Perfect day in Brighton

November 6th, 2006

What comes to mind when you hear the word Brighton? Restaurant Татьяна, matrones in fur coats walking to a grocery store, pensioners and kids mingling all over boardwalk, Russian мат… We beg to differ.

The original Brighton – there is no doubt in our minds that it gave the name to Brooklyn seafront – is airy, sophisticated, looking out on turquoise water and reminds us more of the French Riviera.

I have a friend who for several years now has resided in Brighton. She and I were classmates in Rostov U, but we have not kept in touch since my emigration. I gave her a call a few days ago, and she immediately invited us to come over, so that we could take advantage of unusually nice weather.

The weather definitely cooperated. Blue skies, gentle breeze, temperature in mid-10’s – it was a perfect day for a nice stroll out.

This was our very first trip away from metropolitan London. It’s as if we have been here for so long that we had to get away…

Even though trips like this are normally undertaken by public transportation – that is, if you are true Englander, – we figured that 60-mile trip is better covered in our own car. In a little bit over 1 hour, we have arrived at our destination.

As luck would have it, the first Sunday of November is the date of 110-year-old annual car race from London to Brighton. The participating cars are vintage to the extreme – about 100 years old themselves. We caught glimpses of them here and there throughout the day.

Brighton has a number of attractions to offer. One sight that we visited was the Royal Pavilion, which is a magnificent small palace of English kings, built in early 19th century. It is recently restored and renovated to its original splendor, and is a remarkable architectural masterpiece. Even Kimmy was duly impressed (of course, she was fully occupied by the audioguide, which she listened to in its entirety, sometimes forgetting to actually look around). We would gladly seek an excuse to return to the Pavilion!

We walked through the center of the town, where the Lanes Traders district occupies a maze of narrow alleyways full of curious and quaint shops. Waterfront boulevard reminded us of Nice – it is lined with casinos, fancy hotels and restaurants, and people idly stroll along the beach.

We spent some time on the pier, which has a small amusement park. Kids jumped on a few rides and had some respite from being in the company of dull adults and their boring talk. As the sun started to descend, the colors of both sea and the sky became more vivid and dramatic. Perfect ending to a perfect day!

Well, ok, the day ended with a long drive back, which saw us hitting not one, but two serious jams, in which we were barely crawling for half an hour each. However, the fireworks apparently did not end on Saturday, so we were treated to several more rounds of light shows.

Chronicles, London Album

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