Food, glorious food, is one of the pleasures of taking a cruise like the 4 day European Sampler cruise I enjoyed recently with Princess Cruises; the abundance of the 24 hour buffet; the ease of never having to cook while on board; the delights of delicious and beautifully presented 3 course meals. It’s hardly surprising that the average passenger can gain a pound a day on a 2 week cruise, according to a survey last year.
As a food lover, I have to watch out for the creeping pounds and inches that seem to appear from nowhere whenever I go on holiday. Of course we all want to enjoy ourselves when on holiday, but if you go too wild with the eating and drinking, those extra pounds are tough to shift when you get home.
Although my 4 day cruise from Southampton on Crown Princess was a relatively short one, I decided to try and eat sensibly, while still having a great time and enjoying all the food on board. Here are some of the strategies that I tried and how they worked for me;
Cut back before your cruise
I find that it’s easier to eat moderately when I’m at home and in a more settled routine. At home I have more time to plan what I eat, stock up on healthy food and stick to eating at set times. Before my short cruise on Crown Princess I did make an effort to go to the gym a couple of times and stick to low calorie options like salads for lunch and grilled fish or chicken in the evening. It was a bit boring, but easier to bear when you know that you’ll have so many exciting food choices to look forward to once you get on board your cruise.
Keep healthy snacks in your stateroom
When we boarded the Crown Princess, it was a pleasure to find a bowl of fruit waiting for us in our stateroom which I used to snack on during our cruise. I’m not sure whether this was a complimentary service for all passengers, but in any case I noticed that fruit could be ordered for your room. In the Horizon Court buffet restaurant there was also a good selection of fresh fruit available, so you could take an apple or banana to eat as a snack on board or on the shore excursions. Of course you may be tempted with delicious but not-so-slimming snacks in your cabin, especially if you are a priority customer of your cruise line. In addition to the fruit bowl we found a treat of fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate awaiting us, and I’m ashamed to say that my resolve wavered and I ate all of my share. However, if you are trying to avoid fattening treats, you can always let your cabin steward know and they can ensure that nothing too tempting is left in your stateroom.
Head for the gym
On boarding Crown Princess, we took a walk around the ship to familiarise ourselves and discovered the large gym at the front of the ship. There were plenty of running and cycle machines, weights machines and a mirrored area with mats where classes were held. Guy and I resolved to spend at least 30 minutes exercising on the machines each day we were on board and my run was actually quite enjoyable, as the ship sailed through the changing scenery of modern windmills and industrial buildings as we entered the canal to arrive in the port of Rotterdam.
On our sea day we booked a pilates class which cost around $14 and I felt a satisfying ache in my tummy muscles after the class. Although yoga and pilates don’t necessarily work up a sweat, they are great for toning, posture and strength, so ideal to combine with the weights or the running machine. All the exercise machines could show you how many calories you had burned, although I worked out that running or cycling for 10 minutes would work off a meagre 100 calories, which might enable you to enjoy an extra glass of champagne but wouldn’t mean you could go wild with the cream cakes. A quick calculation made me realise that you have to exercise for quite a while to compensate for a creamy desert or cocktail so while regular exercise helps, you also need to watch the quantities that you eat and save certain foods for a treat.
Plan your meal times and enjoy every mouthful
On board Crown Princess there were a wide range of dining possibilities, with snacks and pastries at the International Cafe in the atrium area, Vines wine bar for sushi and tapas, pizza in the pool area and that was before you’d even tried out the main restaurants. The Botticelli restaurant was the place for Traditional Dining where you kept to the same meal time and dining companions each night, but we preferred the Anytime Dining in the Michaelangelo or Da Vinci restaurants, where you could have dinner whenever you were ready and sit with different companions each time. We found this was great as a couple, since we mixed with different guests each night and heard what they had been up to in the day and their tips and recommendations.
