I had always wanted to visit the island since reading Gerard Durrell’s ‘My family and other Animals’ and other books that he had written.
He established the zoo on Jersey with his wife back in 1959 as a wildlife conservation area for endangered species.

It was an expensive ferry trip – over Euros200 for the 1 1/2hour trip on the smart Condor Ferry.

We had to have a special permit in advance to be able to drive on Jersey. Some large campervans are prohibited from even coming to the island as most of the streets and laneways are very narrow and there is a lot of backing up to allow cars and small vans to pass.
I thought Ireland had narrow lanes but these were narrow with stone walls on at least one side so all the vehicles were being very cautious. Although Jersey is a very small island and you can drive around it in and hour and a half however traffic holdups are frequent because of the nature of the roads.

Rozel Campsite came highly recommended and we were not disappointed. Unusually the only birds we heard were seagulls and doves unlike most of the other campsites at which we had stayed. In southern and middle France we heard many owls at night and some very close to the van and it was lovely to hear them calling to each other.

We left the van at the campsite and walked to the zoo about half an hour away. We were lucky to have a nice day after the previous day’s rain on the way over.
We enjoyed seeing the various animals at the zoo especially the gorillas and we listened to an interesting talk by the their keeper.
He explained that the gorillas of which there are four kinds are in danger because their habitat in the wild is being destroyed by mining metals used in mobile phones,tablets and computers. He asked that instead of keeping old devices people should recycle them
so that the metals needed for new products can be used from the old models.
We were also lucky to see the otters who had just been fed. They were so quick to dart underwater and retrieve the fish thrown for their lunch.
Along some of the roads there were signs and a thick blue rope strung high up to alert motorists to the path of the red squirrels who live on Jersey.
The buses were not large but they had to do a lot of manoevering around the roads and traffic. We were told that by nature the natives were stocky and short and this was reflected in the seats on one side of the bus which was like sitting in a sardine tin.

We saw many Jersey cows in the rural areas or parishes as they call them. Each parish or small village has a church and church hall and many of the houses were built using the pretty Jersey or Guernsey granite. All the villages were very neat and lush hydrangeas were planted along some of the roads and avenues. Jersey has a micro climate in places and we saw many tropical and sub-tropical plants such as banana trees and ferns growing in different areas. There was much rural land especially along the north and east coasts.
Jersey has started cross breeding the Jersey cow as they experienced some genetic problems a few years ago.

We caught the bus into the harbourside capital of St Helier which is a pleasant city with a wealth of eateries and shops.
Although the weather was not kind to us the following day we did the 4hour bus tour around the island and learnt a lot from the driver who was very knowledgeable about Jersey although not originally a local. Jerriais the local language is spoken by about 2000 people mainly in the north east and is taught at various levels in schools. It is classed as a kind of ‘Norman French language’. We did not hear it spoken while we were on the island.
It is an affluent island for many with 25% of businesses in the financial arena but there are also those in public housing who are not doing so well.

Jersey was occupied by Germany for five years during WWII and many bunkers and towers that were built to last are dotted around the whole island. The most popular tour was a tour of the war tunnels which we did not do.
There were many tourists in town, a large percentage were German. Many of the workers in the cafes and restaurants were eastern European.
As we drove around the island many of the bays were at low tide. Jersey has the third highest tide in the world around 40feet.

Although small, Jersey was a very interesting island with very friendly locals and with plenty to offer the visitor. The port was serviced with a newsagent and kiosk at least which was missing in St Malo. It does make a difference when you have to wait on the dock for a couple of hours if you arrive early.

I had luckily checked on our bookings and discovered that I had failed to book us off the island. We were going to travel Jersey to Poole a few days later but we had to make alterative plans as the ferry was full. More driving for Maurice unfortunately as we then had to travel from Jersey back to St Malo, drive up to Cherbourg and get the ferry for the 3hour trip to Portsmouth and then drive to an alternative campsite.
At least we could get off the island and resume our itinerary three days later although we had to be at the ferry port by 7.30am instead of a much later ferry. Part of the adventure!

I had not read a paper for many moons so bought the Times at the port which had some good articles but one on the front page was warning people in Cambridgeshire that they needed to carry 2 bags for their doggie do do’s or face an 80pound fine!

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