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London to Poole to Jersey

Posted on 2011/07/24 11:34:11 (July 2011).

[Sunday 17th July 2011]
Today was the first day of our holiday in the Channel Islands. We got the train from Waterloo to Poole in the morning, which got us there just before midday. As we had a couple of hours before the ferry went, we had time for lunch at the Poole Arms, which I'd found with my now tried and tested technique of just searching for "oldest pub in X". It dated back to a respectable 1635, and has a rather attractive green tiled exterior.

After lunch we headed to the ferry terminal, where we sat waiting for a while to board the ferry. Looking around we realised we weren't exactly in the typical demographic of foot passengers on ferries to the Channel Islands - we were pretty much the only people in there under 60.

The ferry crossing started off pleasantly enough, but once we got out into the open sea it got rough. Really very rough. It stayed that way for pretty much the entire three and a half hours. When booking the ferry I had rather naively said "oh it'll be like going on a cruise" - it wasn't. We were on the fast ferry so the facilities on board were pretty basic - a fairly naff cafe and shop, and the obligatory duty free shop in with nothing I actually wanted to buy. There's fairly limited outside space but in today's conditions you didn't really want to be outside for long anyway. There were attendants on hand handing out sick bags. Not exactly the glamorous start to our holiday I'd imagined!

I was very glad when we arrived in St. Helier, some time between 5:30 and 6. Although it was actually pretty grey and miserable there too. We had a damp walk from the ferry terminal to our hotel for the first night - the Royal Yacht - where we almost immediately headed for the spa to warm ourselves up a bit. With a combination of saunas and jacuzzis we started to feel a bit more chirpy.

I'd heard (probably from the telly from the likes of Rick Stein or Keith Floyd) that there was a large Portuguese community on Jersey, and as a result there were some good places to eat Portuguese food. Having never really had Portuguese food before I was keen to give it a try, so we'd booked a table at a restaurant called Casa Velha. It was very quiet in there, being a Sunday evening, but the staff were very nice and we had some hearty fare therein. Chie ordered a cataplana - a special Portuguese dish served (and presumably cooked) in a copper pan. I went for the vegetarian option which was probably not very Portuguese at all (vegetables in a sort of Chinese tasting sauce) but was nice nonetheless.

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