Today is St. Peter Port, Guernsey. It is our last port before we arrive in Amsterdam on Monday. There was a chance that because of the wind and waves, we would not be able to tender. Another ship The Queen Victoria who got there before us could not set out their tenders. Once she left, we were able to get closer to the island because our ship was smaller than the QV, so our tenders were able to make it.
We got up around 7:30 and got some Coffee Bar coffee and a light breakfast in the Lido. We were set to drop anchor at noon but, as I said, the Captain was having to wait on a decision by the other ship and then do a trial run with the tenders before a final decision would be made.
We had a couple of sandwiches close to noon and then walked to the Showroom. We were going on a walking tour of St. Peter Port. I had met others who were going on the tour at the Meet and Greet during the first sea day. We had agreed to meet in the Showroom today. When we got there, I could see no others from the group. We waited a while and then decided to go to the Ocean’s Bar and just get our 4-star tender tickets when they became available.
Once we were there, we heard that HAL had changed the process and were only going to let the HAL-sponsored tours take the first tenders and everyone else would have to wait. Lots of grumbling. I was not one of those people grumbling. Frankly, I had hit a wall. I was actually hoping the waves would be too rough to tender in, and we would have an extra sea day. I was just tired. If I had not made a commitment to the tour organizer to go, I would have just decided to skip it. I thought if the ship maneuvering took too long, I might get an email saying she could not wait on the ship any longer.
No such luck. The rest of the group found their way to the Ocean Bar and convinced the Shore Excursion head to let us get on a tender and go over to the island. However, only half our group made the first tender before it got full, so the other half had to wait for the 2nd tender to fill up. So disorganized.
Guernsey is an island in the English Channel just off the coast of Normandy. On June 30, 1940, during the Second World War, the Channel Islands were occupied by German troops. Before the occupation, 80% of Guernsey children had been evacuated to England to live with relatives or strangers during the war. Some children were never reunited with their families. The occupying German forces deported over 1,000 Guernsey residents to camps in southern Germany. Guernsey was very heavily fortified during World War II, out of all proportion to the island’s strategic value – just because Hitler thought he could take over England from the islands. German defenses and alterations still remain visible around the northern coast of the island. The island was liberated on May 9,1945.
We met our tour guide for the day – Annette Henry. She was born here and her grandparents were part of the German occupation. Her mother and uncle had been 2 of the kids who had to evacuate and came back as teenagers. She had recommended reading the book “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society” before taking the tour. I did and really enjoyed it.
Just as the tour started, it began to rain heavily. Instead of being able to go to some of the outside points of interest that she usually goes to on the tour, we had to go to some inside places and spent most of the time in one of the Churches that had been there during WWII. She told a number of interesting historical stories, and I enjoyed seeing some of the pictures and copies of letters from her relatives.
The rain finally let up and we were able to see a few of the outside sites. Once the tour was over, I got a Guernsey donkey Christmas ornament. The Guernsey donkey is one of the national animals (the Guernsey cow is the other) The traditional explanation for the donkey is the steepness of St Peter Port streets that necessitated beasts of burden for transport, although it is also used in reference to Guernsey people’s stubbornness.
The last tender was not until 9:00 but we were back on the ship by 4:30. We changed clothes, went out to the Sea View Bar but it was too windy for me. Went to the Ocean’s Bar and played trivia again. Still no winner.
Tonight’s dinner was at the Canaletto restaurant. It is the Italian restaurant located on the edge of the Lido. It is a buy-up restaurant like the Pinnacle but not as pricy. However, we have never eaten at one before. But, Chuck received a complimentary dinner for 2 at this restaurant from the Casino host. I thought that was nice of them. He had won a small blackjack tournament earlier in the week – no cash prize but he got a hat, deck of cards, die, and a match play. He will hope to win the big blackjack tournament tomorrow.
We really enjoyed our dinners. I had the special that night- Grilled shrimp and Chuck had the grilled New York strip. We both had gelato for dessert. It was a very good meal.
We went to the variety show tonight. The singer Eve and the magician Romany came back for an encore. We had missed Eve earlier. We enjoyed her part of the show. The magician was again, okay.
Tomorrow is a sea day. We have our disembarkation paperwork and tags, so the luggage has to be packed and outside the room by midnight. The two weeks went by so fast.
St. Peter Port, Guernsey Trivia –
Victor Hugo, having arrived on Halloween 1855, wrote some of his best-known works while in exile in Guernsey, including Les Misérables.