For informal dining, the Horizon Court buffet restaurant was open through the day and evening, and we did eat here some of the time for breakfast or lunch. The food on board was of a very high standard and I noticed that the same dishes from the restaurant menu were also served in the Horizon Court buffet restaurant, so it was more a question of what style you preferred than any difference in food quality.
In general I found that it was easier to control what I ate in the formal restaurants, and loved dressing up to make an occasion of my dinner. There were plenty of healthy menu options to choose from and the portions sizes served in the restaurant were just right for me, although I avoided any bread so that I could really enjoy what I ate and not add food to the meal that I didn’t need. I think that in the psychology of eating you feel satisfied if you’ve eaten in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere and had time to taste and savour every mouthful.
Splurge on a special meal
Although the food in the main restaurants was delicious, it’s sometimes nice to splurge on a special meal. To celebrate our recent wedding anniversary we decided to book for Sabatini’s, the Italian inspired restaurant on board that is a premium dining option (you pay a supplement of $25 per person). However, just because we were celebrating didn’t mean that we felt we had to over-eat; it was more about the exclusive atmosphere and beautiful painted frescoes. It was such a lovely evening that we would have liked to eat there again on the following night, but sadly the restaurant was all booked up.
I chose the chef’s wild boar pasta followed by a lobster trio which was delicious and a citrus tart for desert, with a glass or two of prosecco. As we decided to try Sabattini’s on the formal dining night, the evening felt even more special for being all dressed up, with cocktail dress for me and black tie for Guy. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, I found that treating yourself to a special dining night while on board makes for a memorable cruise and doen’t have to mean you eat more than usual.
Cut out a meal
At dinner one evening we met a couple who had enjoyed a 3 week cruise for their honeymoon with Princess Cruises and as I’d earlier seen them on shore in Guernsey in running gear, I asked them how they managed to stay in shape on a longer cruise. One tip they gave us was to miss a meal each day or at least eat lightly. They said that some days they would miss breakfast or just have fruit and at other times they would have a late breakfast which meant they could miss lunch and keep going until dinner. If you use this strategy it means that you can really look forward to and enjoy the two meals that you have and perhaps just choose a light snack and drink from the Horizon Buffet restaurant in between.
Treat the buffet with caution
I must admit that I love buffets because you can taste a little bit of everything and not be looking enviously at someone else’s plate and wishing that you had ordered that instead. The selection in the Horizon buffet had something for everyone, from salads to homely hot dishes, to the same elegant choices that were being served in the formal restaurants. However, there is always the temptation to overeat at a buffet so to avoid this I adopt certain strategies. Firstly I tend to walk around slowly, taking in all the choices that are available, letting my eyes feast on the many different possibilities, so that my eyes and brain feel full before even a mouthful has passed my lips.
Then I will take the smallest plate available and take a spoonful of two or three things that look delicious and return to my table to eat it. When I’ve finished everything, I may return to take another small selection of something different, or perhaps a second helping of what I have enjoyed. By taking small portions rather than overloading my plate, I don’t feel guilty about leaving something that I don’t like, and give myself permission to go back for a second helping. My stomach has time to digest and my brain has time to register when I’m full. Like all the restaurants on Crown Princess, the Horizon Court buffet offered plenty of healthy options and a salad bar, I just had to close my eyes as I passed the cakes and deserts.
Stay active on board
Although we only had one sea day on our short cruise with Crown Princess, on longer cruises there are no shortage of ways to stay active around the ship. We had a good look at the sports facilities and discovered the Center Court on the top deck where you could play basketball, paddle tennis or have a kickabout game of football. I noticed that there were plenty of other active entertainments such as Ballroom dancing, Latin American Zumba dance-fitness, Merengue and Line Dancing which sounded great fun. There were also talks with a health or fitness theme that would be good to keep you focussed and take you away (at least for a short time) from the numerous eating and drinking opportunities. Another trick we used was to always take the stairs rather than the elevators which left me out of breath when I had to walk from the Atrium on Deck 5 up to Deck 11 where our Stateroom was situated.
