August 03, 2010

Brighton 24 years on

I went down to Brighton for a day on my last trip to London. On my way down there I realised it had been 24 years since my last visit. Back then I was one of many, many student who comes to the English south coast to learn English during the summer. Staying in Hastings for a month one of the many daytrips was of course Brighton. Like most days that month it rained and we got totally soaked visiting the pier (which for us looked just like the one in Hastings), the aquarium and the Royal Pavilion. I also have vague memories of us trying to get dry at some local hamburger restaurant.

So now going there as an adult I of course wanted to do the same things again. OK, maybe not the aquarium, but definitely the pier and the Royal Pavilion. And probably some nice place to have lunch.

Getting off the train from London Bridge about 10:30 I immediately walked into a big group of Swedish students. For a second it felt like time had stood still. They even had the same backpacks as I did. The way they talked and acted also remembered me how it was to be away from home in another country and only relay on other Swedes you just met. To take care of yourself and try to be as grown up as possible. I don't think they realised I was Swedish and understood every word they were saying. If they did notice me I was probably yet another boring English woman...

The first sight of the sea did as always make me very happy. I just love the ocean.Walking down towards the beach and pier I very quickly noticed that nothing had changed. Brighton is the typical seaside town to the core. Nothing has changed and probably never will. The sea was rather rough and dark clouds were moving in but still the beach was full of people. Not dressed in bathing suits, but nevertheless there. Everywhere you could buy souvenirs, chips, cotton candy and of course soft ice cream with the 99 flake.

I made it over to the pier and God knows how many flashbacks I had thinking about my two summers in Hastings. The pier was the place to be, and sometimes even underneath the pier... Seeing all the attractions at the end of the pier also brought back memories and when I found an "authentic" fish and chip shop I just had to buy some. Couldn't get more by the seaside than that. In my youth I hated malt vinegar on the chips, but now. Divine.

Done with the pier I walked up to the Royal Pavilion. Criss crossing pass student everywhere. Did we really move in such a big groups? And was really things that boring? Probably, because we were teenagers. The Royal Pavilion was amazing. Both on the outside and the inside. And the kitchen. Quite some state of the art back then.

Before heading for London again I did a bit wondering around, and yes Brighton is cute seaside town as long as you stay away from all the students and rowdy people around the beach front. God, I sound so boring... But what to expect. I came to Brighton on a Saturday in July. I wouldn't mind coming there on a lovely sunny autumn's day in September or early October. Just like here in Sweden the coast is at its best right before or right after peak season.

So conclude it all, 24 years on. Brighton will always be a very British seaside town and everything that comes with it. Love or hate it. I do both. Very much.

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