Falling for Jersey
Set in the English Channel, just off the coast of France lies a small green island bursting with charm, vitality, spirit and a certain joie de vie. Just over 100 square kilometres, Jersey may be smaller than Malta but has a plethora of sights, events and experiences to offer.
When I added Jersey to my itinerary most people said, ‘where?’ I could see the confusion and thoughts stirring as they thought, ‘didn’t she say she was going to the UK and Europe, where does New Jersey come into play?’ And so I would explain again and again, Jersey as in the Channel Islands. Of course I don’t fault them for not knowing about Jersey, if it wasn’t for my readings of Gerald Durrell’s books and my passion to visit his Wildlife Park, I honestly probably wouldn’t know of it either.
It is because of Durrell and his conservation based ‘zoo’, the Durrell Wildlife Park, that I chose to go to Jersey – but there was certainly a surprise in store. I use the term zoo lightly here as the Wildlife Park is far from a zoo, as its main objective is to save species from extinction. So when I reached out to the Durrell Wildlife Park for my upcoming visit and they agreed to sponsor my stay you could only imagine my delight. I mean, this is a ultimate dream come true, not only would I get to visit the park and stay on site, but they were happy to sponsor me!!
Though I could go on and on about my stay at the park and my visit, which I will be doing, you’ll have to stay tuned to Lady of the Zoos for all the goods, details and highlights. But for now, all I’ll say is that it is a must, especially for any animal lover or conservationist at heart, to visit.
Even though my main focus for my stay in Jersey was the Durrell Wildlife Park I am beyond thrilled that I decided to stay a couple of extra days in the capital city of St. Helier. Though to be honest, I could have used a few more. Upon arriving in St. Helier, after a picturesque bus ride from the Wildlife Park, from the north side of the island down to the south coast, I was struck by its crisp sea air, colourful buildings and the smiles on everyone’s faces.
After taking a wrong turn on the way to my B&B and ending up in an industrial area a gentlemen sitting in his car for lunch and enjoying the sea view asked if I needed help. After figuring out where I needed to go he said it would be easier and faster if he gave me a lift and asked if I wanted a lift. – Now I must put a disclaimer in here: I do not condone the use of hitchhiking or getting lifts from strangers as a solo female traveler but sometimes you can trust your gut. – and as I’m sure you’ll surmise from reading this, it went well, no Taken 4 needed.
But that is only a glimpse of the friendly, kind and helpful people you’ll encounter in Jersey. Even the tourists were pleasant, well except for that group of crazed and pushy French school kids. That being said don’t expect everyone to speak English, being just off the coast of Normandy there are a lot of French on the island – though they will still try and help and guide you.
One thing that really struck me was the tides. During my arrival in the morning to St. Helier the harbour and marinas were full of dark blue water with boats swaying in the current, but on my return to my B&B that night I had to do a double take as the boats were stuck in the mud and in place of beautiful blue waters was a landscape of sand, shells and rocks. But again in the morning as I sat with my breakfast and coffee looking out over Havre des Pas there again was my sea view. On my last day I finally made the trek out into the harbour over the sea bed and to some amazing and huge rock formations which left me with a view of Havre des Pas (see photo above).
Because I was only staying a couple of days I wanted to try and make the most of the visit and decided on an all day tour of the island. More on my experience with the tour I chose later, but I will say choose your tours wisely! The tour I chose took us around the coast of the island where many of Jersey’s main sights are. It wasn’t the sights of castles, ruins, and lighthouses that stood out to me though, it was the sheer awe and beauty of the natural landscape and varying scenes along the coast. From steep cliffs to pretty beaches and dense forests with hidden treasures to views that leave you breathless, a drive along Jersey’s coast is a must!
One thing is for sure, always be open to being surprised by a place! I really had no expectations for Jersey but I quickly fell in love with its charm, it’s people and its stunning beauty. I look forward to exploring it again someday soon.