Sanctuaries: Toys, Seascapes, and Cathedrals

Trip Start Jan 26, 2007
Trip End Jul 23, 2007

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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Monday: The Bright Side.
Yesterday I got my bearings in the local area by walking around. It was a quiet day and I was really glad when Matt was finally home from work.  We went out to a place called The Hobgoblin with two flatmates.  On the way we heard the bells of St. Peter's ringing, that was really nice.
This morning I went looking for work by walking down the main street that runs from the train station to the sea.  I spent some time at the seashore but it was such a cloudy day it was hard to see out very far.  There is a mall in Brighton called Churchill which is three stories and pretty complete as far as malls go.  I went into St. Paul's Cathedral which had very expressive and detailed stained-glass windows.  I saw the outside of the Royal Pavillion, built by King George IV.   
This afternoon I spent a few hours at the Brighton Musuem.  The admission was free and there was more inside than I could see in one day.  There was a room dedicated to historical styles of pottery.  Maybe doesn't sound very interesting but there were some commical statements and subtle comments about different eras in England such as prohibition.  The museum had a section about the history of Brighton.  One of the facts I learner: four out of five people in Brighton were fishermen in the 1600s and lived in cliffs along the beach until a huge storm in 1705 covered the shore and cliffs with fifteen feet of beach pebbles.  There were also ancient artifacts from other areas of the world.  There were a lot of school classes visiting these parts and it was very entertaining to watch the kids' reactions to displays.  I really liked the art gallery on the third floor.  There was a bird house made of rose thorns and a bed made of ice crystals (meant to allude to the Greek goddess of memory Mnemosyne, who had to reinvent herself evey morning when she woke up and forgot who she had been).
Tonight we might be going to an experimental music show; I heard something about an electric cello, a sitar, and other digital sounds.   

Tuesday: Toys
I've been lucky enough to get down to the beach two days in a row now.  The sun was shining warm rays to take a bit of the sea wind chill off.
There is a museum built under the train station that I have been meaning to check out for a few days now. I finally got to The Toy and Model Museum today but found it very boring, I would not recommend it.  Maybe it was not very enjoyable for me because I didn't really understand the importance or value or the dolls and scenes.  There were hardly any captions so it was just like looking at the result of someone's play, only encased behind glass.  I feel bad to criticize what someone must have had so much fun putting together, but it just wasn't very exciting to look at (I'm glad I got in at a student rate!). The trains reminded me of grampa and a train set we used to have as kids, the doll's kitchen with the little tea sets and plastic foods reminded me of my sister.
After this, I spent my time much better in Saint Bartholomew's, one of the tallest churches in England.  The building is 170ft long and 135 tall, and inside you can see right up to the top.  It is refered to as the Noah's Ark church because the ceiling looks like a massive boat.  The brick was patterened with black and red and white to make designs. There was a chalk cross, giant candle holders made from green and black italian marble, silver crosses and silver hanging candles.  The most beautiful was the Sanctuary with gold mosaic and mother of pearl. 
The organ was beautiful as well. 
It was very peaceful inside. What was really neat were little doorways way up near the ceiling, that ran passage ways from one large stone window sill to the next.  I wish I could have climbed the back steps to walk through those.  At the time it was built (1872-1872) it was very important to the people of Brighton because the nearby St. Peter's church was exclusive to the wealthy citizens of the city.  I read that there was services held every hour from 5am until 10am and about two thousand people attended each service!  Lucky me, I was there all alone in my peace and quiet when I went in the afternoon.

Wednesday: Walk
Today I walked out the front door in a new direction; I walked straight, up a very long hill, which took me a good half hour, the hill was not steep but it did not level off at all.  The higher I climbed the more gardens and front porch flowers were tended to, it was nice to see.  I passed a pub called The Wellington, which had a maple leaf on it and the sign said they sold Labatts.  Nice to see little embers of home glowing in this foreign place.  Almost at the top, I passed the Brighton Hospital, built in 1866.  Then I got to an amazing 360 view of the surroundings; classic English landscape, sea and clouds, and the city of Brighton below.  Couldn't really spot Matt's house but I did see the big church that I visited yesterday, it really is gigantic.  I lollied around the green grass lawns, and went down the other side, towards a cemetery (which I couldn't get into).  The pictures didn't turn out as good as it really looked, the lens is so narrow.  Also, the pictures don't capture the sweet smell of spring air, the warm sunshine that made me take my coat, scarf, and sweater off, the songs birds, and some other familiar sense I felt but can't quite describe.  It was a beautiful day, I wish you could have been there with me.

Saturday: She Sells Seashells by the Seashore
This morning the weather was like summer.  It rained this afternoon.  When Matt and I took an amble along the seashore we watched the sky and water change constantly. Now it is time for me to begin my solo journey to Scotland...

Feb 13, 2007  Hopped on the 17 hours bus to Edinburgh that passes through Newcastle!
I've wanted to come here forever!! They are rumoured to have the craziest English accent you'd ever hear AND they make that fantastic Newcastle Brown Ale.
My best friend and I tried to get here in our 2005 tour out of London, but only made it as far as Hertfordshire (check out that blog at: )
So now, on my 17 hour bus ride from Brighton to Edinburgh, when the driver stops for a 15minute break, I dash around town, frantically taking photos in effort to soak up every detail. I didn't hear a glimmer of conversation and didn't taste a drop of the Brown Ale - so this was only an appetizer until I come back next time!

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