Keep active on the excursions
I love to go walking and cycling so it’s a pleasure to incorporate these into any cruise shore excursions where I can. In Rotterdam we decided not to take the free shuttle bus to the town centre, but instead took a walk from the ship over the striking Erasmus bridge (known as the Swan). After taking a Spido harbour tour we continued on a walking route of the architecture trail based on a leaflet we picked up from the tourism stall in the cruise terminal. Although we didn’t follow the tour slavishly, and took a detour when we spotted something interesting, we saw many of Rotterdam’s striking modern buildings on this route.
In Guernsey I noticed that one of the shore excursions was a cycling tour which would have been a great way to see this pretty island, but as we had visited Guernsey before we decided to do our own thing around St Peter Port. We found a place to hire bikes just behind the tourism office but on a Sunday there was no-one there, so instead we planned a walk to Fermain Bay which we had visited before, where there’s a lovely beach cafe with a grassy terrace overlooking the sea. The walk took us around an hour winding along the coastline through woodland with views of the sea and after a coffee we made our way back by the same route. Be sure to pack your trainers or comfortable shoes for the cruise so that you can stay active on shore excursions.
I’d be lying if I said I stuck to all these strategies, all of the time, but I did manage to use some of them, some of the time, and I reckon that’s good enough when you’re on holiday! We all want to enjoy ourselves on our cruise and that includes eating delicious meals and having a few drinks with your husband or friends. Considering I love my food I was pleased to find that I’d only gained 1.5 lbs after 4 days of enjoying myself at sea, which is a manageable amount to lose after the cruise.
The main lesson for me was to have fun and enjoy the delicious food but in moderate quantities so that you’ll arrive home feeling healthy and relaxed.
Read more about our European Sampler Cruise in my Taster Cruise diary series at the Online Travel Journal
My 4 night European Sampler Cruise with my husband was hosted by Princess Cruises who offer cruises to European and Worldwide cruises to allow you to explore fascinating destinations and escape completely on board their elegant and spacious ships. Our cruise took us from Southampton to Rotterdam to Guernsey before returning to Southampton. You can keep up with latest updates for Princess Cruises on their Twitter page @PrincessCruises and on the Princess Cruises Facebook Page.
You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey
December 29, 2012 by Heather Cowper
Filed under Devon and Cornwall, Europe, featured, Gothenburg, Greece, Guernsey, Namibia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Texas, Tour de Mont Blanc, Tour de Mont Blanc, United Kingdom, USA, Wales, World, Zakynthos
At this time of year it’s nice to reminisce a little and let the pleasant memories of the year wash over us to create that rosy seasonal glow. Then we can all brace ourselves mentally to look forward to new plans, new places, things we want to do more of, things we want to do differently. I’ll be sharing my plans for Spring 2013 very soon, but in the meantime, here are some of my travel memories from the last year, which perhaps will provide some travel inspiration for your plans in 2013.
December 2011 – Gothenburg, West Sweden for a pre-Christmas break with my husband
I’m cheating a bit here when I include our trip to Gothenburg from the end of 2011, but then it’s my blog, so I’m allowed a little cheating and we did have a great time despite the snowy and windy weather.
Why Gothenburg? I’ve always liked Scandinavia; so clean, so together and everyone speaks perfect English, and I wanted a pre-Christmas gettaway with my husband when we could eat great food and get into a Christmas mood, with just the two of us.
Happy memories? Fantastic seafood and a chat with the oyster-opening champion Johan Malm at Restaurant Gabriel, our memorable Michelin star tasting menu at Basement with head chef Camilla Parkner, sheltering in Cafe Kanold from the wind over a cup of hot chocolate with chilli, the Christmas market on the cobbled streets of Haga with the music of the marching band, the workman’s graffiti in the back of the statue of Mother Svea just outside our window at Hotel Elite Plaza, the millions of sparkling Christmas lights at Liseberg.
