Thursday, November 1, 2012

An American in the UK - Guernsey

Syrah Evans
(all camera pictures are property of Syrah Evans)

Earlier this year, I decided it was high time for this US citizen to do some more traveling. And why not travel to the UK?  The first in this series was travel to Scotland.  A lovely land and people. But, with only a few weeks to travel and wanting to visit as much as possible, I was off in the opposite direction in and actually just outside of the UK.  In this part two of a series, I went to visit Guernsey Island.
Known as the Bailiwick of Guernsey, this fine island is filled with interesting history, people and places.  Despite a common belief, the Bailiwick of Guernsey is not a part of the UK nor is it a part of the European Union.  However, it is part of the Common Travel Area of the UK making for convenient travel.  English is the common language used but they do have their own language of D'gernĂ©siais.  Nearly lost, their language is becoming more popular and is again taught in the local schools.  Historically, the island of Guernsey and the other Channel Islands are some of the last remnants of the medieval Dukedom of Normandy.
It seems a curious location for an island, just 26 miles from France.

However, it is thought at the end of the last ice age, the sea levels rose and changed Guernsey from being the tip of a French peninsula in the English Channel into an island.  Whatever the cause, nature has created a most wonderful and diverse coastline.

Along the coast of the island are many miles of walking and hiking trails.  Depending upon which part of the island you are on, you might see dramatic cliffs with a sparkling blue sea  or a long, curving beach  or even dramatic rocky shore.  While seemingly remote, you are never far from anything you may need.

The island is not large.  Just 50 square miles in size but what a wonderful place!  The air is fresh, there are farms and greenhouses in many places.  Some farms raise the famed Guernsey cows.
As my visit was in Summer, there were many roadside stands with tomatoes, flowers, all kinds of things for sale, each with a simple collection box for you to place money should you wish to buy. How wonderful and polite a place.  Even the roads have few stop signs.  Instead, the intersection instructs you to "Filter" or take turns and this is precisely what the people of Guernsey do.

Food of all types is available.  Pubs are a delightful place to sample some local fare and, of course, local ale.  The people of Guernsey are welcoming, fun, quite resourceful and they love their island. But others have wanted their island too.  
During the Napoleonic wars, forts and watchtowers were built and positioned such that any approaching enemy could likely be seen by two towers and caught in a crossfire.  During World War II, the Germans occupied Guernsey island building upon some existing structures as well as creating new sites.  Many of these are still present all over the island.
With regular air and ferry service to England, it's easy to go and see this wonderful island.  If it's only the polite but impersonal hubbub of London you seek, this might not be your first choice of destination.  But for those willing to accept Guernsey on its own terms, it's a land filled with history, lovely people and unsurpassed beauty.  I'll be back!

Thank you for reading my real life article traveling to the island of Guernsey, my name is Syrah Evans, reporting for OI Magazine.

1 comment:

  1. Nice style of writing! being a writing freak, I loved your post, I had a fair idea that guernsey is the best place in the word, which is paradise for foodies, travelers and everybody, I was longing to go there for long time but this time I am going there for sure, I was wondering if u can tell me what to do in guernsey when u are with family.