Advantages great shopping, a lot to do
Disadvantages those customs guys
It didn't bode well for a fun holiday and "Have you got any armaments?" as a form of greeting from a pack of surly customs and immigration officials did nothing to persuade us we'd arrived on a paradise isle!Jersey, of course, has a reputation as a playground of the rich, upper-class and famous. And judging by the shiny BMWs; Landrovers and sports cars that were lined up alonside our battered Cavalier on the ferry, that reputation was not misplaced.
As we alighted on the island Jersey Customs and Immigration officers seemed to think all their birthdays and Christmases has come at once! Owing to a recent 'outing' with local joyriders our Cavalier was more battered than usual; I was wearing a Dead Kennedys t-shirt and my partner and I had strange coloured hair - we stuck out like a proverbial sore thumb and the glint in the eyes of the uniformed officers as a dozen of them waved everyone else past was unmistakeable.The question about armaments drew a rather blank look from yours truly; 'have you brought any firearms - like guns?' the officer helpfully continued. When he received a reply in the negative the questioning turned to drugs - and an astonishingly painstaking search of the car ensued. Some two hours later the officers were most disgruntled to have found nothing more incriminating than an old cigarette lighter - but they had the last laugh on the weirdos who had dared to venture to their salubrious island - they gave us completely the wrong directions to our hotel!
That little tale rather says soemthing, I think, about the tone of this island; a territory which demands you have at least 10million in the bank before it'll even consider letting you live there.But that doesn't make it an unsuitable holiday destination for anyone looking for an easy, accessible, relaxing or interesting vacation - far from it.
My reason for wanting to go here was to visit the Jersey Wildlife Trust in Trinity. Founded by dear departed naturalist Gerald Durrell some 50 years ago; this haven for endangered species really is a model of how all zoos could, and certainly should be. I've been there a dozen or so times now and I think it's a must for all wildlife lovers - there are species here, such as the Madagascan aye-aye that can't be seen anywhere else (in fact your chances of spotting one even in Madagascar are pretty remote!).There are numerous species, from the gorgeous and friendly lion-headed tamarinds to the massive gorillas that romp in a huge open compound - all are there because they are in danger of dying out; all are involved in careful captive breeding programmes to try and ensure their survival.
So what else is there in Jersey?SHOPPING
On one trip we 'treated' ourselves to a stay at the
De Vere Grand Hotel. Don't bother. It's overpriced and nothing special. And some of the food is quite, absolutely, atrocious! Other stays have seen us in mid-priced hotels none of which stand out for being especially good or bad. There's not much in the way of bargain-basement accommodation and the few camp sites are quite expensive. The best deals for bargain hunters seem to be the package deals featuring local b&bs.
STUFF TO DO
Jersey is an absolute dream for people who enjoy walking; hiking and beautiuful scenery. If you go out of the main season you will have some remarkable beaches and coves all to yourself.
(Budgie owners - take plastic bags - many beaches are covered with the skeletons of cuttlefish - you could stock up on a lifetime's worth!)
There's also a whole host of historical sites and attractions including the 11th Century church at St. Brelade, Grosnez Castle at St. Ouen and Mont Orgueil Castle, apparently a favourite of Walter Raleigh, at St. Martin
is a very comprehensive resource (albeit written in such dull terms that I'm not convinced they actually want any tourists - did we really want to know all about their electricity stations?)
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