A popular shore town with a pier that goes out in the ocean. The hubbub of visitors. A great beach with a boardwalk decorated with shops and restaurants. From the description you might think that I was talking about where I live (the Jersey Shore) but I’m actually talking about the Coney Island of London and popular summer destination for the English: Brighton. (As always click on pictures to make larger)
This past Sunday some of us took advantage of one of the nicest days we’ve had here and headed down to Brighton. Taking a bus to Victoria Station then a quick hour train ride out of London led us to our destination: Brighton. This southern coastal town quickly reminded me of back home. It was like I entered in a parallel universe. It had a mix of things you find on the Jersey shore: the Victorian Houses of Cape May, Atlantic City’s steel pier and boardwalk, the amusements and tourist stores of Wild Wood/Ocean City, the beautiful beach of Brigantine, and of course even shoobies. It was a little strange being there because for a few moments I thought I was transported back to the 609 but in fact I was still in England.
From the train station we had a enjoyable short walk to the beach. The scents of salt, sunscreen, and food were in the air. It was full of visitors enjoying the summer sun at the shore. We walked on the boardwalk and there was Brighton pier. The pier which had food venues and amusement rides greatly resembled Atlantic City’s Steel Pier or one of the piers at Wildwood. Brighton actually has a few abandoned piers which are now relics in the middle of the ocean. These abandoned relics have become somewhat of an unofficial symbol of this seafaring town. After taking in the scene we walked down from the boardwalk to the beach. The beach does not have sand but pebbles. We laid out in the sun, I closed my eyes, and I thought I was back in Brigantine enjoying a summer Sunday. We observed some of the other people on the beach. Many people came dressed in regular clothes (some even in long sleeved shirts/skinny jeans/jackets) and some people wore flip-flops while others wore converses or sneakers on the beach itself. Some took off their long sleeved shirts while others changed into bathing suits right on the beach. People were jet skiing and sailing on the ocean while some were paddle boarding. Some kids were even taking surfing lessons. The scene looked something you would get out of my hometown of Brigantine. Even the two towns share the same first four letters (BRIG). Regardless it’s what any shore town is supposed to be in the summer: fun, enjoyable, and beach centered.
After laying in the sun for a while we walked up and down the pier. There were the food stands of ice cream, sea food, fish and chips, and yes-Chinese noodles. There was the classic arcade and the pier rides that can only be found at the shore The seagulls were everywhere along with the tourists. This time I couldn’t poke fun at the tourists (what we term “shoobies”)at the beach like I do at home because this time I was one. I guess I’ll wait until I have to go back home to do that. It’s just remarkable how similar some places are in the world. Especially shore towns. At times while I was at Brighton I thought I was back on one of the Greek islands I visited in 2011. From Brigantine to Brighton: shore towns may have their small unique differences which make them different. Yet it must be the summer sun and cool ocean which ties all coastal towns together which attracts and lures people from all over. And for this I am happy for. For more information on Brighton click here: http://www.visitbrighton.com/
“My whole life have I lived in pleasant thought, As if life’s business were a summer mood”
– Resolution & Independence, William Wordsworth
Atlantic City’s Steel Pier