Thursday we were tendered outside of St. Peter's Port on the Isle of Guernsey. We got off the ship around 8:30 AM to explore the town on our own. Took tender boats to shore and then walked 20 minutes to the Castle Cornet which had military and maritime museums. Enjoyed a guided tour of the castle from a man who lived here during the German occupation of the island. Made our way back to the ship around 1 PM since we only had a half day in port. Spent the afternoon sitting on the windy deck or in the hot tub. I went for a massage and facial and the Engineer did some afternoon trivia and the comedy show and we met for dinner at the Italian specialty restaurant, Sabatinis, which was delicious! Turned in after dinner to get ready for the next port, Cork, Ireland.
The isle of Guernsey is loyal to the crown but not to England. Essentially this means they follow the rule of the Queen and will respond to her call for aid, but they are not governed by the political entity of England and do not pay taxes. They are very proud of the Queen and the royal family. This connection has existed for over 500 years.
Model of the harbor, with the castle in the left foreground
We spent the morning at
which was originally built shortly after 1066, and has been continuously added in to since then. The Castle is built on an island in the harbor on a strategic position to be outside the cannon range of the town and in an area to protect the sea trade routes between France and England. The castle has only been taken twice - the Hundred Years War and the Nazi occupation. Our tour guide was 8 years old when the Germans took the isle of Guernsey in 1940. The isle had paid money to England for protection but it would have been too costly in lives to free the isle, but they did come in to evacuate the children. Our guide was the only family his mother had left and she could not part with him so he stayed there. He was a fantastic storyteller on both the aspects of living through the occupation and the hardships, as well as bringing to life the siege and battle tactics that would have been used throughout the history of the castle.
We also listened to some audio tours we had downloaded ahead of time from
. We only heard a couple, but they offer many more that cover both attractions and food highlights all over the island. We tried to find a shop that sold local cheese since Guernsey cows are world famous, but we could not find anything in the port area! Saw some ice cream shops but we weren't up for that before lunch. We boarded the tenders and then headed back to the boat. the Engineer opted to ride top side on the tender to enjoy the view and the breeze. I stayed low to help combat the motion sickness caused by the choppy English Channel.
Had lunch in the buffet and then found seats on the pool deck to watch the sail away. Between the cold and the drizzle, most of the other passengers stayed inside so we had plenty of options. the Engineer made a few business calls before we lost signal and I read and then got in the hot tub. I figured if I was already wet it didn't matter that it was raining anyways!
We played afternoon trivia and joined up with another couple to make a team. Got 15/20 correct! I headed off to the spa to get a massage and facial. It was all very lovely and relaxing and I noticed positive changes in my face and muscle tension immediately. They have a changing area where you get into the provided spa robe, and if you come early you can use the steam room and sauna. My appointment lasted about 90 min, and they were a little backed up so I started a few min late. By the time I got done I had to run back to the room to shower and change for dinner. Thurs was formal night and I had planned to get all decked out, but because of the time crunch I had to wear my hair curly and slightly damp and kept the look simple with my black dress. Will plan my time better for the next formal night so that I can get ready properly and we will get some formal portraits taken as well. While I was being pampered, the Engineer did trivia, napping, changed into his tux, and went to the comedy show.
We met up for a drink before our dinner in the Italian specialty restaurant on board. Dinner was fantastic and we will definitely be going back here again. They start you with fresh flatbreads and break sticks, a plate of olives and prosciutto. I started with an artichoke souffle and the Engineer had tomato carpacchio with mozzarella burrata and balsamic reduction. For the entree, I had braised short rib with penne and the Engineer ordered the special of the night, veal saltimbocca. We split a citron tart with chocolate sauce for dessert. Since they cook everything a la minute, instead of pre-prepped like the main dining room, dinner took about an hour and a half but we thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere, the wine, and the view off the stern as the evening light faded.
The ship was really swaying as we ate dinner and throughout the night. We were making our way across the English Channel and the Celtic Sea towards Cork, moving at about 30 knots. I woke in the night with motion sickness and had to take some medicine. Even with the drugs I had dreams that the ship was rolling upside down!
Next port is the town of Cobh, Ireland which is just outside Cork.