Today was a special day that I had marked in my calendar months in advance: my parents were in town. They were on an anniversary trip to Italy and a few other interesting places on a cruise, and had arranged a stop-over at the Hilton at Gatwick airport so we could hang out and do something fun. So we did. Since Gatwick is on the train line to Brighton, we headed there this morning. I left home at an ungodly (and very un-me!) hour to meet them and zoom down to the coast, as I had not been there before.
Brighton was amazing and we had a great time. None of us had any idea what to expect. I had checked my “Traveler’s Southern England Companion” and thus had a few ideas, but was really unprepared for the amazing stuff that we actually saw when we got there. We headed straight for the beach on arrival, and after walking down to the waterfront, walked towards the Palace Pier for starters. I bought a painting in a gallery, which was extremely exciting and part of my new philosophy that I should replace faux-art from Target with real art from actual artists. It was the most money I’ve ever spent on original art, although hopefully that will change soon as I continue to develop this new grown-up philosophy. (Artist’s website is here.) That was fun, but we were more intrigued with the ruins of the West Pier. Less than an hour after arriving, I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera, and I will have to add photos later when I get copies from my Mum. We next went to Waterstone’s to pick up some information “of local interest” realizing that we had found something fun but were totally unprepared for it all.
Next we hit the Royal Pavilion, which was again totally amazing and frankly unexpected. I could chastise myself for being unprepared, or simply admit my delight in wandering around a new town and enjoying the thrill of discovery.
We had lunch, did some shopping (I bought new boots, which is consistent with the other half of my philosophy–since my friends save one all have spouses and children, I am allowed to spend money on art and shoes without remorse!) and returned to the parentals’ hotel.
It was a great day and reminded me how stupid I am if I never get out of my own neighborhood and explore this rich country. I have spent far more time on the continent than I have in England when not at home in the town where I live, and clearly I am missing out on many interesting things to be seen. Fortunately or unfortunately, I only seem to get out and see things when I have guests, but my Mum’s desire to see castles should drive a longer and equally if not more fascinating adventure for the three of us some time in the not-too-distant-future. Now I am exhausted and have to work hard the rest of the week to make up for playing hooky today, but it was well worth it!