Visiting the London area in the past (eg. When I was living in Australia) was always a bit of a lowlight. Not bad, of course, just not as exciting as the rest of the trip.
It was a place that was easy, where I knew the language and had friends to stay with. It was a rest stop, a place to recuperate. Or it was simply the most practical or cheapest place to fly in and out of.
But now that I live in Austria this has all changed. Suddenly instead of being boring (because the food is the same as at home and the native language is English), it has become a connection, a link to home, a place I can travel to relatively easily and feel instantly comfortable, enabling me to speak to friends who understand me, as well as giving me the opportunity to stock up on groceries!
Our recent trip to the UK had us staying with friends in Brighton, which, in my opinion, is much nicer than London. Its beachside location, its laid-back lifestyle, its seaside cafes and ice cream shops, its winding narrow streets… that’s exactly my kind of place!
Thomas and I had the first day to ourselves, and while we contemplated taking a country sojourn to visit the (allegedly) picturesque Devil’s Dyke, we decided the better option for us was simply strolling the shoreline, stopping for pints of cider and ale, scones, Mr Whippy, a pub lunch and an afternoon nap on the (rocky) beach. The sun shone and the day was exactly what we both wanted and needed. Holidays are not always about tourist attractions and rushing around – sometimes it’s just people watching and being in the moment.
Luckily we still enjoyed a country adventure on the second day when our friends took us to see the stunning White Cliffs of the Seven Sisters. We traversed fields of sheep and flowers to the coast where we enjoyed spectacular, if not windy views. Part of the cliffs had without warning crashed into the ocean the day before so we were careful not to stand too close to the edge. Note: there are no fences.
Dinner that evening was Indian, owing to the fact that Thomas met these particular friends whilst travelling in India, and from there we proceeded to the Brighton Fringe Festival, where we watched the light show over the Royal Pavilion. To finish the night we checked out the Spiegeltent before abandoning it in favour of a lower-key gin bar and easy conversation.
The highlight of the final day was the beachfront food festival, dampened somewhat by a torrential downpour complete with rolling thunder and lightning that struck alarmingly close. We huddled for cover and waited for the deluge to pass before sampling Thai, Indian, Dutch, as well as local foods. In the afternoon we wound our way through the Lanes, bought the most amazing salted caramel fudge I have ever tasted, enjoyed the last few ciders and ales and finished with a typical pub meal, and the best ribs I’ve had since leaving Australia.
So Brighton, love you long time. Love especially the packet of crumpets I bought home (sadly we only had carry-on) and I hope to visit again soon!