United Kingdom

First Day of Vacation: Brighton!

Brighton had been part of a plan a couple weekends prior to our vacation but due to traffic being horrible, we turned around and went to Rochester that day instead (another past-due blog). however, Brighton proved to be an excellent start to our 9 days off; not only was is the perfect weekend destination spot but it also prepared us for sitting in the car for long periods again and readied our feet for the long distances on concrete and cobblestone streets we would be walking the following week.

Brighton is a coastal town on the south coast of Southeast England, a small but substantial city with tons of parks, a huge public beach, beautiful architecture and a bustling shopping district and nightlife, as any Saturday between the hours of 2pm and 10pm will easily prove.

We started out our visit to Brighton pretty poorly, sitting in a queue to a parking garage for 15 minutes before getting to the point where the light was and seeing we had no less than another 20 minutes to wait to just the entry of the garage – with no way to know if it was actually full and had been for hours. We immediately left the line and searched for greener pastures which reared its head in the form of some street parking on the street parallel the seaside boardwalk (Kingsway). After running to and from 4 different dysfunctional parking meters we were able to buy just 4 hours of time but took what we could get and set out on our way to wander aimlessly.

brighton-sail-boat

The boardwalk clean and sky was mostly clear. It was a little cold for beach goers but bicyclists and pedestrians were plentiful and at least one point there were some people playing ping pong in their tees near a cafe. There was an unsightly pier at the point where we crossed the road into the city but we paid it no mind, filled with games, rides and other beachfront atrocities I’d rather forget.

brighton-boardwalk

We started out on some main streets, vaguely looking for what we would later find out was the Royal Pavilion, a building construction in the mid 18th century and intended as a seaside retreat for King George the IV when he was the Prince of Wales. The building is done in a popular (at the time) Indian style and during the reign of Queen Victoria the building was purchased by the City of Brighton and made into a lucrative tourist attraction. The thing seemed somehow completely perfect and well maintained so without looking that info up, I’d have never guessed its age.

Royal Pavilion, Brighton, sussex

Wi Kika Moo Kau, BrightonThe Lanes & Wai Kika Moo Kau

After we walked around a while, seeing only well known store names and busses we decided to look for The Lanes, a part of Brighton where pedestrians can walk freely, indie boutiques flourish and good food (even vegetarian food!) can be eaily found. We walked down Kensington Gardens, among the thick but manageable crowds and eventually found Wai Kika Moo Kau, a down to earth, affordable and delicious vegetarian restaurant with burritos, burgers, falafels, and a “full English breakfast”, among  many other options. We had a great lunch, worthy of fueling us through the crowds and hours of walking we had yet to do.

Brighton UK, The Lanes

Dukes Brighton - The Lanes

brighton Ye Old king and queenFeeling good and fed and after walking thorough The Lanes, towards the church and museum and everywhere in between, we came across “Ye Old King and Queen”, a Tudor style 18th century farmhouse turned pub and event hall. There was a generous courtyard and numerous giant sports screens with a football game on, in all corners of the giant seating area (soccer for ye Americans). The ATM rejected out cards when we tried to acquire cash but luckily Ye Old King and Queen took cards anyway (it’s proven more dependable and safe to just go to a bank ATM for cash anyway). The place was full of tourists, probably for the same reason we walked in, because it looked like an awesome old building that needed visiting. We had our warm ales (and by warm I mean room temp, not actually warm) and begrudgingly watched sports from all angles while Blair struggled to make it a few pages into The Sun – basically a British tabloid somehow considered an actual news source by some. He made it to the sports section but could no longer pretend to be interested.  The bar was nice to look at while we drank though had a slight obsession with its own namesake and had man sized chess pieces above the bar. I later found out from the website that the place has an long lists of murders and suicides that happened on its grounds and the believe the place to be haunted! Possibly our first haunted pub!

brighton Ye Old king and queen

Afterwards we took the long walk back to the boardwalk and along to our parking spot. Since it was getting darker and the roads were getting more empty we were able to move the car closer to town center and walk around some more.

She Sells Sushi by the Sussex Seashore

We walked past numerous bars and most the shops were closed or closing and we were hungry again after our long walk. We wandered around for ages trying to decide what to eat. Ross and I have become frustrated with the concept of Pizza here as some kind of a fancy “Italian food”, when clearly it was created and perfected by America *insert snarky smile* (…but really, we were quite annoyed when we paid $16US for a thin crust, single person pizza). They do have Domino’s and Pizza Hut here but we’ve been warned; they are likely the same as in the US anyway.

We passed up a couple run of the mill veggie burgers and avoided the many places that were quickly filling with Saturday night crowds. Eventually, when we were getting really fed up with looking, we found a Sushi restaurant, Moshi Moshi, with hardly anyone inside. Sure, sushi can be expensive (even though this was a conveyor belt style establishment) but the satisfaction of eating good Japanese food far outweighs the regret of paying more for thin, unsatisfying pizza (not that we won’t keep looking). Ross’s brother had lots of little plates of food shoved at him and we all left feeling pretty full and satisfied when we left.

 

brighton-pies

brighton-spires

brighton-seaside

 

Cell-phonery:

brighton-hands

brighton-street

brighton-cathedral

brighton-rob-the-dog

 

 

 


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