Friday, June 10, 2011

My first overseas trip: A year on- Brighton, Portslade and......

10/06/2010   Brighton, Portslade and Paris (albeit breifly).

I am soon to reach Frankfurt. What a day I have had! I started in Portslade, made my way to Brighton, then London. Caught the Eurostar to Paris and now I am making my way across Germany to Frankfurt. I traveled across 3 countries in about 7-8 Hours all by Train!!- The U.K., France and Germany.. wow, we can’t do that back home!! It may seem like a long time in a train, but the changing and beautiful scenery made it all worthwhile… But I am ahead of myself…Let me begin where we left off, Brighton and Portslade.

After Woking and London, I took a train down to stay with my mate ‘D’ who lives in Portslade. D lives two suburbs away from Brighton and is a few minutes walk from the beach… well, It’s a beach that is covered with large pebbles rather than sand…Is that Still a Beach?.. Or a stone covered shore? Anyway, my time with D was so lovely and peaceful. We relaxed and hung out in Portslade, we walked the streets and pebbled beaches, I got a cheap haircut from a lady who had back-packed around Australia!! We took red double-decker buses into Brighton and went Op-Shopping!! Yay!! D took me to T.K. Maxx (more shopping!). We walked past the famous Brighton Pavilion (I think D took offence when I described it as ‘garish’ and turned my nose up). We walked along Brighton Pier!!! I had my Tarot read on the Pier by some guy who was good, if not a little theatrical. We ate, drank, shopped some more and whilst walking through the famous ‘lanes’ area of Brighton, we stumbled across a brilliant café called ‘Nick and Franco’s’ (sadly no longer there). Oh, and D cooked for me, washed my clothes and was a perfect gentleman!! Some lucky man does need to snap him up!!! Alas, soon the time came to leave Portslade for Europe. I had a ticket booked for the eurostar. So, after saying goodbye to D and to Portslade, I put my headphones on and was on my way. 

All through my travels my discman has kept me company. From Portslade to London I listened to The Flaming Lips brilliant Lp 'At war with the mystics'. I made my way across town and once I was seated on the eurostar, LCD Sound System’s ‘The Sound of Silver’, pulled me through the English channel tunnel… The rhythms seemed to match the train, it was smile inducing and hypnotic. And then the music shifted, a selection of Simon and Garfunkel tunes came on as we exited the Channel and were in France! The French countryside was so lovely, so picturesque! Green fields stretched on to the horizon, gently undulating. Houses were smattered about in clusters, and looked centuries old…and cows !!!!  I have seen farm animals!!! I am so excited! My attention is drawn back to the music as my eyes remain transfixed by what I see. Light rain sweeps across the countryside and more grey clouds roll in as Paul Simon sings the haunting 'April come she will'...It just seemed so right....Later, 'For Emily where ever I may find her' plays. As the line 'you read your Emily Dickenson and I my Robert Frost' fills my ears, I can’t help but reflect that although I had brought my collected Walt Whitman to read and inspire me, I have not had need of Walt, for I have been inspired by all I have seen, heard, smelt and touched...

The places I have seen have been enough...sometimes overwhelming, but always amazing. Music has soundtracked my trip.... It has given me some familiar grounding for when I have felt lost or lonely, and given everything a different context...

Soon I arrived in Paris and it was still raining lightly.. I had no accommodation booked, nor any plans, and noticed some dodgy looking people hanging I headed to the ticket office to book a train to elsewhere.. hmm perhaps to Köln in Germany? Apparently I just missed the train and the next one was in an hour. I told the man at the ticket office I was happy to go anywhere he suggested in Germany, as long as it brought me closer to Berlin.. as I needed to be there on Friday…he suggested Frankfurt.. Hmm Frankfurt?.. why not?

Next: Frankfurt!

On the train from London to Brighton/Portslade.. Walkers Crisps!!! an English institution!!

Brighton Train Station:

 Cool Car I saw in Portslade:

Who needs photos of the pebbled Brighton Beach, Brighton Pier or Brighton Pavilion, when you can see that cool car again and from a different angle!!!

Ok.. I couldn't go to Brighton and not take a photo of the famous beach... not a great pic I admit.. note the fence holding the hordes back! or is the fence keeping the public safe from the huge pebbles... or are they small rocks? (Hmmm...will I ever be invited back?)

Every time we walked past the local Portslade, Help the Aged store, I kept singing Pulp's- 'Help the aged'- "Help the Aged, one day they were just like you, Drinking, smoking cigs and sniffing glue!" 

Brighton: I was a bit worried that the double-decker buses wouldn't make it down the narrow streets of Brighton. Especially when another one was approaching from the opposite direction!
 Portslade!: Not the main shopping strip obviously. My mate D lived in a street very similar to this one.

Nick and Franco's cafe, which we accidentally discovered in 'The Lanes':

Amazingly light and yummo, homemade baked lemon ricotta cheese cake from Nick and Franco's. Because they had good coffee (Franco was Milanese!-say no more), I kept insisting we go back there! Why, oh why has it now closed down??? 

'The Lanes' in Brighton. Worth a look and a meander through.

T.K. Maxx means SHOPPING! Seriously!

This cute store 'Handmade' was in the Gay section of Brighton (yes, apparently we had our very own section!!!!). They were kind of an artist co-op that sold handmade goods by local artists... all interesting and lovely. The man on the very cool handmade sign below, reminded me of John Howard!! Which made me smile!

 Apparently, this is Brighton's Smallest pub! "The Queensbury Arms", also known as "The hole in the wall'. It is a gay pub, my mate D took me to. Brighton is supposed to be a bit of a gay spot.. I would have thought they would have needed a larger place to have a drink!

 Some Peonies I snapped whilst walking past a florist in Brighton, they made me think of my friend J.La back home who loves them!  


  1. such an interesting post. lovely photos again. keep them coming ;)