We both read a book a few years ago titled, "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" and loved it. It centered around the German occupation of the island (located in the channel between France and England) during WWII and it was such a sweet and enlightening story. Apparently we aren't the only ones who appreciated the book because there are now tours centered around it. When we found out that our tour was cancelled, one of our friends on the tour, Kay, suggested I get on this computer and find a coach company and reserve a bus for our group of eleven. Of course, everyone else on the ship with a computer did the same thing and the kind lady in charge of the reservations told me that they had three coaches available for everyone, but guess what! We got one! And the bus came with a very knowledgeable driver so we had a half day tour of the island that included a stop at "possibly the world's smallest chapel," The German Occupation Museum, the German Underground Hospital and views of the rest of the island.
Guernsey was a demilitarized zone, but because it was a huge exporter of tomatoes, there were many identical trucks ("tomato lorries") up on top of the island. The Germans mistook these trucks for military trucks and dropped their bombs, killing 34 people and beginning a five year Nazi occupation. The stories of life during this time are quite interesting. I'm most surprised by the fact that some Guernsey women actually had relationships with German soldiers, but I guess war is hell for everyone and you never know what you'll feel until you're in the situation. I was also impressed by those who worked an underground newspaper, reporting BBC news to Guernsey citizens.
The island was beautiful and the underground hospital was eerie! I'm so grateful it worked out for us to see the things we'd hoped for, but if we'd stayed on the ship or had a walking tour, I would have been just as happy. It's just nice to get away for a while. It's helped to put some things in perspective for me. I think some things will be quite different when I get home.
Here are some pics from our day!
|The Tiny Chapel|
|Inside the "Tiny Chapel" - Over 2 Million Pieces of Broken China Were Used.|
|Inside the German Occupation Museum|
|German Occupation Museum|
|Images of Guernsey During the Occupation|
|German Newspaper from Guernsey During the Five Years of Occupation|
|Entrance to the Underground Hospital|
|Lots of Tunnels|
|Original Beds from the Hospital|
|Escape Tunnel - Looking Up|
|Headed Toward More Rooms|
|Headed Out - I was more interested in the Ferns. :)|