This is part II of a memoir of the time we spent in Jersey, Channel Islands.
This beautiful island is a hop,a skip and a jump from the coast of France in the English Channel.
Read Part I here
Walking is one of the best ways to know a place. Jersey, with its network of 50 miles of green lanes is an ideal place to indulge in this healthy and rewarding activity. Green lanes were introduced in the late eighties and crisscross the rural areas of the Island and walkers, cyclists and horse riders have priority. Walking on main roads is possible, but I found it somewhat daunting when there was no pavement and had to walk directly on the road, looking out for traffic.
Sometimes the bends were quite sharp or there was a garden wall that obstructed the view making crossing the street an ordeal. I loved going for long walks taking in the atmosphere, listening to the birds, watching Jersey cows graze lazily, and breathing in the scent of ripe apples in autumn and of flowers in the spring.
Cliff walks deserve a special mention. I bought a handy little guide book called “Jersey Jaunts” and would plan a different walk along the cliffs every weekend. The paths were clearly marked and well maintained. It was a treat to feel the gentle sea breeze, watch the shimmering sea, and breathe the clean air whilst taking a bracing walk. We had a fairly set routine: we would choose a route, look it up on the map, drive to the starting point, park the car, walk and take lots of photos, find a place to eat and walk back to the car or occasionally take the bus back to the car.
I especially enjoyed whichever walk ended in Greve de Lecq, a tiny bay in the north side of the island which has the best beach cafe I have ever been to. The food is scrumptious, their fry-ups are to die for and their chocolate fudge cake is unrivalled. Since we had to trek back, it was a guilt-free feast.
There are a lot of different guided walks to choose from in Jersey. I decided to join one around St. Aubin, one of my favourite villages. The guide was knowledgeable and clearly loved his island; he was a true “Jersey bean”, as islanders are called. Unfortunately, he considered himself a funny guy. Most of his jokes fell flat and people would smile politely, secretly wishing he would give over. He made a jocular remark I found particularly distasteful when he was showing us a traditional Jersey farmhouse, which happened to be up for sale. I asked how much a property like this cost in Jersey because I had no idea about real estate values and was curious.
The guide said “It’s listed for about four million pounds. Look, Ana, our prison is full. Are you smuggling drugs?” I was aghast! I was thankful that no one laughed at that pitiful joke. A couple of people even looked away in embarrassment. I heard a nervous laugh. I was dumbstruck. Was he actually accusing me of dealing drugs so that I could afford such a house? Was he voicing his own prejudice against South Americans? Or was he just trying to be funny? He must have realised he blundered big time because he later apologised.
Anyway, this did not put me off the place and would come back to Jersey in a heartbeat.