Hadn't I Had Enough of Castles and Forts Yet??
Trip Start Apr 25, 2012
38Trip End May 12, 2012
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I had a good and comfortable sleep, a pleasant young woman at breakfast and a courteous maid doing my room while I was at breakfast, and a nice shower (especially when I WAS able to turn it off at the end since I feared I would have to request help). So I was mollified out of my irritated state from yesterday. One of the first things on my agenda for today was to get some info from tourist info. Here I found more snarling from a tourist info person. I am beginning to think that Guernsey folks are not that keen on tourists - or at least, not so much as Cornwall. Actually, Londoners were all very pleasant to me. Maybe I have metamorphosed into something/someone intolerable. I don't know.
After getting my info on walks, bicycle rental, buses and some other miscellaneous stuff, I headed toward the fort area (Castle Cornet) on the other side of the harbor
I went to one or two of the 4 museums included and then went back for the 2:15 garden tour. This was conducted by a couple - Sir John and Lady Alice - dressed in period costume - somewhat uncomfortable in the hot weather. He said his wig was much too hot and she had to lift her skirts to walk up the stone steps in the fort/castle. In addition to the garden facts, they told us snippets of the history of the castle/fort. There wasn't really much of the castle part left that was recognizable or reconstructed as a castle. There had been a fire started by lightning that destroyed the governor's living quarters and other parts of the castle and it had never been rebuilt. One of the gardens was begun by a prisoner - a famous general who had been second to Cromwell- Sir John Lambert. When Cromwell was defeated, this man was sentenced to be executed but never was. He did spend 7 years here - where he created this garden - and then was sent to prison somewhere else in England.
We also learned that politics being what they are, at one time the Guernsey people on the island were at war with the English in the fort - kind of offshore on a rock
In any case the buildings were built out of local granite. The Channel Islands are granite like Cornwall and Brittany - and were joined together 8,000 years ago! I never knew that! Archeologists have found traces of neolithic people, Roman artifacts and other things that are indicative of the Channel Islands importance in trade. One other feature of the gardens that the couple did discuss were the medicinal properties of the various plants - lots of mention of herbs counteracting worms. Of the plants growing, they mentioned lavender, mint, lemon balm, sage, bay leave, santolina, orris root from the iris for cleaning teeth, marigolds, rose hips. Hmmm, there were lots more plants than that.
I just heard and saw some people cooking here at the guest house St George's. A man with a plate of food just disappeared through the patio into a back door of the building. He was speaking French. Maybe that is why they don't like me: I am an English-speaking person from the US. I wonder if he is the person who shut the light off on me yesterday?
After the garden tour was over, I went back and finished the castle/fort tour with one more museum: the History of the Castle
I was finished with the fort by 4:30 or so and wanted to have a late lunch/early dinner at a bistro that I saw yesterday with a fixed price 3-course dinner for only 10.95 pounds. I found out today that the taxi driver was very generous: the Guernsey pound is equivalent to the English pound. I got a few more of them out of the ATM machine as well. The bistro special didn't start until 5:15 so I killed time by walking around the harbor and listening to a performer sing old songs like "Red, red, wine" and "Maggie Mae." Earlier today I had heard Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Feeling" and when I finally got into the restaurant, Nat King Cole singing "Fascination." (Sometimes, the memories of songs are so sharp and define a place, but not here I don't think. I still remember listening to Sam Cooke's songs during my bike ride in Holland in 1986.) The meal was good - the starter so-so, but the salmon & grilled veggies were perfect and I had ice cream with hot chocolate sauce. Desserts are quite big here - not that they aren't at home, I guess, but I am usually able to resist them at home.
I got back to St George's to use the wi-fi while it is still light, but I do have a plan if I should need it after dark - my headlamp! Not expecting any significant event to blog about this evening. An early night I hope - catch up on the sleep I missed the night before last.
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