Where did we stay? The beautiful, 5 star Hotel Elite Plaza, once the headquarters of the Swedish Fire and Life Insurance company and full of grand marble staircases and chandeliers.
February – a winter weekend on the Gower in South Wales
Why the Gower? My son is at university at Swansea nearby and I wanted to get the whole family together, including my parents, to spend some time together near the sea.
Happy Memories? Long, blustery walks along the cliffs, the wide open beaches of Langland and Caswell, sitting with the papers and a cappuccino at Langland Bay Brasserie watching the rain beat on the windows, pretty painted beach huts and exotic spiky palms on Langland beach, watching the surfers bobbing in the water from the clifftop.
Want to read more?
Our winter weekend on the Gower in Wales – Langland and Caswell – Video
April – Texas, USA for a family road trip
Why Texas? My husband had visited Texas on a military exchange a few years before and kept raving about it, plus we wanted to find somewhere we could enjoy as a family with good weather at Easter and flights that were not too expensive.
Happy Memories? Experiencing a Blast-off at Space Center Houston, the finger-licking BBQ at Black’s in Lockhart, cycling along Mission Reach to the Spanish Missions in San Antonio, an afternoon wobble shooting at Picosa Ranch (I actually shot something!), tubing down the river at Gruene followed by Bluebell ice cream at the old fashioned drug store, tequila tasting at the Cibolo Moon at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country, eating trailer food, trying on cowboy boots and shopping for vintage in SoCo, Austin.
Where did we stay? The comfortable Park Inn Houston North, conveniently close to the airport, The Mediterranean style Hotel Valencia Riverwalk in San Antonio with views over the Riverwalk, The luxurious JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort complete with its own waterpark, our Holiday Rental in the Barton Hills area of Austin booked through HomeAway and the gorgeous boutique style Hotel Sorella in the vibrant City Centre neighbourhood of West Houston
Want to read more?
Our Texas Road Trip Part 1 – Podcast – Houston, San Antonio, Picosa Ranch
The best of Texas – finger-licking BBQ and a slice of pie
Picosa Ranch – a luxury Ranch with a slice of Texas history – video
May – a girl’s weekend in Winchester
Why Winchester? I wanted a weekend gettaway with my sister and Winchester was easy for both of us to get to, as well as having loads of things to see and do in the city and the beautiful Hampshire countryside nearby for some walking on the South Downs Way.
Happy Memories? The Anthony Gormley statue standing ankle-deep in water in the crypt of the Cathedral, seeing the small wooden table in the house at Chawton where Jane Austen wrote her greatest novels, eating lardy cakes bought from the farmer’s market with a view of the sulphur yellow fields on the South Downs Way, watching the mesmerising water wheel grinding the grain into flour at the Winchester City Mill, spotting the artistic bollards outside The Old Vine where we had a delicious supper.
Where did we stay? The Winchester Hotel, a stylish, modern hotel that is an easy walk from all the historic sights.
June – Guernsey and Sark in the Channel Islands
Why Guernsey? It’s just a short flight from Bristol and has a fascinating history as well as a beautiful coastline, plus we were all intrigued at the thought of visiting Isle of Sark where there are no cars
Happy Memories? Walking along the coast from Fermain Bay to Jerbourg point through the pine trees, the exotic treasure trove of Hauteville House, home of Victor Hugo, eating crab sandwiches from a beach kiosk with a view of the sea, cycling around the island of Sark and eating fresh lobster in the garden of the Sablonnerie Hotel, hearing the stories of the German Occupation from Guernsey tour guide, Gill Girard.
July – Zakynthos, Greece for a family holiday
Why Zakynthos? My sister lives on the island where she runs two hotels with her Greek husband, Denis so we like to visit her every year and explore some new corners of the island.
Happy Memories? Discovering Porto Limnionas, a rocky cove in the north of the island with turquoise water and a great taverna, sitting with a drink on the terrace of Harbour House restaurant at Agios Sostis with new friend Derek Linley hearing stories from his years coming to the island, our boat trip from Agios Sostis to spot the Caretta Caretta turtles in Laganas bay and swim in the sea caves at Keri, the Greek dancing night at Windmill Hotel which never fails to entertain us.
