Travels inspired by the Wombles

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Alderney ahoy

This week's adventure was a trip to Alderney, one of the lesser-known Channel Islands.

My only companion was Bungo - recently acquired from Wimbledon Common. Like Great Uncle Bulgaria on the recent journey to the eponymous country, Bungo got out and about a bit and seemed to enjoy the experience (pictured).

Among other things I learned how to get two window seats on the same flight; what happens halfway through film screenings in the Arts Centre in St Anne, the capital; and what is and isn't an Alderney cow.

On a more serious note, it was sobering to learn about the evacuation of the island in 1940 and its subsequent occupation for five years by the Germans. Some traces remain of the fortifications which the occupiers built - an ironic postscript to the forts which Britain built a century before, against possible invasion by the French. There is little or nothing to see of the three forced labour camps and the SS concentration camp which the Germans used until 1945. Even now, the memory is a raw wound for islanders.

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