It's 2015 already, and I'm still behind on posting photos from my holiday last July! But if I don't at least post them on my own website, then they might as well not exist! So, here we go again - these are from Jersey, the largest of the Channel islands, second we visited after Guernsey, and also famous for cows and dairy. Although due to some tricky tax arrangements, Jersey is a massive financial hub and one of the world's leading offshore financial centres. It's also a popular tourist destination from both directions - I imagine it seems quite continental to those from the UK, and quite British to visitors from France!
Jersey is much bigger than Guernsey, big enough to support several medium-sized towns and small villages, although the whole island still takes only an hour or so to cross by car. We spent a bit of time exploring around the tiny, twisting roads, and also visiting several tourist attractions. As on Guernsey, Jersey has a rich history including occupation by Germany for the duration of WWII, and a very interesting museum built into the war tunnels.
Jersey has been a strategic location in the English Channel for over 800 years, and has several interesting fortified castles including Mont Orgueil in the east facing directly towards the Normandy Coast, which started construction in 1212, and was updated several times over the centuries for the changes in styles of warfare such as the development of artillery, and was finally handed over to the public in 1907. There are also many other defensive sites all around the coast, as we also saw on Guersney, either older ones such as Elizabeth Castle at the mouth of the harbour, or newer artillery emplacements built by the Germans in WWII.
Jersey also has an interesting history dating well back into the Palaeolitihic era, since before rising sea levels turned it into an island, with many bronze age and early iron age settlements. We visited some sites such as La Hougue Bie, a large burial mound dating from 3500BC in the Neolithic Era. Quite impressive for some tourists from New Zealand, with earliest history only 700 years old, and European settlements all of 200yrs old... The museum of the history of Jersey also had a nice display of the Grouville Hoard - a collection of over 70,000 Roman and Celtic coins found in 2012 by some guys with metal detectors, and now worth around 10 million pounds!