Where did we stay? My sister’s hotel, the Windmill Studios in Argassi with a view over the sea from the geranium filled terrace. She also runs the Windmill Bay Hotel just down the road.
Want to read more?
10 gorgeous beaches and places to swim on Zakynthos
Get in your car and drive! the bits of Zakynthos that you won’t see from your sunbed
Swimming the turquiose Blue at Porto Limnionas
August – an adventurous weekend on Dartmoor with the teenagers
Why Dartmoor? My husband knows the moor well from his army days and we all love the wild scenery and endless opportunities for outdoor adventure that kept my teenage son and his friends busy
Happy Memories? Having lunch at the Okehampton station buffet imagining that I was Celia Johnson in the film Brief Encounter, watching my son and his friends splash around in the river on their gorge scrambling adventure, our walk on the moor with friends above Peter Tavy followed by a hearty lunch at the Peter Tavy Inn, climbing up to the Great Staple Tor and finding a letterbox to stamp our hands, the blissfully warmth of the heat cabin at Woodovis Park and a swim with the family in the pool.
Where did we stay? Woodovis Park in a comfortable mobile home. It’s an immaculate, 5 star, family run camping and caravan site which is a great base to enjoy all that Dartmoor has to offer.
Want to read more?
Wild and Wet adventures on Dartmoor – staying at Woodovis Park
September – walking on the Tour de Mont Blanc in Switzerland and Italy
Why the Tour de Mont Blanc? I’ve been walking the TMB which is a long-distance mountain trail, in stages with my friend Julia and this was our third year on the trail. We both love the wild mountain scenery, the feeling of escaping our busy lives and the physical challenge of the walk.
Happy Memories? Watching the scenery change on the train journey from Geneva alongside Lake Lausanne and on the St Bernard Express, feeling on top of the world on the Grand Col Ferret at the border between Switzerland and Italy, staying at the fantastic Rifugio Walter Bonnati, undoubtedly the nicest refuge we’ve stayed in so far, having a picnic on the mountain overlooking Courmayeur and surveying the route we had just walked, the excitement at the start of the Tour des Geants in Courmayeur.
September – Girona, Spain for TBEX
Why Girona? I attended the TBEX Travel Bloggers’ Conference being held in Girona where it was great to meet some of my blogging friends in person and hear the speakers on different aspects of blogging.
Happy Memories? Staying in an apartment with Barbara Weibel, Isabel Romano and Laurel Robbins and just a floor down from Janice Waugh, Simon Falvo and Sarah and Terry Lee made for some great late night chats and bonding, eating pretty Pinxchos in a side street cafe with new blogging friends, wandering along the river with the tall pastel houses and criss-crossing bridges, the historic food by El Celler de Can Roca at the TBEX opening night party, the day out at Vall de Nuria in the Pyrenees after the conference
Where did we stay? A comfortable apartment in the old town of Girona booked through Wimdu
Want to read more?
Staying in the heart of Old Town Girona with Wimdu – video
A Sunday Stroll in the Pyrenees – Vall de Nuria
Case study – Costa Brava Marketing campaign – podcast interview with Jaume Marin
And what about the family?
Of course for many of these trips I was with various members of my family, but they also did some travelling on their own that they wrote about for me on the blog;
My husband Guy spent much of August on a school trip in Namibia looking after a large group of teenage girls, where they did some community work in a local school, went trekking and had close encounters with the desert elephants and other African wildlife.
My oldest son, William had a fun snowboarding trip in Andorra with a group of friends from university, which was spent mostly snowboarding, drinking and doing what students do on holiday. Read William’s article on Snowboarding in Pas de la Casa – a student’s guide
My daughter, Sophie-Anne wrote about her moving visit to Auschwitz with the Lessons from Auschwitz educational programme, designed to ensure that young people understand what happened and don’t let history repeat itself in the future. Read Sophie-Anne’s article on What every schoolgirl should know about Auschwitz – video
I hope you enjoyed my travels in 2012 and that you may feel inspired to visit some of these places yourself. I’ll be sharing my exciting travel plans for the spring of 2013 with you very soon.
