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The visitors have flown back across the Atlantic.  It was a wonderful time – at least from my perspective.  I hope they enjoyed too.  My friend has been to Paris before and reads French quite well so she was not my usual visitor.  And there was a 7 year old included.  So I found more playgrounds in Paris than I knew before. AND I finally got to the Jardin d’Acclimatation.  A big name for a kids amusement park that is just three block away in the Bois de Boulougne.

That last one was a big hit.  And I must say I was also impressed.  Besides the amusement rides, we kept coming upon climbing ropes or obstacle courses.  And Poney rides.  And Donkey rides.  We missed the Camel ride.  Tant pis.  Credit to the French – they also had a farm with usual farm animals – sheep, goats, pigs… and camels.  Right next to the farm was the garden.  Fruit trees, vegetables, and a green house for potting.  Let’s always remember where that food comes from.

I skipped the aviary.  No a great fan of birds…  Well, just recall my pigeon stories.

In a trip within a trip we had an excursion to Guernsey and Jersey islands in the English Channel.  We stayed in Saint Malo – yes from All the Light You Cannot See  (I believe the convention to underline books has gone away, but old habits die hard)– and took the ferry to Guernsey and stopped at Jersey on the way back.  Planning this trip was a challenge.  The ferries are fewer these days.  The French company departs from a small town on the west of the point where Cherbourg is.  Very difficult to reach that town without a car.  The ferry company that does leave from St Malo  to serve the islands is easily reached via train.  But if you go to their site and click on English so you can more easily read the details, it appears that they do not sail from St Malo.  Only TO St. Malo.  Finally I changed to French and voila.  Trips out of Saint Malo appeared. Bizarre.  We did it in a day trip.  Left about noon, gained an hour as France is an hour ahead of UK.  They walked to the aquarium and I to Victor Hugo’s house.  The author of Les Miserables lived in Guernsey in exile for 15 years during his dispute with Napoleon III.  I had visited his house in Place des Voges and wanted to see this one.  It did not disappoint.  But seeing it was difficult. I  called and they said there was only one time left and it was 30 minutes before the ferry’s departure.  I decided to take a chance.  When I got there, they were adamant that the tours were full and it was impossible.  Except there was a tour leaving just then – in French.  Eh bien!  I speak French!  Et voila – I was on the tour.  OK. So I didn’t catch everything she said, but I got to see the insides and to see the magnificent view he had.  Worth it.

The trip to Jersey was about an hour, but we left late.  And the town of St. Helier Jersey is a bit further from the port than Saint Peter Port was in Guernsey.  And by the time we finally docked, we only had time to walk double time into the city and turn around to return.  Of course, when we got back to the port, we had to wait an additional hour for the boat.  If we had been daring, we would have gotten dinner in Jersey – unfortunately, I was the one who urged caution, not wanting to miss the last boat back to France.

By the way, the two islands are separate from each other and not an official part of the United Kingdom.  They are known as Bailiwicks, are crown dependencies, and are holdovers from William the Conqueror who owned them as part of his duchy of Normandy before moving to England.  Britain handles their defense and foreign relations.  However, it also has a special relationship with the EU, being treated as part of it.  Who knows what happens with Brexit?  The two Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey are called the Channel Islands.

The islands are remote.  Pretty.  From what I could see, sparsely forested.  Very definitely a flavor of the UK.  Guernsey seemed more inviting to me than Jersey.  Perhaps because the area around the St Helier port is full of new buildings.  Lacks the charm…  Although I didn’t see it as we missed downtown, I have read that Jersey is more the Palm Springs of the Channel Islands.  A big business with duty free stores and high end boutiques.

Glad I got there.

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