Though London is quickly becoming my favorite city in the world, sometimes a girl has to clear her head and escape the city limits. There are only so many rush hour tube rides one can take before going insane, after all. Perhaps, if said girl is lucky, her escape can be to go see the ocean, because there is something so incredibly calming, perhaps nostalgic, about seeing waves lap up on the beach and a straight horizon of brilliant blue water.
Indeed, it was incredibly calming when my alarm went off at 8:00, when my comforter fell on one of my sleeping flatmates, when the fire alarm went off for the umpteenth time this trip and literally no one paid any attention, and when my flatmates and I barreled down the halls of our building to catch our train
But but but… whatever stress may or may not have been incurred was immediately wiped away by the ocean smell as soon as we descended onto the platform in Brighton.
And then, when we saw this:
Ah yes, hello Brighton.
London has a very distinct atmosphere: it’s hurried, proper, somehow both elegant and bohemian, and a perfectly molded splash of hundreds of cultures all coming together to form a gorgeous city. It’s inspiring, and it encourages its people to jump headfirst into life and into the streets and into the night and into anything they might be doing.
And while that’s fantastic… sometimes you don’t want to always be jumping.
Brighton is the counter to London. You don’t jump into the city; you can gradually coast into it. There is no rush, no need to ponder thousands of years of history or culture or the arts. You merely need to embrace your day, take in the sun, and relax as you intentionally lose your way around the city.
The best places my friends and I found to lose ourselves:
1) The Lanes, which are adorable, tiny stone streets of shops and galleries, and the occasional phenomenal tea shop or cafe. And Kathleen’s overalls (of which she is VERY proud,) fit in perfectly. As did her and Olivia’s flower crowns… of which they are also incredibly proud.
2) Brighton Pier, which conveniently has a NuNu (I loved Teletubbies as a kid, no judgement) and perfect places to reenact Titanic (thank you Harriet and Kathleen, for being so beautiful you brought Olivia and I to tears.) The pier also has carnival rides and a fun arcade… but we were enjoying the sun too much to partake.
3) Wai Kika Moo Kau, the best vegetarian / vegan restaurant I’ve ever visited, and which made my friends’ and my day, because, confession time, there is no end to my love for hummus, falafels, halloumi, or anything else on the heavenly plate they set in front of me.
4) The walk aside the Royal Pavillion… because you don’t feel like you’re in England at all.
5) And of course, the beach. Even with it’s freezing water. Even with the rocks. Even with the British sun, which is perpetually silver, and prompted Kathleen to say “Oh look the moon is already out,” at 2PM, to which I replied “Nope love that’s the sun,” and I still got a sunburn.
I will not publish anything incriminating, so I will not tell if you if any of my flatmates decided to embark upon a swim in her knickers.
You only study abroad once
- Claire Rembecki (London Undergraduate Program, Fall 2014)
Photos ©Claire Rembecki
Check out Claire’s blog Trying London for Size