Funny, how reality just washes over you like a big wave and you're thrust into the usual torrent of life again after a relaxing swim in a calm distributary: I left Herm in tears one day and was picked up from Vienna International Airport by my dad the next. An hour later I was home. And how did I spend the evening? By virtually searching the university's library for useful books for my seminar paper that's due in 2 weeks. The next day I enrolled for some uni courses for the term that is about to start, drafted my timetable and visited my grandparents, and with the start of next week I'll take to studying again. My eyes are already losing their sparkle from simply being trapped in this town with a heap of work in front of me. Papers, exams, lectures and my whole life framed by concrete. This won't go down easily... (Right, that was a bit melodramatic.)
But let's not get depressive (yet) and rather think about the last week on Herm. Random rambling and running on Herm, often interrupted by an urge to indulge in the blackberries that frame every path (N.B. to go blackberrying is my new favourite phrase) or to suck up the landscape, the sea and all of the island's beauty like a sponge and commit it to memory. (I would have taken loads of helpful pictures if my (fairly new!) camera hadn't failed me 2 weeks earlier. )
I finally also managed to explore one of Herm's caves: It is only accessible by scrambling over the rocks at low tide, so Vicky checked out the tide-table and we got up at 7 o' clock Monday morning, equipped with torch and camera (the batteries of the latter we also used in turns for the former), and set out for a pre-breakfast adventure. The cave we aimed for was rather an incomplete tunnel system that wound it's way into the rock for about 50 metres (or more).
After admiring the funny, big, stone-age woodlice (no idea what these animals that clung to the walls and took rapid flight when we shone light on them really were) we climbed a huge rocky step into the man-made tunnel. To protrude further we had to wade through ankle-deep water repeatedly - Vicky kept taking off and putting on her trainers whereas I was just happy that I had chosen indestructible sandals. The tunnel took 2 bends to the left and suddenly we found ourselves at a dead end. A plastik box sat there, patiently waiting for visitors to open it and unleash the deadly curse...no, I mean: sign the visitors' book that is not really a book anymore but rather a lump of limp, damp pieces of paper. We signed it anyway (with some difficulty) and made our way back into the cruelly bright sunlight.
Here are some of the pics Vicky took:
feel like walking back the long way we'd come, so we
just climbed up the cliffs to get to the path.
--> Cave: done.
After walking back and staining our hands with blackberry juice we went to the canteen for proper breakfast. After this early-morning adventure (talking about the cave, not breakfast) I felt brave enough for a new challenge: I went into the backstore and illegally helped myself to a small, heart shaped (why??) pack of Marmite. Though having spent a considerable amount of time in the UK I'd never before gathered the courage to try this British speciality, but on this special morning I felt the time had come. I buttered my toast and spread a tiny dollop of the brown, gloopy (can I say that, Vicky?) substance as thinly as possible on same slice and took a tiny bite. To Vicky's question whether I loved or hated it (apparently you have to choose either; there's no in-between) I had to admit that it wasn't as awful as I had expected. I finished my toast and even had a second one (white bread this time - to better appreciate the yeasty flavour). I would not declare myself a lover of Marmite, though. Especially after trying a little bit WITHOUT toast. Yuck!
--> trying Marmite: done.
One last thing remained to be enjoyed before saying Farewell to Herm and so I asked wine-waiter (and former Ship-mate) Adrian to go for lunch with me on my last day on the island. He readily agreed and so we entered Ship where we found Vicky who had surprisingly got the afternoon off and decided to join us :-).
And so it happened that I finally had one of these highly-praised Beef Patties with cheese. (An American customer once assured me that the burger tasted like "at home"). And it was damn good! Especially, because my extra wish for handcut chips was granted (Chef usually refuses).
This delicious meal was followed by an expertly done Irish Coffee which tasted really nice, even though Zuzi spilt half the cream when serving it--.
It was a perfect last meal and I skipped dinner that evening (I was too sad to be hungry, anyway).
Unfortunately, Austrian cream is not as fat
as Guernsey cream, which makes it harder.
Finally, I wanted to make use of my last lonely evening on Guernsey (stayed at a hotel because my flight was early in the morning) by visiting the cinema. This place of entertainment is well hidden and almost impossible to find if nobody tells you where to go. It is part of the Mallard Hotel complex and in order to get there you have to cross the parking lot and walk around the hotel. Hardly any signs to show you the way. I walked there (took me about 20 mins), only to discover that they didn't play anything remotely interesting and consequently spent the evening in my room watching Pointless and Eggheads, 2 British quiz shows, before finishing Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: This is a spoof of the well-known classic and was given to me by Andy (our barman). In this version of the story a lady is truly accomplished if she masters the oriental martial arts and devotes her life to protecting the UK by fighting the ever increasing unmentionables. I had my doubts at first, but it turned out to be hilarious! ([Elizabeth] remembered the lead ammunition in her pocket and offered it to him. "Your balls, Mr. Darcy?" He reached out and closed her hand around them, and offered, "They belong to you, Miss Bennet.")
I left this book, left the hotel and kindly got a lift to the airport because two guys who stayed at the hotel were working there. They were Austrian and somehow found out that I was too (I still haven't worked out how... and it annoys me.) and started talking to me. The only thing they did was to complain about the island and to tell me how everything was soooo much better in Austria. Really pissed me off and made me even more reluctant to go back home to a place that's full of people like that.
But home I went. And I miss the island. I miss the lifestyle. And I miss my new friends. A lot.