Sunday, September 05, 2010

Brighton, Day 1

Happy Labor Day weekend! In the days leading up to our three day weekend, I began to think about getting out of town. I knew it would be tricky with Tommy unable to go with us. But with summer quickly fading and our time in England slipping through my fingers, I decided it was time to check something off of my list of things I still need to see.

The coastal city of Brighton has been on my list for ages. It's often mentioned in Jane Austen pieces, and the train line to Brighton was the scene of a lost baby in one of my all time favorite works, The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde. Additionally, I had a pal on Flickr (back when I was active there) from Brighton whose beautiful pictures sealed my desire to come check out the city.

Saturday morning, I juggled the stroller with Caleb in, a small suitcase that turned out to be missing hair gel and a hair brush, a small lunch tote, and a book bag full of the ever important Potette Plus and plenty of changes of clothes for my quasi-potty trained punk.

The trek to Brighton wasn't bad. It took four trains (include a tube train) to get down. We pre-booked online, so we knew where to get off. While navigating the tube, several people were very helpful and offered to help with the stroller or my carry on suitcase on stairs and escalators. Caleb enjoyed the train ride, and the packed lunch came in handy, since we didn't have much time between trains.

It took about 3 1/2 hours to get down to Brighton. We checked into the B&B I found online. They had upgraded us to a nicer room, which was great! The downside is, it was closer to street level. I didn't realize how close we'd be to a few clubs, and it was loud for a while.

Actually, it wasn't even so much the clubs. You kind of get used to the constant hum of MMch! MMch! MMch! But the morons in the streets meeting up with their friends were so loud! I actually got out of bed to check to make sure the windows were closed. I did manage to get some sleep, though.

Anyway, after we checked in, we headed down to the beach. Brighton is a pebble beach, which seems to be the most common beach in England. Don't quote me on that or anything. I'm just going from my own experiences here. Caleb didn't mind, though, as his favorite beach activity is relocating all of the rocks back into the ocean.

Although the temperatures were mild and beautiful, the water was still pretty cold, so neither of us put more than our feet in it. Again, Caleb didn't seem to mind. He was just happy to be there!

After the beach, we went to Brighton's Sea Life Center. We spent way more time there than I had anticipated (about two and a half hours), but that was partially due to a fire alarm that went off in the middle of our tour. I took our forced evacuation as a cue to go eat malt vinegar-soaked french fries from a beach joint. Caleb took it as a cue to have a public accident in an eatery. Most embarrassing accident to date! Oh, well. What can you do?

Back in the aquarium, Caleb really enjoyed the sharks and the giant sea turtle. There was a an underwater tunnel he couldn't get enough of. (Seriously, we had to go through twice.) He loved looking at the sea turtle's belly. There was also a glass bottom boat tour we took, which he thought was super cool.

When we were finally done with the Sea Life Center, we hit the pier for the first time. Having seen pictures and even done a little research before we visited, I was still amazed at how huge the pier is! It's lined with vendors, restaurants, arcades, bars, and rides for 1,722 feet. We didn't even make it down to the end of the pier the first day. (This was primarily due to the fact that Caleb hadn't gotten a nap and was getting a big punchy.)

After some time on the pier, it was evident that we both needed to eat. We walked through town looking for something that wasn't fast and greasy but also wasn't too posh. (Two year olds and posh just don't jive well together!) We found an Italian joint called Pinocchio's, where Caleb got a pizza and I had a delicious plate of gnocchi Gorgonzola.

After dinner, we went back to the B&B where Caleb pretty much immediately crash. I stayed up reading for a bit and listening to the clubs getting warmed up. Eventually, though, I had to just try and sleep in spite of Brighton's nightlife. I had another full day in town, and I needed to rest up!

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