I'm starting my new job on Wed, and I have class tomorrow, so I decided to take my "last" day of "freedom" and bunk off to Brighton for a day of sun, sand, salt and seafood. Brighton was one of the first towns connected to London by rail and was a very fashionable spot, helped in some part by the Prince Regent (later George IV) building the Royal Pavilion there, a pleasure-palace where he held parties.
I got there just in time to enjoy the height of the sun, of course. The beach, I was surprised to find, is stones, not sand. And I didn't have my flipflops, so getting in and out the water was a challenge. This was compounded by the fact that the tide was going out and the water was just above freezing. I would put it roughly on par with Lake Superior. All told, I spent about fifteen minutes in the water. After a bake on the beach I strolled on down toward Brighton Pier, which was built in 1899--and today has an arcade and FOOD. My God, is there a lot of food. I quickly realised this was not going to be a trip where I learned the historical elements of a town, admired antique architecture and read about local notables, no this was going to be one of those days where I ate my way through the local delicacies. With this in mind I had the biggest, greasiest pile of fish and chips you can imagine. This has nothing in common with the Friday night fish fry. Fish and chips, when done proper, is served in this paper cone and you have to sort of pick it apart with this little wooden fork, before the grease sops through the paper. Ooooh, so good. After that I decided a stroll was in order (and I should probably get out of the sun) so I headed over to the Royal Pavilion, of the aforementioned Prince Regent.
It was built in the early 1800s, which is an era I have a passing familiarity with, and served as a getaway until the prince finally got the throne for good in 1820. After Queen Victoria inherited it, she sold it to the city of Brighton in 1850, which I thought was nice of her, considering it was built with taxpayer's money to begin with. The whole thing is done is a gaudy chinoiseree style (I hope I'm spelling that right) which is a European vision of China at a time when very few people had been there. The house is an odd mixture of these over the top decorations (like a 30 foot cut-crystal chandelier suspended from the claws of a silver dragon) and restrained Regency pieces, but I loved it. Definitely the kind of place I would have if I were an overweight playboy heir to the throne with nothing better to do.
The visit took about 2 hours, and afterward I required an iced tea and piece of cheesecake to recover. I was going to have hot tea and scone, but I'm not a masochist--the temperature here in London has been hovering close to 90 lately, and it wasn't much cooler by the sea. Before I left though, I had one more task, something I've been meaning to do since I was thirteen: I returned to the Pier and headed for the candy store, but this time I was listening to Queen's "Sheer Heart Attack," the first song of which is called "Brighton Rock" and which features sounds from the rides at the end of the pier. Then I picked out four sticks of the candy Brighton Rock and made my way back to the train station, giggling madly into sugar.
so I'm burned again--but I did take some pictures! Enjoy.
Me, before the sunburn really set in.
This is what the entrance to the Land of Food looks like
The Pier's FAB-U-LOUS! weathervane.