They weren’t kidding when they said “Enjoy the sun while it lasts in the UK!”. My first week in London, of sunshine and breeze concluded on a grim note today, as I peeked out my window to trees being whiplashed by the wind, and rain showers soon to turn into this depressing drizzle and drip for the rest of the day. I’ve been warned of the capricious state of the London weather, and am looking on the bright side that this will at least mean, no weeks of constant rain like in Vietnam.
It was the perfect day to sleep in and be somewhat satisfied with the fact that I had opted for going to Brighton (a seaside town just an hour by train from London) 2 days before, when it was still gloriously beach-weather.
2 tube changes and 15 pounds later, Phuong (my London-based friend) and I were at London Bridge rail station, round-trip ticket to Brighton in hand. 15′ into the trip, well out of London territory, vast green fields appeared, dotted by cascading cookie cutter neighborhoods, and I remember just thinking to myself, for the first time since I’ve been in the UK: “I’m in Europe again!”. Now my British friends would beg to differ, that they have little to nil, perhaps besides the EU membership, to relate them or their country to Europe. Yet, being in a train again, with my nose just pressed against the window at awe of the panoramic scenery (be it very distinctly British) whooshing by – that’s the Europe experience deja-vu right there!
We headed straight for the beach upon arrival, and no, 16 degrees Celsius is not swimming temperature but it’s a beach town, the first stop was unquestionable. There was surprisingly 1 brave soul foraging into the freezing water ( as I would find out later, people still go swimming here in February, so the woman (pictured below) was just being quite normal). To be honest, I was quite unimpressed with the scenery here. Blame it on the clouds rolling in at that particular moment if you will, but it was just another beach, with lifeless water brushing onto not sand, but pebbles, huge ones. To be fair, I did really like the pebbles in the end, they turned out superb in photos. The pier is a bit reminiscent of typical Ocean City style in the East Coast of the US, with a white-painted harbor and an arcade.
So my favorite part of Brighton was the farthest it could be from the beach, it was actually the experience of walking the streets of this lovely city alone that stuck. By the time we were back in the city center, I became quite carried away with the cobbled-stone streets, the many narrow lanes that criss-cross them and just the overall charm of the little shops that line them. All I remember is being at the beach for about an hour, and then the next 5 hours, we were walking away, discovering every nook and cranny, gluing our eyes to every little detail in the many antiques shop here, until our feet gave out, and we would stop in a local cafe before venturing off again.
Here are some of my “snap it!”s for this trip , with the beautiful Phuong as my model!