You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey
Before I visited Guernsey, I only knew Victor Hugo as the storyteller behind Les Misérables, one of my favourite epic musicals – I’m addicted to a rousing chorus of “Can you hear the people sing?”. You may have also watched the Disney cartoon, The Hunchback of Notre Dame without realising that it was based on the Victor Hugo novel, Notre Dame de Paris. In France Victor Hugo was and still is considered a literary superstar and visiting Hauteville House, Hugo’s home on Guernsey opened my eyes to the genius that created this extrordinary house. Hugo himself said, “I missed my vocation, I was born to be an interior decorator”.
In October 1855 Victor Hugo, the celebrated French poet and novelist arrived on Guernsey braving heavy seas, wind and rain. For the three years before he had lived on Jersey, having left Paris in a hurry due to his political satirisation of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in his pamphlet “Napeleon le Petit.” Now, because of his outspoken political views he had been expelled from Jersey too.
Settling on Guernsey, the success of his poetry in Contemplations allowed him the money to purchase this former corsair’s house set high on the hill with views over Castle Cornet and the harbour of St Peter Port. Into Hauteville House he poured his creative energies and over the next couple of years transformed it into a rich and exotic showcase, packed with antiques and gorgeous textiles. Like a magpie he raided all the local antique shops for French tapestries, Turkish carpets, Chinese silks, Delft tiles and old sea chests which were deconstructed and recreated by local craftsment to suit his vision.
Victor Hugo eventually returned to France and after his death Hauteville House was bequeathed to the City of Paris who open it to the public. The house is one of the major attractions of St Peter Port and is especially popular with French visitors. Arriving at 11am I discovered that visits to the house are only as part of a timed tour and as these quickly fill up the next available tour was at 12.30. Entry to the garden is free, but as it was raining heavily, I decided to descend the hill and have a look around Castle Cornet until it was time for the tour. At the start of the tour we gathered in the small hallway, like being in the waiting room with a small kiosk to buy books and postcards, but otherwise not much different to Victor Hugo’s day when a servant would have been at hand to take your hat and coat. The plain, flat fronted house gave no clue to the richness inside, or to the large, country style garden at the back with roses, trees and fountains.
From the dark, oak pannelled hallway we moved into the the billiard room, dominated by a large table where the rich, red walls were covered with family portraits. Two of the portraits were of Victor Hugo’s favourite daughter Leopoldine, who drowned at the age of 19, when her boat overturned on the Seine and was lamented in many of Hugo’s poems.
The next room on the ground floor was covered in Aubusson tapesties combined with more carved wooden pannelling and our guide invited us to count the number of doors in the room. Of course there were those that we entered and left by, but also the central table made out of a door and the door to the concealed photographic dark room that was used by his son, Charles Hugo. Victor Hugo loved these tapestries for their decorative effect and paid no attention to their value, cutting them up to fit the rooms or making deliberate holes in them to let in more light.
On the ground floor was also the dining room, covered with white and blue Delft tiles. Above the fireplace the tiles were arranged in an oversized H motif, signifying both H for Hugo and H for Hauteville House with a carved wooden throne built into the space between the two windows. On the back of the chair are the words, ABSENTES ADSUNT, The Absent are Present and on the wall above the door is found the Latin motif, EXILIUM VITA EST which can be read as either Life is an Exile or Exile is life.
