Sunday, July 27, 2014

in brighton

After a nice start to the day at the Hyde Park Second Ward (which is a fantastic ward and very friendly but seriously needs to work at starting on time,) Miles and I headed to Brighton. Along came Maddy, Rachel, Brenna, Angie, and Chantel. We had a great day there.

The train to Brighton takes about an hour, and once we got there we headed to the Unitarian Church on Jubilee Street to meet Carlo, our bike tour guide. I've done bike tours in London, Paris, and Versailles now, so I can add Brighton to the list with much approval and satisfaction. Carlo was great. Very funny and clearly loves what he does. His job would stress me out. Getting a string of college kids across busy streets on bikes? That's ulcer town. NBD for Carlo.

We hit several of the Brighton hotspots, including St. Peter's Church in Preston Park, a Gothic-Style Anglican church with original murals of Becket on trial all over the walls. It was really intimate and cool in there. Here are photos.

We also explored a secret garden which doubles as a pet cemetery. I had to take a picture of the tombstone of Pickle the dog, because it dearly reminded me of Pickles the cat back home. (Not actually a cat, just a 6 year girl who thinks she is one.)

We climbed in the Preston Twins - the oldest surviving Elm Trees in England. Do you see how jaunty I look up there? Do you see that?

Later we walked through a field carpeted in poppies and cornflowers. Two more weeks, Carlo told us, and we'd miss it. It's all about the timing. Maddy and Rachel kept making up a musical called In Brighton. They created lyrics as we biked. The musical is about lonely American girls who fall in love with their bike tour guide (not Carlo) and they sing "In Briiiiiiiiightoooooon!" in an operatic style.

Here is the Royal Pavilion. Once home to Victoria and Albert, but for me it's way more famous as the Indian Palace the Snowman flies over in the Christmas cartoon.

Finally, we rode our bikes along the seaboard. Brighton was busy today with visitors from all over England, but the bike lanes were free and easy. It felt great to ride along with the breeze off the English Channel.

We said goodbye to Carlo around 5:30. He was a lot of fun, and there really is no better way to capture the essence of a city in a day. Nobody's feet hurt, and everybody looked and felt alive.

We ate dinner at Bill's, my favorite restaurant in Brighton. ("In Briiiiiiiiightoooooon!") I've only ever been there for breakfast, and the place is always packed. But early dinner is perfect; we were alone in there for a good chunk of time. And the dinner menu is fantastic. The food is always fresh, always hearty, and the ambiance is always colorful and energetic.

And then we walked to the seashore, making our way through the little lanes of Brighton. The sun was starting to set and the lamps were coming on all along the intricate maze of twisting alleyways. Eventually we found our way out and sat on the pebble beach as the sun went down. We were brave enough to get our feet wet, but that was just about it. That water was cold. Who were all those people swimming in it? Eskimos?

We sat for the rest of the evening on the rocks and had a great chat. Miles and I threw rocks at a can. Some seagulls watched us with interest. The waves came in and out and the night lights of Brighton came on.