29 December 2011

Playing Tourist

"I'm going to England for Christmas." To me that sounds like a statement as normal as "I'm going next door to borrow a cup of sugar." (Actually, truth be told, the former comes more naturally than the latter for me) and yes, I know I am lucky, but this is my third or fourth Christmas in a row in England with my friend Ruth and her friends and family.... My extended British family. Much of the time is spent at home, playing with new toys (this years big hit with 4-year old Oz was the Gruffalo game from Oma), drinking tea, eating delicious foods and enjoying a moment to relax. Inevitably, a big household project begins - this year, Ruth's husband Jamie has chosen to rip apart and redo the kitchen layout. The goal: create a more efficient kitchen with more workspace. But after a few days we find it necessary to get out of the house, and not just to run to Tescos for milk.




This year Ruth and I thought we might go to the Bluebell Railway, a favorite place for Oz. when we suggested it, he said "no Mummy, I'd rather go for a walk on the beach." {who is this 4-year old and what have you done with our Oz?!?!?!??} so we headed off to Brighton to be tourists for a day. Along the way we collected Susan and Karen to join us for the day. Oz was in Auntie heaven!
Like any good tourists the first plan of action was to find affordable parking. We parked at the marina and from there we took our walk along the beach. A romantic stroll it was not, sometimes we raced (somehow Oz usually won - even when we were ahead!) other times we collected rocks and sometimes we just played a bit.
After about forty minutes of walking along the rocky shores of Brighton Beach in the cold, biting wind, we found a snack shack and stopped for a hot cup of tea. It was delightful. Then we continued on until we reached The Brighton Wheel.
The Wheel is a new attraction in Brighton, a bit like the London Eye. It is a large ferris wheel with capsules that allow you to see out into the distance, towards Brighton and out onto the English Channel. Oz was scared of the wheel, Susan and Karen did not wish to go - so Ruth and I went alone. The queue was short, yet we waited a while. During this time, Oz went into the arcade to spend "an extra 2£ that Susan just didn't need" and won a motorcycle - toy of course.


The ride along the wheel was smooth, narrated with information about what one could see. We went around three times. The capsules were designed to hold eight people, but Ruth and I had one to ourselves. We enjoyed the freedom to move about and take photos. We of course tried to take the ubiquitous "photo of ourselves holding out the camera in front of us" first with the pier in the background, and later with the wheel. All I can say is: epic fail! But we had fun doing so.




Afterwards as good tourists do, we went onwards to eat lunch out. Our favorite restaurant in Brighton is Donatellos. Great Italian food at a reasonable price. Wonderful! I had Fusilli Arabiatta, but the most loved meal was Oz and his Spaghetti Bolonaise. He ate every last bit and practically licked his plate clean!
After lunch, we joined other tourists looking around the shops. We first visited the Kath Kidston shop and the much to Oz's delight, the Lego shop. We finished up our day with cookies from Millie's Cookies and then a bus ride (top deck, front seat for Oz) back to the marina.




Being a tourist for a day was great fun, but incredibly exhausting!



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Location:Brighton, England

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