Everwhere in the house are decorative and literary motifs that encapsulate Hugo’s belief system but the significance of which would not be obvious to the casual visitor. The H in the dining room also signifies Hugo’s main preoccupations; Homme, Héros, Humanité, while in the hall are the words AMA. CREDE. which he explained in a letter to his mistress, Juliette Drouet;
“Oh! that our spirit should always return to this: believe; and our heart always to this: love. Love – Believe. This is what I wrote above the door to my house. I am also writing it on the door to my heart, which opens onto love, and on the door of your heart, which opens onto heaven.”
Our tour moved upstairs to the first floor where there are two sumptuous receptions rooms that run together to make one large space for entertaining. The Red room is hung with opulent red damask with enough gilt statues, chandeliers and silk hangings to give the impression of a very expensive tart’s boudoir. The blue reception room was only a little more restrained, but equally beautiful with Chinese silk hangings, covered with gold beading, which covered the walls and the ceiling, as there was a craze for all things oriental in Europe at the time. Hugo wrote in his diary;
“Bought the entire lot of Chinese silks from an English officer who took part in the exhibition and who had taken it from the Summer Palace of the Emperor of China”
Up another floor onto the second floor and the oak gallery was covered with pannelling including the four poster bed of Victor Hugo’s bedroom although he rarely slept there, with the sides and lids of old carved sea chests decorating the walls.
My favourite room was at the very top of the house where Victor Hugo had made a conservatory in the sky, with views across the bay, using some of the same Delft tiles and tapestry covered banquettes that are seen elsewhere in the house. This room was called the Crystal room or Lookout and a circle of glass on the floor lets light down to the floor below. This room, which was freezing in winter and so hot in summer that the silver of the mirrors bubbled, was Victor Hugo’s favourite place to work. He would sit working at a small writing table by the open windows, even in the freezing winter. It was in this small space like a sea captain’s cabin that Hugo wrote some of his great works such as Les Misérables and Les Travailleurs de la mer (Toilers of the Sea). At the other end of the room is a small bench seat covered with embroideries and velvet where Hugo normally slept, with a little hidden cupboard for his basin of water. From up here, Hugo could gaze out to sea but also over to his mistresses house in the same neighbourhood.
Once we had completed our tour of Hauteville House, we were free to explore the large, country-style garden with views over the bay, herbaceous borders, yew hedges, climbing roses and fountains. From the front of the house, you would never guess that this garden lies behind the house and it’s ideal to look around, while waiting for your tour, if the weather is fine.
I really enjoyed discovering Victor Hugo through Hauteville House; his life on Guernsey; the outspoken political views that led to his exile; his marital arrangements with both a wife and mistress who seemed to be very much part of the family and his wonderfully exotic decorating style. He was was in my mind not only a literary giant but a decorator extrordinaire.
More to see on Guernsey
Visitor Information for Guernsey
Hauteville House is managed by the City of Paris and entry is by timed guided tour. The house is open April – September on Monday – Saturday, 10am-4pm. To book your timed tour arrive at the house and reserve the next available tour or contact Hauteville House on +44 (0) 1481 721911 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . The House address is 38 Hauteville St Peter Port GY1 1DG and is a short walk up the hill from St Peter Port harbour.
Accommodation on Guernsey – We stayed at Albany Apartments, a family friendly self catering holiday apartment in St Peter Port and we also stayed at St Pierre Park Hotel, a pleasant, 4 star hotel with golf course set in parkland beside a lake. Check hotel options and compare prices for Guernsey hotels.
Getting to Guernsey and Around – We flew to Guernsey with Aurigny Airlines who fly to Guernsey from Bristol and other UK destinations. You can also book flights with Blue Islands Airlines and take the ferry with Condor Ferries from Poole or Portsmouth. We picked up our hire car from Hertz at the airport, who are also able to deliver your hire car to your holiday accommodation.
Reading for Guernsey – You may like to explore the works of Victor Hugo, such as Les Miserables or the Hunchback of Notre Dame. A good general travel guide to Guernsey is the Landmark Visitor’s Guide to Guernsey, Alderney, Sark & Herm
Photo Credits: Some photos from Guernsey Images by Chris George, others by Heatheronhertravels.com
You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey