This years big summer trip is.....jersey

Discussion in 'Channel Islands' started by jonspadge, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. Jersey for 10 nights in August.

    After last years mega jaunt round France,Germany,Switzerland,Luxembourg and Belgium we decided to take it a bit easier this year. We still wanted to get "abroad" so its a fastcat out of Poole and The Rozel Campsite on the North East coast of the island.

    Very excited, looks lush. Anyone been? Any recommendations on not to be missed sights?

    Jon
     
  2. If you don't do anything else, make sure you visit the German underground hospital - it not only is an amazing feat of engineering, it is also a very emotional experience!!!
     
  3. Bus packed. Ferry sails tomorrow - looks like decent weather for the crossing as well. Can't wait!!
     
  4. Honky

    Honky Administrator

    Have a great trip and take plenty of pics.
     
  5. Happy Hols, look forward to the photo's :)
     
  6. So here is the breakdown of this years main Bus trip. We set off nice and early for the 4 hour drive down to Poole where we were to catch our Fastcat to Jersey. I left mega early as I didn’t fancy the M25 during rush hour in the bus and by 08:30 we were at Winchester where we decided to stop for fuel and breakfast. At this point the bus decided to throw its annual “moment” at me. Last year it was a bulb going, this year – smoke pouring out of both rear vents when we stopped in the car park!!

    Getting out I smelt the smoke and could tell it was oil based and not, thankfully a fire. Also my engine bay fire extinguisher hadn’t got off so knew it wasn’t that. Popping the engine lid I immediately saw that a pipe from the oil breather had disconnected and it was venting the oil vapours into the engine bay. Left it to cool down and after breakfast tightened up the jubilee clip – all good.

    Got to Poole and got on one of these.

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    On arrival we duly got lost in St Hellier but made it to our campsite in the North East by 8pm and set up camp.

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    We were staying at Rozel Bay campsite which was a very pretty and well laid out site with heated pool, a little shop, children’s playground and all that. At night the lighting was very unobtrusive and you could see the milky way while sitting outside the bus. Saw shooting stars on clear evenings. During the day you got a lovely view across the channel to France.

    Next day a sea mist had rolled in but we walked down the hill to the pretty Rozel Bay which is a little fishing village with a tea shop, restaurants and stuff.

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    We went to the little beach, swam in the harbour (very clean) as the tide went out and ate Crab sandwiches from the famous Hungry Man kiosk. It’s been here since the fifties and all the locals go there for their hangover brunches and burgers.

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    Next day was still a little misty so we headed to the Jersey War Tunnels. It’s recommended as one of the top 10 attractions on the island and also LMPD on Late Bay recommended it. Carved out of the rock by slave labour during the occupation it was originally intended as a hospital in case the allies tried to re-take the islands. Its now a museum about the occupation and is very fair to both sides and gives a sense of what it must have been like in Jersey at that time.

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    No pics allowed inside and quite dark so it’s difficult to capture the essence of it. Nice KubelWagen inside though.
    After this we headed to the North coast to a bay called Bonne Nuit to walk some of the North Coast walk. This is a 20 mile plus walk on the cliffs with amazing vistas, heathers and sea birds. Very beautiful.

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    We walked about 3 miles, ate some ice creams and then went back to the campsite. The sun had come out so we hit the pool and barbequed.
    At this point it’s worth noting that by this time I’d spotted a 1976 Green Westie , a late 80’s T25 (the owners of which only live about 10 miles from my house!) and a 1969 prototype which was a South African import and owned by a couple from the south coast. They’d owned it for 6 years but this was their first “foreign” trip in it and they refused to drive it offsite while in Jersey – they went everywhere by public bus which is very feasible on the island. All of these VW’s on the same site! Plus at least 3 hire buses we’d seen on the road. More buses later.

    The next day we headed to Greve du Lecq on the North coast. This really has to be the perfect family beach. Free parking, gentle sloping fine sand with waves for body boarding, lifeguards on duty, amazing rock pools (some 3 foot deep complete with shoals of fish for you to catch in your net), toilets, and a couple of places selling ice creams, food and tea. No rip off prices either. There is also a little stream that drops onto the beach and the kids all dam it up, wait for the water to build up then breach it and boogie board down the wave to the beach break. My boys loved that.

    Spend the day making these:

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    And chilling out

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    The following day dawned bright and sunny again and we decided to head to the East coast to visit Gorey. Our main destination the amazing Mont Orgueil castle. This is a cracker of a castle with views across to France and down to the harbour in Gorey. As the closest part of Jersey to France it had to repel numerous invasion attempts by the French over the centuries. It has some snazzy ramparts and observation towers built on the top by the German forces you can go in. Here’s a selection of pics from that trip.

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    Went into town and took some more pics, had lunch and ice creams then back to base for the pool and more barbequing.

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    The next day was bright and sunny so the beach beckoned again. We decided to head for Plemont beach with its caves, waterfall and wide sands. Problem is it is entirely covered by the sea at high tide. We got there and guess what – high tide. Minimum 2 hour wait before it turned so we decided to go back to Greve du Lecq which was only 10 minutes away in the bus – nothing is far away on Jersey!!!

    Had another great day on the beach then once we had packed up we walked the cliff path above the bay and did a spot of GeoCaching. Found a great cache with a container disguised as a rock and left a good luck token for someone to find.

    On the Thursday we decided to leave the bus onsite and head into the main town of St Hellier. The bus stopped right outside the campsite and only took 15 minutes to get into town. It meant I could have a drink with lunch and not worry about finding a place to park the bus.

    We went to the maritime museum on the sea front. If I could recommend only one museum on Jersey it would be this. It’s an interactive museum with lots of buttons to press and handson experiments. We spend three hours totally engrossed in all things nautical.
    Had a really nice lunch in town then left. And here’s the thing – St Hellier was NOT what we expected at all. Lots of non-descript high rise apartments on the sea front surrounded by a lot of run down buildings for the “not rich” people. I spoke to a lot of locals who really hated what had happened to the sea front and they all collectively agreed the development there was poorly managed and Jersey had missed an opportunity to create a cosmopolitan waterfront area.
    I suppose some people might like it but for us it just seemed a bit of a let down. It didn’t dampen our spirits though!!

    On the Friday we awoke to rain :-(

    We decided to head to the South West of the island on a bit of a road trip and we headed to the South West headland where you can visit a complex of 38 German bunkers. We parked up and took a look around. Apologies for Mrs Jonspadge goofing in this picture!!

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    Just below where we parked was an armoured range finder – never seen one of these before. Originally cut up and dumped over the cliff after the war (along with the guns) the army recovered them in the 90’s and refitted them so you can see what they used to look like. Apparently they used Chinnooks to reseat them all – must have been good to watch.

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    Took an arty shot of the lighthouse and some of Portlet Bay (where my mum and dad honeymooned in 1967)

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    then headed for St Brelades for Lunch.

    After Lunch we visited Corbierre lighthouse and drove up St Ouens bay.

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    Too rainy to go on the sands but we did brew up in a car park. Made the drive back to the campsite a bit hairy as the bus was completely steamed up and I had to drive one handed while wiping the windscreen. We went into Rozel and had a cream tea complete with china cups. Very posh.

    Back on site I met a guy who was hovering around the bus. Turned out he’d been around 6 times to try and catch me but I was always out. He had a 73 panel van onsite which he showed me around. He was local and we had a good old chat about buses in general. Also a 1978 Westie had turned up and was parked across the way from us – practically camping neighbours. They had bought the bus 48 hours before and come to Jersey for a wedding. They had never owned a VW before so I thought that was pretty brave – they said less brave and more reckless!

    On the Saturday it was slightly overcast but that didn’t matter as we had planned to visit the Durrell Wildlife Conservation park (previously Jersey Zoo). Not like any Zoo you’ve ever been to mind. This is all about breeding and releasing to the wild, conservation and protecting endangered species. We saw too many wonderful things here and there is not enough time or space to put up all the pics – highlights though were the Gorillas, Orang-utans, Bat House and my favourite the Otters. These are Asian Otters. Not sure if being Asian makes them mass on the Chinese border like a Mongol hoard but they are cute...

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    Thought the last one was a bit of a poseur. We then went back to the campsite and got ready for a nice meal down in Rozel Bay. We ate at the Navigator looking out over the harbour as the sun set.

    On the Sunday we awoke to sunshine and as it was the last full day of the holiday we decided to go back to our favourite beach. Except we got stopped by the police at the top of the hill where the beach was. The road was closed for a hill climbing event, but they gave us directions to get down via an alternate route which we took.

    As well as spending the day on the beach I walked to the hill climb area and took some pics of the classic cars assembled there. Some of the guys were a bit downbeat as unfortunately one of the bikers had been killed on the climb the day before. The Austin A40 is an ex Goodwood car and had the biggest roll cage you’ve ever seen in it.

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    We returned to the campsite at the end of the day and barbequed (again). My Westie owning neighbour came over and asked to borrow a fuse so I popped over to find his mate deep in the engine bay. The fuse was the least of his problems (turns out he wanted it for the inline fuse to the snail fan) – main problem – no start. I put my meter on his battery and got zip, jumping wasn’t working either so advised him to find a charger. His mate knew what he was doing though – 20 years of owning variants so quite familiar with the old type IV. Fired up once they’d charged the battery.

    Next day we struck camp and then made our way back to St Hellier to pick up the return ferry to the UK. We had a really smooth crossing and hit Poole at around 19:00 to sheeting rain and a setting sun. The bus behaved though and I drove back non-stop getting home around 22:30 that evening.

    Overall we loved Jersey. I would say that the best way of describing it was like Cornwall without the crowds and also elements of France thrown in. All the roads were Rue this and Rue that but everyone speaks English. The campsite had Pain au Chocolat and Croissants every day and it was very warm (except for one day of rain). Totally unspoilt, no litter or graffiti either and because it’s such a small place nowhere is difficult to get to. The national speed limit is 30mph and in most of the little villages it’s 20mph.

    The roads are so narrow though that everyone tends to slow right down when they meet each other – which is a good thing as it seemed that every road was bordered by stone walls, many of which had an inch of ivy or grass covering them so they looked like hedges. My advice – assume every hedge contains a wall!! As a trip for a VW bus owner – perfect – not too much driving once you’ve got to Poole and got off the ferry.

    As a holiday destination for a family? We ran out of days – originally we wanted to walk more of the coastal path, visit Sark, go boogie boarding on St Ouens, cycle the green lanes (a network of lanes across the island where the speed limit is 15mph and bikes and walkers have priority), visit Grouville bay, explore Elizabeth castle... etc. etc. – we just didn’t have the time in 10 days to do it all.

    DEFINITELY going back. Hope you enjoy reading the write up.
     
    nicktuft and VWT2GEL like this.
  7. Great pics and interesting write up!!! ;D
     
  8. Excellent, thanks for sharing. :) Really enjoyed reading this and seeing the pics. We looked at going ourselves two year ago, but the ferry price put us of, and there was something to do with not being able to drive our then T4.

    Seeing/Reading this has just made us want to go more now tho! :thinking:

    However, it may have to wait a couple of year as also like you next years trip is hopefully a Euro Road Trip taking us to Norway! :eek:
     

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