Monday 25 August 2014

Alderney snippets

Alderney island has been on The List to visit pretty much forever. I've got family ties to this beautiful Channel Island, have heard stories about it my whole life, seen pictures from there, heard the local gossip. To the extent that I *thought* I'd know just what to expect, but it in fact I really hadn't a clue. It turns out that Alderney is full surprises. And I love surprises, so I liked it even more. 

I even kinda liked the plane ride...well maybe *survived* would be more of an accurate description - but with views like this, you'd be mad not to like it just a little bit:
The first thing you need to know about Alderney is that it really is very small. It's about 3 miles long, has about 2000 residents - however it's also pretty big in its own ways - it has its own money (but it's sterling still), its own government, blue post boxes:
Yellow phone boxes...
And even its own numberplates. I totally won on spotting the lowest AY numberplate number with this badboy (get me etc etc):

It doesn't really have chain stores, there is still a clothes shop (Shirley's!) on the island that my Grandma opened in the 60s (which is one of my very very fave things). So it has a really lovely local, villagey vibe, a proper high street and some beautiful old houses throughout the island. 

Along with breathtaking countryside, coastlines and wildlife - we did a full circuit of the coastline in one day (with a leisurely lunchstop in the middle):

Oh and don't get me started on the beaches...

Play spot the boy in this one...

However as Alderney was actually occupied during the Second World War this has left an unexpected mark on the island - with bunkers, forts and lots more structures were built pretty much all over during the five years of occupation. It was never invaded, but there is a sad history attached, as many mainly Russian prisoners of war were brought over to the island partly to build these structures. 

Alderney already had lots of existing older forts (its history is thought to date back the Romans) which means this mixture of old architecture and the German additions has been left as a reminder across the island's beautiful landscape. One of the most prominent is called The Odeon by locals as this radio tower so resembles a 30s cinema:

Some of the old forts have been covered up, destroyed or used for other uses over the years, some structures that still remain - have even been lived in:

More surprising/lovely stuff - puffins (this was as close as we got):
 This gate:
Oh gosh the best (and most plentiful) blackberries - everywhere

Beach sunsets barbecues:

These rescue horses (I of course immediately made up long and involved stories about their friendship...):

My cousin's wedding! The *actual* excuse for going there in the first place (thank you Holly for getting me there finally!):
Country teas (locally made cakes - obvs):
Trying my Sea Salts out in the actual sea:
Me and the boy:
Merci Alderney - it was grand!