Part 2 - St. Peter Port, Guernsey
Part 2 - St. Peter Port, Guernsey
As a “warm-up” for our excursions to come, we had found ourselves a walking tour in St. Peter Port. The internet offers downloads of different tours of varying length. We had picked a short tour so that we’d be able to manage our time easily and adapt the route as we’d go along.
This left us sufficient time in the morning for a little exercise at the gym followed by a hearty breakfast. During a short walk on deck, the Eclipse was still shrouded in eerie mist.
It cleared up later in the day, but small patches of fog kept gathering before Guernsey.
While enjoying our breakfast at the Ocean View Café, we heard the announcement that tendering was temporarily suspended due to the heavy fog. We were in no rush, so this didn’t bother us at first.
But when we wanted to go ashore after breakfast, a large backlog had built up due to this forced break. The numbers of the tender tickets were called and were at 10 and 11 – ours was number 30. So time went by, as we waited patiently in the lobby and got talking to other passengers. After more than an hour, Hildegard and Helmut gave up and decided to spend the day on board. The other 4 of us persevered and finally managed to board a tender boat around noon.
Braving the cold wind, we sat on the upper deck of the tender and headed towards St. Peter Port, waving to Helmut and Hildegard, who we saw high up at the railing of the sun deck of the Eclipse.
We passed the lighthouse and the massive walls of Cornet Castle, towering protectively on the Castle Rock peninsula next to the port entrance.
Starting at the little port, our tour took us along the shore.
Soon we reached the square of the Weighbridge Clock tower. The Weighbridge tower was part of a weighing station for tomato trucks. During the war, this square was bombed by German aircraft, and 33 people were killed. Next to the tower there is the Liberation Memorial, which was built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Guernsey’s liberation from German occupation.
From here we walked uphill to reach a lookout on top of the hill.
The local pigeons seemed to find this place romantic, too.
Situated on the hill is the Victorian country house “Les Cotils Christian Centre and Hotel”. With its own private park it is right next to Cambridge Park.
The tour took us along some other impressive buildings and finally led us to the Victoria Tower, which was built in 1848 in memory of a surprise visit by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
You get a nice view of this tower from the adjacent Candie Cemetery, which was modelled on the famous cemetery Père Lachaise in Paris.
Next stop on our map was Candie Garden. The large garden was lovingly restored to its original splendour at the end of the 90s and is a rare example of a public Victorian flower garden. In addition to all kinds of plants you can see the original greenhouses dating back to 1792 as well as statues of Queen Victoria and Victor Hugo. The latter lived in Guernsey for many years and wrote some of his famous works here.
Slowly, our tour took us towards Smiths Street, the town’s shopping area. It was marked by old buildings with pretty facades as well as colorful shops.
On a small marketplace near the church we came across the Guernsey donkey statue, based on a local donkey called Matilda. It commemorates one of the national animals of Guernsey, traditionally used as beasts of burden for transport on the steep streets of St Peter Port. Also, a born and bred Guernseyman is generally lovingly referred to as a 'Donkey'.
From here we saw a Café with a terrace overlooking the port. That’s where we went for a short break, and as we enjoyed the beautiful view, Birgit tried one of the local brews.
Last but not least we took a look inside the Town Church at the port.
The first time a church on this site was mentioned in the records was in 1048. In its current form it is known to be in the Guinness Book of Records as the church closest to a pub, with the Albion House adjacent to it.
Meanwhile it was late afternoon. The tide was low, and the walls of the port facilities and the bridges at Castle rock protruded from the water. It was time for us to go back on board.
We weren’t the only ones who wanted to be back on time, and there was quite a queue at the tender entry. But soon we got talking to other passengers and time went by quickly until we boarded our tender and returned to the Eclipse.
Back on board we sat down at Café al Bacio, where Birgit’s parents joined us and we all exchanged our stories of the day. We found a few new delicacies on the menu, which we tried with gusto thanks to our beverage packages.
We were all looking forward to the good food at Blu, where our expectations were met again.
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