visiting Brighton

After our weekend in Birmingham, already the next day we were off on another train trip with our daughter’s family, this time for a day trip to Brighton. Our son-in-law had accepted a long-standing invitation from a cousin whom he’d not seen in about twenty years. Cousin Pat and her husband Dave generously met us at the train station there and spent the day giving us a walkabout tour around their city.

I’d heard much of Brighton through readings of English history and literature, especially of the early 19th century when it was the fashionable resort for the royalty. Our daughter had spent a little time there as a student and remembered enjoying the beach. This time she was surprised, as were we, to find Brighton rather shabby in the areas we visited, including its formerly grand hotels, but here and there were some nice restorations and funky shops and restaurants.

Brighton_shop.jpg

Of course we had to see the famous wide pebbly beach, the pier and the rows and rows of empty beach chairs. It was cool and cloudy so you can see better beach photos than ours here. Along the boardwalk or promenade were the usual range of (sometimes tacky) gift and ice cream shops and caf├ęs, a nice little fishing museum honouring the town’s former industry and a colourful carousel which of course the granddaughters had to go on for a lovely ride with their mommy.

BrightonFishingMuseum.jpg

BrightonCarousel.jpg

There were crowds of visitors everywhere because of the annual Brighton Festival with its streets and squares punctuated with lively performers. As we entered a green park, we were met with an unusual vision: the Royal Pavilion which seemed so unreal and exotic in this setting with its “Indo-Saracenic style”. Part of it is under restoration as seen on the park side but the street view was amazing.

BrightonRoyalPavilion.jpg

BrightonRoyalPavilion2.jpg

In the first photo of the Royal Pavilion, do you see the bright round disk on the right edge? I was happy to discover that It’s an installation of a mirror-like disk by Anish Kapoor who was also the Guest Artistic Director for this year’s festival. If you are interested, see the slide show and other links about Kapoor’s works, including pieces that we sadly didn’t see.

AnisHKapoorBrighton.jpg

AnishKapoorBrighton2.jpg

We happened on groups of protestors a couple of times, first by the train station then by the tea shop where we stopped at the end of the afternoon. They seemed to be protesting against India’s treatment of the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. We noted with some alarm the extreme reaction of the police, marching forth in ‘army gear’ on foot, on horseback and in large armoured vehicles. Of course they attracted crowds – why are people so keen to see possible violence?

Anyway, it was a lovely day in Brighton, even the children had a great time, thanks to Pat and Dave! Next post I’ll show some interesting photos I took from the rooftop of the Italian restaurant we lunched at.

June 17, 2009 in Culture, Other artists, Travel by Marja-Leena