 1845, and 300 years of ancestors before him. Sark is different. Itís just over 2 square miles in area, about 1 mile wide, and 3 miles long. Home to ~600 people, itís devoid of cars (though tractors are common) and transportation is by foot, bicycle, carriage, or the aforementioned tractors which serve duty as hotel shuttles. For those who have been to Macinac Island, itís a little like that except without the fudge shops.  Sark is a plateau with the majority of the shoreline being rocky cliffs. We spent the day walking, then biking around the island. We only planned a day trip, but I could easily have spent another day or two there.

It was a cold, rainy day when we boarded the ferry, and it didnít improve much until after lunch.
Walking up from the main harbor to town. We could have ridden up to town on one of the tractor-pulled wagons, but decided to hoof it and get a better view of the island. Glad we did.


We walked straight across the island (a whole mile), passing the old windmill (the blades long since removed) and a ~500 year old house (my family crest is on it somewhere).






The view from atop the plateau on the West coast. Liking the view, we walked down to the natural harbor along the rocky shoreline. Nice of them to put stairs in for us to walk down. Wish theyíd put in an escalator for the walk back up though.




Wish it was sunny. I could have taken in that view for a long while. Beautiful scenery, but didnít quite look like the most welcoming of locations, and I donít think Iíd want to be down there in a boat during a storm.




Decided against leaning against the railing once we made it down to the water
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Old 03-26-2012, 09:39 AM   #27
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If you see a picture of Sark, it probably is a shot of le Coupee, the narrowÖ NARROW isthmus that connects the large and small parts of the island. A very steep drop of around 250 feet leads to what looks to be a beautiful beach. The pathway down was closed due to rockslides  You have to walk your bikes across, and after walking it, I donít think Iíd want to take a chance riding across.

Leading up to le Coupee


Le Coupee. The railings were added after WWII by German POWís working under the guidance of the British Royal Engineers. Before that, kids would have to crawl across on their hands and knees, especially on windy days.


Thatís a long way down.


But the viewÖ


And the beach
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Old 03-26-2012, 09:40 AM   #28
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Once across le Coupee, we ventured along the South and East coasts of Little Sark. By this time sun was out and it was a bit warmer.






Heading back across le Coupee


The church on Sark, circa 1720. I was surprised and impressed to see that one of the stained windows was dedicated in the memory of my Greatx6 Grandfather.


Back at the harbor waiting for the boat. Thought Iíd get a good shot of the hotel shuttles. Your luggage rides in the bucket on the back of the first tractor (Iím sure they hosed it out after hauling manure) and you ride in the wagon behind the second.




Whew.... that's it for now!
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:37 PM   #29
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Really enjoying the TR. Thanks!
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Old 03-26-2012, 04:50 PM   #30
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Absolutely amazing pictures, thanks so much once again. Incredible that you were able to stand on the exact same land as your ancestors.
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